The warm weather is bringing carloads of people to the coast, and for fishermen, several massive waves of menhaden have arrived and once again fired up the flounder fishing downstream of Georgetown’s historic seaport.
Capt. Steve Roff of Barrier Island Guide Service is concentrating on fish that have moved inshore, and his fishermen are carrying home double-digit catches of keeper flatfish.
“The flounder bite is real good right now. We are fishing them with big menhaden,” said Roff (843-446-7337), who is looking to fish with biggest baitfish he can find: 4 to 6 inches, whenever possible.
The first waves of menhaden arrived over the past several weeks, and several big schools of the baitfish have slipped into Winyah Bay.
“From Mud Bay to the shipping channel is where we are finding the menhaden mostly. The birds have been real helpful to locate the bait for us,” said Roff, who is cast-netting his bait not far from where he’s catching flounder – just off the shipping channel on the edge of the shallows around shell islands.
“We are catching them at the shell banks mostly, and we are having the best success in 2 to 5 feet of water right off the edge of the oysters,” he said.
The big flounder are patrolling the edges of oyster ledges during periods of steady currents. Roff is fishing where the sand or mud joins the crusty edge of the oysters, knowing that flounder need a mud or sandy bottom to settle down and ambush passing bait.
Roff has been fishing both the incoming and outgoing tides, but he prefers to fish when the wind and current work together.
“The key is to get the wind and current going the direction. Find the foam line around the structure where the bait is popping around, and you will find plenty of flounder there,” he said.
Targeting big fish, Roff is using a large 5/0 circle hook attached to a 3-way swivel rig and a light, 1-ounce sinker – or just enough weight to keep it on the bottom where the flounder live.
In addition to nice-sized flounder, Roff has caught several large, female speckled trout and even a few stout redfish. When fishing a large menhaden along shells banks, such as these near Georgetown, the outcome can yield a wide array of fishy returns.