Every year, South Carolina’s coastal estuaries fill up with boaters and anglers, but when the parking lot at Murrells Inlet’s public boat ramp is filled with boat trailers in the fall, it’s not a boaters convention. The spots are biting!
A small fishing village on the southern end of the Grand Strand, Murrells Inlet is known for fabulous seafood restaurants on every corner, but in October, its focus shifts to the productive estuaries that are just a short boat ride away from the popular Marshwalk.
Russell Baisch of Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle sees about everything in Murrells Inlet, and the spot season is, hands down, one of the most-popular times for anglers to fish in these waters.
“The spot run begins in mid-September and typically continues to the end of October,” said Baisch (843-651-1915). “The best spot fishing is in October, usually three days after the full moon.”
Spots migrate annually into South Carolina waters during the fall, but some areas offer a better chance of filling a cooler than others. Murrells Inlet is well known for one of those better places.
“Murrells Inlet is a very productive spot fishery because of all the food available in our estuary,” Baisch said. “Brown shrimp spawn here in the summer and will begin to migrate out as it turns cool.That makes it a prime place for black drum, red drum, speckled trout and spot.”
Spots eat a variety of foods, with small crustaceans and worms their preferred forage. Baisch said they will eat cut shrimp, clams and squid, but his best seller is blood worms.
“We sell more blood worms to spot fisherman than anything else, and we keep a massive stock during the spot run to make sure anglers have what they need. We also keep an overstock of our hand-tied spot rigs,” he said.
The typical bottom rig is made of twisted wire and metal crimps. Baisch ties his own rigs out of 20-pound monofilament. He recommends using gold Aberdeen hooks in sizes from Nos. 2 to 1/0 and just enough weight to keep the rig on the bottom: about 3/4-ounce to 11/2 ounces. He recommends using a bag of clam chum to concentrate the fish in one spot.
Spots can be caught all over the estuary, but typically, the best places are in Garden City Creek out from the public boat ramp to the inlet and halfway up Oaks Creek.
“It’s not a question of if the fish will show up, it’s when,” Baisch said.