South Carolina coastal fishing report for early May

South Carolina coastal fishing report
Denise Dunman Thigpen caught this huge amberjack while fishing out of Murrells Inlet.

Anglers catching multiple species

The early May South Carolina coastal fishing report reads like a seafood market shopping list. Offshore, inshore, and nearshore anglers are all catching numbers of fish. And the fishing is expected to get even better as we move deeper into May.

The weather has been a little iffy lately. Even on the warmest of days, most nights have been cool enough to keep the water temperature down. Recent rains also play a factor. And while the fish have not stopped biting, the conditions have the hottest biting species changing from one day to the next. That’s not a bad thing at all though. It’s one of the great things about saltwater fishing in general.

Capt. Keith Logan with North Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters said the flounder bite got started up early this year. His clients have been catching around 20 flounder per trip, while also catching other species. He expects the flounder fishing to remain hot through at least the middle of May. The other usual inshore suspects, redfish and speckled trout are also biting.

South Carolina coastal fishing
Flounder moved in early around the North Myrtle Beach area, but anglers are not complaining.

Grouper season opened May 1

The folks with Little River Fishing Fleet have been out to the Gulf Stream a couple of times since grouper season opened on May 1. They’ve done very well on each trip, and expect the fishing to stay top notch for some time. Bottom fishing with cut bait is the trick here, and it’s working like a champ for their anglers.

South Carolina coastal fishing
Since the season opened on May 1, grouper have been a popular species for offshore anglers.

Down the coast a ways, Capt. Randall, fishing with Murrells Inlet Fishing Charters has been on the grouper, snapper, triggerfish, and other bottom species. One of his clients caught a stud of a gag grouper earlier this week. He’s happy to be fishing offshore, and expects this bite to stay strong for the foreseeable future.

South Carolina coastal fishing
This gag grouper highlighted a recent trip out of Murrells Inlet.

Capt. Jason Burton, also fishing with the MIFC, has been showing his clients what the Inlet is known for — flounder. His anglers have been bringing plenty of flatfish back to the dock, and releasing plenty as well. He’s also put some recent clients on a hot Spanish mackerel bite just off the beaches.

The crew from MIFC has caught big numbers of triggerfish while fishing offshore in recent days.

Murrells Inlet angler catches 71-pound amberjack

Another MIFC charter, Capt. Justin Witten, has gone a little farther out recently, putting his clients on limits of king mackerel. Local angler Denise Dunman Thigpen weighed in a 71.62-pound amberjack at MIFC recently, taking over the top spot for that species on their leaderboard.

Down in Charleston, Capt. Chuck Griffin of Aqua Adventures has been splitting time between the jetties and offshore. Both locales are producing good numbers of fish. At the jetties, his clients have caught plenty of redfish, including some hefty bulls. Offshore, they’ve been catching cobia, king mackerel, and grouper.

Capt. Chuck Griffin has loaded up on grouper offshore, and has been catching plenty of redfish at the Charleston jetties.

Capt. Brian Vaughn of Off the Hook Fishing Charters in Hilton Head is finding good fish too. His anglers are catching good numbers of speckled trout, redfish, and sharks. He’s put several on cobia, and he’s finding some nice tailing redfish for his fly-fishing anglers. And he’s had a blast with topwater bites, catching some early morning redfish on Heddon Spooks.

Capt. Brian Vaughn said it’s tough to beat the topwater redfish bite around Hilton Head, but plenty of other species are giving them a run for the money.

Vaughn said as good as the fishing has been, it’s only going to get better as the weather continues to warm up.

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Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1615 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. He can be reached at

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