Recent rainfall has brought a slight cooling to the waters of Murrells Inlet over the past few days, and that has turned on the flounder bite, mostly in the deeper holes from one end of the inlet to the other. Capt. Paul Pancake of Skinny Girl Fishing Charters is catching them on live bait in these holes.
“Mainly live mullet minnows fished on Carolina rigs or jigheads have been doing the trick,” said Pancake, who said flounder are definitely the most cooperative species right now. “There is a lot of dead water in the inlet, so you really have to find the deep holes. The flounder are stacking up in these holes, and once you find them, they are eager to bite.”
Pancake (843-798-9100) looks for holes that are at least 30- to 40-percent deeper than the surrounding waters, and he prefers a drastic drop-off to a slow, gradual one. “If the water all around is 4 feet deep, I want to find a hole about 6 feet deep. If most of the area is 8 feet deep, I want to put bait in an 11-foot hole,” he said.
These holes don’t have to be especially big, according to Pancake.
“The hole can be as big as an offshore headboat or as small as a trash can. Flounder will congregate around these depth changes, and all they are really after is a break from the current and to watch for bait passing overhead,” he said.
“This inlet is full of holes like this. I have plenty of them marked on my electronics, but I’m constantly finding new ones while idling through areas. When I see a new one, I mark it on my screen and name it ‘potential’ so that I’ll remember to come back and fish it,” Pancake said.
Flounder sizes have been decent, with plenty of keepers and a number of fish longer than 22 inches lately. Pancake stressed that fishing for flounder is an active form of fishing as opposed to making a cast and letting the bait soak. He advises anglers to make a cast, and then slowly work their bait along the bottom.
“I have them hold the rod tip down, then pull to the side very slowly, then reel in the slack and repeat. Ideally, I’d like them to pull their bait a couple of feet at a time, then let it sit still while they reel that slack line in. This keeps them in contact with the bait, keeps the bait on the bottom, and helps them detect a bite,” he said.
With all the likely flounder holes in the area, Pancake said anglers shouldn’t sit too long in one spot.
“I will fish a hole for 20 minutes, and if I don’t put my hands on a fish, I will pull up anchor and move to another spot,” he said.