"We've had a great summer so far," Dickson said. "The fish have been feeding and there have been good numbers of them. Flounder have been a big part of our catch, and there have been lots of redfish, too."
Dickson (843-458-3055) said flounder are gathering in the backwaters and were also being caught through the inlets to the nearshore wrecks and artificial reefs. He said a fat mullet minnow on a Carolina rig is an invitation the flounder rarely refuses. A high percentage of the flounder are keepers, and some are doormats.
"The water temperatures are really high, and that has a tendency to make the fish a little sluggish," Dickson said. "There are also a lot of fishermen chasing them. These two things combine to make the fish a little wary, and having live baits is the easiest way to overcome that wariness. They will hit some lures, especially the scented soft plastics, but a struggling live bait just excites them like nothing else.
"We have good fishing now, but it is going to take off and jump up a few notches in the next week or so," Dickson said. "Every August, we have a run of large red drum that show up at Little River Inlet and stay for a month or so. These are big fish too, most running 35 to 45 inches long and a few being even larger."
When the big drum arrive, fishermen will begin just outside the inlet and slowly drift into and through it with the rising tide. They may be anywhere from the sandbars just beyond the jetties to halfway or more along the jetties. The big drum move though in small groups, and several boats may be hooked up at the same time.
Dickson suggests a heavy duty Carolina rig with a 1- or 2-ounce sinker, heavier mono or fluorocarbon leader and a larger, heavy duty hook.
Fishermen need to handle big reds properly to insure their survival upon release. Whatever you do, Dickson said. do not hold these big fish only by their mouth or gills; this can injure them in several ways. If you remove a fish from the water for a picture, handle it carefully and support its stomach. Leaving it in the landing net is a great way to make sure it will survive when released.