After another hot Carolina summer, the fall fishing season finally arrives this month in all corners. From slab crappie gulping shiners at Lake Moultrie to gator trout crushing Flukes around Little River, cooling conditions ignite a feeding frenzy in freshwater and saltwater environments. 

And outside Murrells Inlet, S.C., the Spanish mackerel fishing reaches its peak, and live bait is the name of the game.

When September rolls around, water temperatures begin to decline a little each week, and that kicks off the mullet run along the beachfront. Toothy predators like mackerel are ready for it and will be waiting in places where baitfish congregate, and .the waters off Murrells Inlet offer endless opportunities for anglers to set up and bust a limit of Spanish in a hurry. 

Jason Burton of Murrells Inlet Fishing Charters said nearshore reefs and bottom structures are prime locales to encounter big schools of Spanish mackerel this month. 

“I like to fish over some kind of structure that will hold bait,” Burton said. “The Spanish are usually abundant at the 3-mile and 10-mile (reefs), but ledges and other rock outcrops are also good. We set up on the Myrtle Beach rocks a lot and get into them real good in the fall.”

The ocean is full of sandy, clean bottom, and when structure is present, it creates an environment full of life — from the sea floor all the way to the surface. Spanish mackerel and other predators gravitates to these oceanic anomalies to feed. Murrells Inlet has dozens of options within 10 miles of the sea buoy.

Traditionally, anglers have cranked their outboards and trolled an array of flashy metal spoons behind their boats, but fall is prime time to take a different approach,