Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow Minded Guide Service said fishermen are catching plenty of redfish and trout, with some near-limits of flounder in the mix, in the waters from Ocean Isle Beach to Little River on the South Carolina state line – despite the darkened color of the water from rainfall runoff.

“There have been a couple of days we really had to work for the fish, but I believe fishing has been slowly improving for the last week or so,” Dickson said. “With the water this dirty, the fish are seeing struggling live baits and smelling cut baits better than they are seeing lures. It has been the way to fish for a while. 

Red drum and flounder are scattered through the marshes and creeks off the Intracoastal Waterway behind Sunset Beach. Reds and flounder are joined by speckled trout around the inlets, especially Little River, where Dickson said a growing number of bull reds are arriving almost daily.

Dickson (843-458-3055) likes to fish Little River beginning a little past the ends of the jetties, letting the incoming tide push him into the inlet. If you fish as vertically as possible, you aren’t subject to hanging up, and it keeps bigger fish from tangling with other lines as they make longer runs in the sometimes crowded inlet.

He said fishing with live mullet minnows or pieces of mullet gives you the opportunity to catch flounder, reds, specks and black drum. Live shrimp are also an excellent bait, but all the bait thieves like them, and they don’t last very long. Mullet minnows are more durable and are much more likely to last until something you actually want to catch decides to bite. 

“Many of the flounder around the inlets, especially Little River Inlet, are just a little short,” Dickson said. “You can pick through them and get a limit most days, but it takes some patience. There aren’t as many flounder out on the artificial reefs, but they are a little larger – most of them are keeper size.” 

Dickson said a spot on the inside that has been surprisingly consistent is the Sunset Beach Bridge. In addition to the flounder, trout and redfish, Dickson has been catching some black drum there.