Since Labor Day, South Carolina anglers have had to deal with roller-coaster weather, but it hasn’t disrupted the king mackerel fishing along the Grand Strand. The bite has been great, with double-, triple- and quadruple-header hookups reported by captains out of Murrells Inlet, including Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing Charters.
“We are absolutely smoking them when the weather is nice enough to get out there,” said Sconyers. (843-997-3270) “(On one trip), we had five reels in the water and five fish on at the same time. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
Traditionally, the nearshore run of king mackerel begins in late August and continues through October and sometimes into the first few weeks of November. And this year is falling right into place. The beaches fill up with menhaden and mullet this time of year during their annual southerly migration and the meat-hungry mackerel just cannot get enough of it.
It is not just the snake-sized kings, either. In the recent Rumble in the Jungle tournament out of North Myrtle Beach, 20 fish were weighed in that broke the 30-pound mark, and it took a fish heavier than 40 pounds to finish in the top three places.
No doubt, there are lots of fish out there right now for anglers to get their feel for catching king mackerel. And Sconyers’ anglers are getting used to hearing the reels scream shortly after dropping the lines in the water.
“Fishing is really good right now. We lost 15 the other day but still brought eight back to the dock,” said Sconyers. “It is happening. We just need good weather to get out there to where the fish are.”
Up until about two weeks ago, fish were in close to the breakers and along the tide lines, but the warmer weather has disrupted the bait flow, forcing fish out to the nearshore spots just a short ride from shore. The bait has also moved offshore, some pulling the king mackerel out into deeper water along ledges.
“The fish are out a little further than they were, at places like the Belky Bear,” he says.
Sconyers is targeting places 10 to 15 miles offshore where there is livebottom and plenty of bait below the surface. However, catching live bait to fish with nearshore is a different story.
“Live bait is tough to find right now, but it is the best thing to use if you can find it,” he said.
Frozen cigar minnows are the best replacement, but Sconyers encourages anglers to get live bait when they can to have those quadruple hookups and a limit of fish to take home.