Even though the sun continues to cook the South Carolina coast, the action below water’s surface is brewing its own raging firestorm. Massive schools of shrimp have invaded Murrells Inlet, firing up a long list of takers, and locals are catching plenty of fish, with black drum making up a solid portion of the haul.

Capt. Jason Burton of Fly Girl Fishing Charters loves the influx of shrimp into his home waters.  

“We have never seen the shrimp so plentiful and big during the middle of July,” says Burton (843-421-2870).  “To make it even better, the black drum apparently moved in with the shrimp.”

Typically, fishing for black drum picks up in the fall when the speckled trout bite kicks off, but this year has been different. With the influx of shrimp in such enormous numbers, Burton is already catching decent numbers of specks and now some feisty black drum.

Burton’s black drum are coming from places where shrimp congregate on lower stages of the tide, close to large grass and mud flats. Shrimp will move into those shallow areas to feed on small worms and chunks of decomposing crab and fish. But on low tide, these expansive feeding grounds become exposed, forcing shrimp to flee to deeper holes, and it didn’t take long for the black drum to figure that out. It didn’t take long for Burton to find these places, either. 

“I am finding these fish in deep holes lined with oysters up in the back of the creeks. I like places where the water is 12- to 15-feet deep on low tide,” Burton said. “Creeks with deep holes on sharp curves up next to the bank are naturally deep and are killer spots for black drum right now.”

Burton prefers to fish the last two hours of the falling tide through the first hour of the rising tide. For bait, he is using live shrimp fished on a Carolina rig on the bottom.

While black drum are the main target in these deep drainage basins, they are not the only species that will slide into these refuges. Expect red drum, speckled trout and flounder to be in these holes.