For most of the spring season, Old Man Winter has kept on showing his ugly face – until now. But with temperatures creeping into the 80s, dolphin are beginning to show up off the South Carolina coast, and they’re biting.
Capt. Shawn Thomas of Underdog Sport Fishing Charters in Murrell’s Inlet is making routine trips offshore and returning to the dock with happy anglers and a boatload of mahimahi.
“We are hammering them out there south of the Georgetown Hole right now,” said Thomas, (843-655-5890), who docks at Crazy Sister Marina. “The Gulf Stream pushes off to the east this time of year, and the dolphin are pushing north strong.”
Typically, dolphin will find the warmest water available during the spring. And since the Gulf Stream shifts to the east in spring, the ideal water temperatures run out deep. Water temperatures nearshore remain just below 70 degrees, and the water temperatures are offshore in deeper regions where the baitfish are holding. Thomas is finding the best successes in 74-degree waters.
“The fish and the water color are much better at 400 feet,” Thomas says. “We are finding the fish from the Georgetown Hole to the 100/400 on a weed line or a (current) rip.”
According to Thomas, dolphin are holding on the dirty side of these breaks under floating debris.
“It makes it tough to pull our 11-line (spread) through these waters, but it’s where the fish are,” Thomas said.
Dolphin are one of the fastest-growing fish in the ocean. Due to their epic metabolisms, they must eat constantly to fuel their growth rates. As long as anglers can find them in these warm weed beds, skirt color will have little to do with getting them in the biting mood.
“Chartreuse/orange, pink/white, blue/white, and just about any color combinations are working for us. These fish are hungry, and they will eat anything,” said Thomas, who expects the dolphin bite to get even better as the Gulf Stream sweeps towards shore and into shallower water. “Between now and the middle of June, the dolphin fishing should be very good.