Murrells Inlet is a flounder hot spot, but in summer, savvy anglers leave its inshore waters for nearshore reefs (2022)

Anchor up around a neashore reef, drop down a live bait and hang on for excellent flounder action

Jeff Burleson

July 01, 2014 at 7:00 am | Mobile Reader | Print


Murrells Inlet is a flounder hot spot, but in summer, savvy anglers leave its inshore waters for nearshore reefs (2)
J Baisch

Murrells Inlet is a flounder hot spot, but in summer, savvy anglers leave its inshore waters for nearshore reefs.

During the summer, Murrells Inlet’s blue waters and spectacular marsh walk draw a lot of people visiting the Grand Strand. From banana boat rides and water skiing to inshore anglers looking to score enough scaly fare for dinner, the beautiful estuary becomes a little congested, to say the least. Nevertheless, just a few miles from the jetties that line the entrance to the inlet lies some great flounder fishing, with doormat-sized fish comprising a lot of the take.

Nearshore reefs just off the pearly white beaches literally stack up with flounder, yet anglers will have plenty of elbow room to crank in a limit during the heat of the summer.

Yes, it’s the segment of the Atlantic population of flatfish known as the gulf flounder. Anglers can expect to catch them exclusively around nearshore and offshore reefs during the summer, leaving the hustle and bustle to the watersports companies inshore.

Gulf flounder require cooler water than their cousins, southern and summer flounder, which live at the jetties and inside Murrells Inlet estuary. The three species refer different salinities. Anglers fishing in the marsh and up tidal creeks will catch primarily southern flounder, since they prefer waters with lower salinity. Summer flounder prefer waters with slightly more salinity and will be caught both inshore and along the beachfront. Additionally, gulf flounder will run larger than to the inshore fluke population.

“The fish are so much bigger out there,” said Capt. Englis Glover of Tee to See Guide Service, who chooses ocean flounder fishing over the inshore version whenever conditions will allow it. “Last year, on one trip, I had 11 keepers over 19 inches, with the biggest fish weighing just over 5 pounds.”

Don’t head to the ocean expecting the typical soft and subtle bites of the inshore flounder. Gulf flounder are much more aggressive.

“In the ocean, they are more committed and much more aggressive,” Glover said. “As soon as you feel the take, or if it stops, you should set the hook immediately.”

Capt. J Baisch of Fishfull Thinking Guide Service is another fan of the summer gulf flounder bite and knows right when and where to find them.

“We start fishing for them in May and will catch them through November most years,” said Baisch. “You will catch one every now and then at the jetties, but they really like the wrecks in the ocean in deeper water.”

Gulf flounder require cool, high-salinity waters typical of the ocean. They are structure-oriented fish, and the underwater architecture displayed at these reefs comprises a perfect place to concentrate schools of doormat flukes.

Baisch chooses reefs that are well established.

“I like the reefs with good old growth and a wide debris field created from past storms,” he said.

These more-established reefs with scattered structure have more places for bait to hide, hence more ambush opportunities or flounder. Baisch will fish any reef structure from the nearshore 3-Mile reef to reefs in 80 to 100 feet of water.

Glover limits his flounder fishing to reefs closer to shore to avoid encounters with non-targeted species.

“I try to stay around the shallower reefs nearshore like the 3-Mile, Myrtle Beach Rocks, and the Pawleys Reef,” said Glover. “When the water warms up in summer, the black sea bass move off to the 10-Mile Reef and to deeper reefs, so your competition with black sea bass becomes less on the inshore realm in the 35-foot water versus the 50-foot water.”

Glover also targets places with natural structure and live bottom.

“Don’t overlook secret ledges from 50 feet and in; they will hold plenty of gulf flounder this time of year,” he said. “Any contour changes will usually hold bait, and the flounder will be there.”

Both Glover and Baisch will locate structure and fish areas immediately adjacent, as well as the sand within casting distance. Baisch positions his boat right top of the structure, casting away and fishing the sand around it.

“Bump the bottom and work the edges of the structure,” he said.

Baitfish will try to stay close to the structure for protection, and the flounder know this. But the current will affect the way fish position around the structure. Glover has better success when the current is moving.

“They like to have a current, and the bite is much better when the tide is moving strong. However, they will hold tighter to structure when current is running strong,” he said.

Strong currents prevent small baitfish from swimming freely, and any submerged structure that deflects current will give them places to hide. Flounder will hang out in those areas, waiting for their next meals to appear in plain sight, six inches away.

While flounder eat a wide variety of forage species, small fish make up their primary diet at the reefs. A live mullet minnow or mud minnow rigged on a Carolina rig or a jighead is still the best way to catch flounder. However, the lightest amount of weight is still preferred to allow live offerings to swim as freely along the bottom as possible, while staying close to the bottom.

In the ocean, Baisch and Glover prefer to use jigheads, because they allow anglers to pick up on every movement the baitfish or flounder makes. Both prefer a specialized jighead made by Fishizzle Lures that’s designed to stand straight up on the bottom and allow the minnow to swim in a more natural position.

“I use a 1/2-ounce Fishizzle Meal Ticket jighead because it stands up on its own,” Baisch said. “There are few jigheads that are able to stand up on their own, and this is very important to keep the minnow vertical and in a natural presentation.”

A standard Carolina rig will also suffice if the current is not too strong. Baisch suggests a 12- to 16-inch monofilament or flulorocarbon leader, a 1/2- to ¾-ounce egg sinker on heavier tides with an offset flounder hook or Owner Octopus circle hook.


DESTINATION INFORMATION

HOW TO GET THERE/WHEN TO GO — Murrells Inlet is at the southern tip of the Grand Strand. Its waters are easily accessible from a public boat ramp on US 17 Business just south of the heart of Murrells Inlet’s restaurant district and Crazy Sister Marina. Artificial reefs and wrecks out to 60 feet will hold gulf flounder all summer and well into the fall. Pawleys Reef, 3-Mile Reef, North Inlet Reef and Myrtle Beach Rocks are great spots to catch flounder in the hot months. Fewer black sea bass will be on the shallower reefs to steal baits intended for flounder. Good reefs in deeper water are the 10-Mile and 11-Mile reefs, Belky Bear and the Georgetown Reef.

TACKLE/TECHNIQUES — Anchor directly over reef structure and work baits slowly. Braided line in the 20-pound class is preferred because it provides greater sensitivity and lower stretch for hooksets. Live mud minnows or smaller mullet minnows are prime live bait, fished either on a half-ounce jighead or on a Carolina rig with a 1/2- to 3/4-ounce egg sinker and 12 to 16 inches of a 20- to 30-pound monofilament leader.

FISHING INFO/GUIDES — Capt. Englis Glover, Tee to Sea Guide Serivce, 843-655-5459, www.teetoseafishing.com; Capt. J Baisch, Fishfull Thinking Guide Service, 843-902-0356, www.fishthinkguidesc.com; Pawley’s Island Outdoors, 843-979-4666; Perry’s Bait & Tackle, 843-651-2895. See also Guides and Charters in Classifieds.

ACCOMMODATIONS — Murrells Inlet Hampton Inn, 843-651-6687; Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.visitmyrtlebeach.com; South Carolina Association of Visitors Bureaus, www.discoversouthcarolina.com.

FAQs

Murrells Inlet is a flounder hot spot, but in summer, savvy anglers leave its inshore waters for nearshore reefs? ›

Murrells Inlet is a flounder hot spot, but in summer, savvy anglers leave its inshore waters for nearshore reefs. For best results during the summer, stick to reefs closer to the beach, where flounder will have less competition from black sea bass that control the deeper wrecks and reefs.

Is Murrells Inlet good for fishing? ›

With a vibrant inshore fishery and access to some amazing deep sea fishing, Murrells Inlet pretty much has it all. Although the species change depending on the season, fishing is good year-round. Have a look at just some of the popular fish you can catch in this area.

What fish are caught in Murrells Inlet? ›

Murrells Inlet is known around South Carolina for its flounder fishing. There are four species of flounder that can be found here, summer flounder, southern flounder, winter flounder and gulf flounder. When inshore fishing in the warmer months, all but winter flounder can be found.

How do you catch flounder in Murrells Inlet? ›

Murrells Inlet Jetty Flounder Fishing - Sick to My Stomach from Losing PB

Where can I find flounder in Myrtle Beach? ›

Popular areas to target flounder are Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Creek, and Winyah Bay.

Are there sharks in Murrells Inlet? ›

As two kayakers were fishing in Murrells Inlet Friday morning, one happened to get pulled around by a shark that was caught on the end of his line. One of those kayakers, Mike Kachman, managed to capture on video the moment his friend Rob Birchmier caught the shark.

Is Murrells Inlet fresh or saltwater? ›

Located in the heart of the historic fishing village of Murrells Inlet, the MarshWalk is a half-mile, wooden boardwalk along a natural saltwater estuary.

What is biting at Murrells Inlet? ›

There's always something biting in Murrells Inlet. In the winter, you can find redfish and trout in the shallows. As the weather warms up, you'll start to see more flounder, tarpon, and cobia. And in the summer, the inlet is full of baitfish, making it a great spot for trolling or live-baiting.

Where can I fish in Murrells Inlet? ›

Fishing Spots Near Murrells Inlet SC
  • Huntington Beach State Park. Murrells Inlet, SC.
  • Myrtle Beach State Park. Myrtle Beach, SC.
  • Hampton Plantation State Historic Site. McClellanville, SC.
  • Little Pee Dee State Park. ...
  • Lumber River State Park. ...
  • Francis Marion And Sumter National Forests. ...
  • Lake Waccamaw State Park. ...
  • Woods Bay State Park.

What saltwater fish are biting in South Carolina? ›

Multiple species are biting inshore, offshore, from the beaches, and from the piers. Anglers at Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach have caught numerous Spanish mackerel in the past week. The black drum bite has also been strong. Blues, sheepshead, and spadefish have also been biting.

Where is the best flounder fishing? ›

Montauk, New York. As the location of the current world-record catch, perhaps Montauk is the granddaddy of all fluke spots. The waters off the eastern tip of Long Island have structure and baitfish populations that attract huge numbers of 3- to 10-pound fluke, with occasional fish weighing in the teens.

Is there a flounder season in SC? ›

NEW FLOUNDER REGULATIONS: Beginning July 1, anglers in SC may harvest five southern flounder per person per day (10 per boat per day) with a minimum size limit of 16 inches.

What tide is best for flounder fishing? ›

The outgoing high tide is the best tide to catch flounder. Flounder rely upon the outgoing tide to bring them shrimp, crabs and fish to their hidden ambush points. They like to hide in strategically located spots that will make it easy for them to catch their prey as the tide brings the food right to them.

How do you catch flounder from shore? ›

How to Catch Flounder from the Beach - 7.8-Pound Surf Fluke!

What fish are in season in Myrtle Beach? ›

Call Captain “Bone” for a Live Local Myrtle Beach Fishing Report (843) 249-2600
AmberjackMay-October
King MackerelMay-November
Red DrumMay-November
Red FishJuly -November
Sea BassJanuary – December
12 more rows

How do I catch flounder? ›

For this reason, Mark prefers to catch his own baitfish at low tide from salt creeks and marshes. He'll use a wide variety of baitfish, but the best bait for flounder include mullet, menhaden, croakers, spot and mud minnows (killifish). Shrimp work for flounder, too, according to Mark, but take a back seat to minnows.

Is Murrells Inlet freshwater? ›

It's an enclosed system, one of very few inlets on the east coast free from the influence of the Intracoastal Waterway or coastal rivers. There's no dirty water flowing in from upstream, and this system of marshes and backwaters is a completely saltwater environment, with no freshwater pumping in to reduce salinity.

How do you fish on the beach? ›

Top 5 BEACH FISHING TIPS and Mistakes - HOW TO ... - YouTube

During the summer, Murrells Inlet’s blue waters and spectacular marsh walk draw a lot of people visiting the Grand Strand.

Murrells Inlet is a flounder hot spot, but in summer, savvy anglers leave its inshore waters for nearshore reefs.. Murrells Inlet is a flounder hot spot, but in summer, savvy anglers leave its inshore waters for nearshore reefs.. For best results during the summer, stick to reefs closer to the beach, where flounder will have less competition from black sea bass that control the deeper wrecks and reefs.. Gulf flounder require cooler water than their cousins, southern and summer flounder, which live at the jetties and inside Murrells Inlet estuary.. Anglers fishing in the marsh and up tidal creeks will catch primarily southern flounder, since they prefer waters with lower salinity.. Englis Glover of Tee to See Guide Service, who chooses ocean flounder fishing over the inshore version whenever conditions will allow it.. These more-established reefs with scattered structure have more places for bait to hide, hence more ambush opportunities or flounder.. Baisch will fish any reef structure from the nearshore 3-Mile reef to reefs in 80 to 100 feet of water.. Glover limits his flounder fishing to reefs closer to shore to avoid encounters with non-targeted species.. “When the water warms up in summer, the black sea bass move off to the 10-Mile Reef and to deeper reefs, so your competition with black sea bass becomes less on the inshore realm in the 35-foot water versus the 50-foot water.”. While flounder eat a wide variety of forage species, small fish make up their primary diet at the reefs.. In the ocean, Baisch and Glover prefer to use jigheads, because they allow anglers to pick up on every movement the baitfish or flounder makes.. Artificial reefs and wrecks out to 60 feet will hold gulf flounder all summer and well into the fall.. Pawleys Reef, 3-Mile Reef, North Inlet Reef and Myrtle Beach Rocks are great spots to catch flounder in the hot months.. Good reefs in deeper water are the 10-Mile and 11-Mile reefs, Belky Bear and the Georgetown Reef.

Anchor up around a neashore reef, drop down a live bait and hang on for excellent flounder action Jeff Burleson July 01, 2014 at 7:00 am | Mobile Reader | Print J Baisch Murrells Inlet is a flounder hot spot, but in summer, savvy anglers leave its inshore waters for nearshore reefs....

J Baisch Murrells Inlet is a flounder hot spot, but in summer, savvy anglers leave its inshore waters for nearshore reefs.. Gulf flounder require cooler water than their cousins, southern and summer flounder, which live at the jetties and inside Murrells Inlet estuary.. Anglers fishing in the marsh and up tidal creeks will catch primarily southern flounder, since they prefer waters with lower salinity.. Englis Glover of Tee to See Guide Service, who chooses ocean flounder fishing over the inshore version whenever conditions will allow it.. Gulf flounder are much more aggressive.. Baisch will fish any reef structure from the nearshore 3-Mile reef to reefs in 80 to 100 feet of water.. Glover also targets places with natural structure and live bottom.. However, they will hold tighter to structure when current is running strong,” he said.. Strong currents prevent small baitfish from swimming freely, and any submerged structure that deflects current will give them places to hide.. In the ocean, Baisch and Glover prefer to use jigheads, because they allow anglers to pick up on every movement the baitfish or flounder makes.. Both prefer a specialized jighead made by Fishizzle Lures that’s designed to stand straight up on the bottom and allow the minnow to swim in a more natural position.. Good reefs in deeper water are the 10-Mile and 11-Mile reefs, Belky Bear and the Georgetown Reef.. Englis Glover, Tee to Sea Guide Serivce, 843-655-5459, www.teetoseafishing.com ; Capt.

North and South Carolina Fishing, North and South Carolina Hunting, Carolina Sportsman Magazine, for over 23 years the leading authority on Carolina Fishing & Hunting, Daily Carolina Fishing & Hunting Reports, Fishing & Hunting News, Your most complete North and South Carolina Fishing & Hunting site.

Jeff Burleson. July 01, 2014 at 7:00 am. | Mobile Reader | Print J Baisch Murrells Inlet is a flounder hot spot, but in summer, savvy anglers leave its inshore waters for nearshore reefs.. Gulf flounder require cooler water than their cousins, southern and summer flounder, which live at the jetties and inside Murrells Inlet estuary.. Anglers fishing in the marsh and up tidal creeks will catch primarily southern flounder, since they prefer waters with lower salinity.. Englis Glover of Tee to See Guide Service, who chooses ocean flounder fishing over the inshore version whenever conditions will allow it.. Gulf flounder are much more aggressive.. “You will catch one every now and then at the jetties, but they really like the wrecks in the ocean in deeper water.”. Baisch will fish any reef structure from the nearshore 3-Mile reef to reefs in 80 to 100 feet of water.. Glover also targets places with natural structure and live bottom.. However, they will hold tighter to structure when current is running strong,” he said.. Strong currents prevent small baitfish from swimming freely, and any submerged structure that deflects current will give them places to hide.. Both prefer a specialized jighead made by Fishizzle Lures that’s designed to stand straight up on the bottom and allow the minnow to swim in a more natural position.. Good reefs in deeper water are the 10-Mile and 11-Mile reefs, Belky Bear and the Georgetown Reef.. FISHING INFO/GUIDES — Capt.. Englis Glover, Tee to Sea Guide Serivce, 843-655-5459, www.teetoseafishing.com ; Capt.

Before you set out to boat the Murrells Inlet waters, take a look at these tips that may make your experience much better!

Besides the trouble with shallow water at low tide, oyster beds are everywhere in Murrells Inlet.. Knowing how to navigate the creek takes experience, so that you know which sections of the water are impassable at any time and others that are navigable only at particular tide levels.. A pretty good rule of thumb is that if you see yourself getting in trouble with the tide, move closer to the docks, where the water is typically deeper, and the bottom is sandier.. Be aware that walking on oyster shells is tricky, and you could fall, putting your hands and body in jeopardy for oyster cuts.. Your main concern with a cut or scrape from an oyster is infection from bacteria that lurk in ocean waters.. Sometimes, if they are lucky, we can direct them to deeper water, but often they are out of reach, and they make an unfortunate decision and head toward even shallower water.

North and South Carolina Fishing, North and South Carolina Hunting, Carolina Sportsman Magazine, for over 23 years the leading authority on Carolina Fishing & Hunting, Daily Carolina Fishing & Hunting Reports, Fishing & Hunting News, Your most complete North and South Carolina Fishing & Hunting site.

Phillip Gentry. October 01, 2015 at 7:00 am. | Mobile Reader | Print Phillip Gentry Guide Justin Carter said flounder prefer hard bottoms like rocks and sand over pluff mud.. “The big female flounder — the big ones, I’m talking 5 pounds, doormat females — they follow the spots,” said Baisch.. Trolling is still widely recognized for producing big numbers of flounder in the inshore waters of Murrells Inlet, which are like none other along the coast.. The currents and sands may explain why flounder are more prone to school up around ambush points: docks, oyster beds, creek drainages or anything that provides a fish a place to lay up and wait for passing prey.. “Flounder are no different than anything else that you hunt or fish for on land or in water — 90 percent of the game hit 10 percent of the area,” he said.. Baisch prefers to cast to these 10-percent areas where he feels he can get on the fish more quickly and stay on them longer than a fisherman trolling who may or may not be able to haul the whole train around to get back to a spot that’s holding fish.. With the Carolina rig, Baisch said it’s better to wait once you feel the bite and let the fish scale the bait, turning it in its mouth, which better positions the hook to get into position.. Justin Carter of Mount Pleasant, who recently made the switch from guiding fishermen in kayaks to chartering inshore in traditional vessels, said fishing patterns in the waters around Charleston can be great, even though they’re different from what Baisch sees in Murrells Inlet.. We have larger amounts of flounder in the north, but that also helps narrow down the most-likely places to find flounder, namely sandy points and rocky areas.”. Areas that have riprapped walls, jetties or rock groins to prevent sand erosion are tops on Carter’s list of flounder spots.. WHEN TO GO — The run of big, female flounder starts shortly after the fall spot run up and down South Carolina’s coastline, typically the last half of October and into early November before waters cool enough to send flounder out of inlets into the warmer ocean waters.. Casting live or artificial baits into ambush spots such as creek and gutter drainages, sandbar rips and scour holes accounts for good numbers of fish.. Second is fishing a live mullet minnow or a scented soft-plastic such as a Gulp Shrimp or a Z-Man on a stand-up jighead tied to a 24-inch section of heavy monofilament leader.. Flounder can also be caught from an anchored boat by casting a Carolina-rigged live bait around oyster mounds or jetty rocks.

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