The SC Department of Natural Resources uses angles and fishing guides to provide updated information on fishing trends in fresh and salt waters in South Carolina. Below are updated fishing trends for bodies of water near our Colleton County community.
Bass: Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that all three stages of the spawn should be found shallow on Lake Murray and will eat soft plastics, but when water temperatures hit the mid-60s many fishermen will be thinking about spawning blueback herring more than spawning bass. Flukes and topwater lures fished around points will be deadly, and while the conventional wisdom used to be that the herring spawn started in the creeks many anglers now observe that it can begin at random places, which are different each year in the creeks and the main lake.
Striped bass: Captain Brad Taylor reports that fish had really moved into the creeks, and this month he expects to continue catching them very shallow casting lures and on free-lines and planer boards. There should also be a cut bait bite. Later in the month some of the fish should return to the main lake following the herring spawn.
Crappie: Captain Brad Taylor reports that some fish spawned on Lake Murray. Until it gets very warm anglers should be able to catch them with a jig or minnow under a cork around the banks, and there will also be pre-spawn and then mostly post-spawn fish that can be caught trolling in the creek channels. Later in the month fish will also pull back out to deeper docks.
Catfish: Captain William Attaway reports that fish will get into full-blown pre-spawn feeding mode, and some early channel catfish will even spawn this month. Cut bait fished in relatively shallow water should work all month.
Bass: Captain Brett Mitchell reports that, while the spawn certainly got underway in March, he expects the majority of fish to spawn in April. Going into May, look for fish very shallow, although by the end of the spawn some fish will bed deeper. Soft plastics and then topwater lures are the best bets.
Crappie: Captain Steve English reports that most of the black crappie on Santee will have spawned around shallow cover and after that they will set up on shallow to mid-depth brush. Minnows and jigs will work throughout. White crappie live in deeper water in the upper lake and they will spawn later in the season.
Catfish: Captain Stevie English reports that he expects the biggest fish to be caught anchoring in shallow water, although there are always some fish out deep that can be caught drifting. Herring and shad will both work.
SALTWATER FISHING TRENDS
Inshore: Redfin Charters (843-277-5255) and Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) report that warmer temperatures should fully move the redfish off of their winter flats pattern as this was already starting by the end of March. With rising temperatures and fiddler crabs coming out of hibernation tailing activity should accelerate at high tide, and fish will also start to set up around docks. Some of the best sheepshead action of the year will also take place around deeper docks if you dangle fiddler crabs, and bigger trout should continue to arrive inshore in preparation for the spawn. They will eat shrimp but also take artificials.
Nearshore: Captain Rob Bennett reports that when water temperatures hit the low 60s action at the reefs usually takes off, and by the end of March weakfish and early blues were already arriving. They should stay through April and more bluefish, Spanish mackerel and false albacore should arrive.
Offshore: Captain Rob Bennett reports that April usually marks the start of the best offshore season, and very soon the wahoo action should really pick up. Late in the month dolphin should arrive, and if we get the right currents tuna and even marlin should show up.
Inshore: Captain Ron Davis Jr. reports that in April and early May, it will probably be the worst time of the year to catch redfish on the flats, in part because they will be feeding on a very small bait. The creek reds will be more reliable, and trout should also continue to be caught in the creeks even as they begin to transition out. When water temperatures hit about 65 degrees then trout will start to set up for their spawn in the main rivers. This is among the best months of the year for catching big sheepshead inshore around docks, while mainly smaller black drum will be around. This month flounder will continue to trickle back inshore.
Nearshore/ offshore: Captain Ron Davis Jr. Reports that at the nearshore reefs a variety of species including sheepshead, black drum, weakfish, blues and Spanish mackerel will be caught this month, while far offshore the bottom fishing will be very strong. In the first part of April wahoo will make up the main part of the offshore catch but the last few years the best dolphin bite has coincided with late April.
Inshore: Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters reports that in April redfish will break more and more out of their tight winter schools. Cut mullet will be a good bait for redfish at most times. Tailing activity should get better and better and on high tides redfish will be looking for fiddler crabs. Trout fishing will also improve in April in moving water, with small live shrimp, mud minnows and grubs all working. Topwater activity for both species should also pick up this month. By the latter part of the month some cobia should be around.
Inshore: Captain Kai Williams reports that April and May can be a funny time for inshore fishing around Hilton Head, and typically the trout bite will improve this month while at least the shallow flats redfish that are breaking up out of the bigger winter schools will get more finicky. The creek redfish can be more cooperative. At times both trout and reds will be mixed together, but generally look for redfish to be relating to structure while trout will be along grass lines, current rips, or near undercut banks. Mud minnows and shrimp will work for both species.
Nearshore: Captain Kai Williams reports that at the nearshore reefs and hard bottom areas the sheepshead and black drum fishing should stay good well into April and May, while migratory species like bluefish, Spanish mackerel and cobia should also arrive. Weakfish should also be around throughout the month.