For the past few weeks, the inshore bite around Georgetown has taken a turn into the right direction, with double-digit catches of big flounder and redfish as estuaries are chock full of every king of forage imaginable.
“I am on a really good redfish bite right now,” said Capt. Jordan Pate of Carolina Guide Service (843-814-7900). “Just a few days ago, we caught 26 on a half-day trip, but the flounder bite has been strong for several weeks for big numbers and big fish.”
While some flounder will leave the estuaries and shift out to the nearshore reefs in the summer, many will hunker down in the creeks and muddy bays where baitfish and shrimp are so abundant. According to Pate, this is one of the better flounder years that he can recall.
“There are a lot of flounder around, and the ones we are catching are good, quality fish. Typically, the summertime flounder in the bay are on the small side, but this year we are having some really good catches,” says Pate.
Pate is catching flounder and redfish from the Winyah Bay jetties to the shallow estuaries around oyster-lined creeks.
“(We’re) catching them everywhere, really,” he said. “I typically drop the trolling motor and work the edges of creeks on the low, falling tide and then will pick up a few on the first half of the rise.”
Since bait is so abundant, Pate will use finger mullet, menhaden and live shrimp either under a popping cork or on a Carolina rig, but a wide assortment of artificial lures will catch a limit of fish. Pate prefers to use white or electric chicken curly-tail grubs on ¼- or 1/8-ounce jigheads. Also, smaller versions of artificial shrimp are also producing.
“Everything is working for these fish right now,” says Pate, “and the fishing should get better after (Hurricane Arthur).”
The lack of rain in South Carolina over the past three weeks has allowed the saltwater wedge to drift further inland, allowing gamefish to slide inland.
“If we get enough rain, the storm and the freshwater will push the shrimp and fish back towards the coast, congregating everything; that should make the fishing even better,” Pate said.