Experience the Spring and Summer Runs at Murrells Inlet

Photos courtesy of Captain Tim Cutting

To many inshore anglers, springtime means flatfish, and there’s no destination fishery more closely associated with giant doormat flounder than Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

When waters begin to warm into the mid 70s, the inlet fills up with glass minnows, pogies and mullet. Flounder follow the bait, and they’ll set up in ambush points waiting for an easy meal. Murrells Inlet becomes the epicenter on the Atlantic coast for anglers seeking tasty flatfish. Most years, the flounder bite begins as early as April and will reach its peak in June.

But flounder aren’t the only game in town. The same influx of bait draws all sorts of gamefish into this closed system of marshes and backwater creeks. Speckled trout fishing heats up, and as the crabs get more active on the flats, large schools of tailing redfish provide excellent sight fishing opportunities on light tackle as well as on the fly. With lures, flies or live bait, the grass edges, creeks and oyster bars offer an almost surefire shot at an inshore slam of flounder trout and reds, and hard-pulling black drum will likely be in the mix as well.

In the sound, there is even more sight fishing to be done. Triple tail and some big sharks will be taking advantage of all that bait. There’s good news from the federal fisheries managers, too. After almost a year of no harvest, cobia are again fair game. There is not much in fishing as exciting as spotting and casting to cruising cobia, but big bull reds definitely give them a run for their money in terms of pure strength. Along with the famous fall run, bull reds show up at Murrells Inlet in spring. Fish in the 20- to 40-pound range are a common occurrence.

Outside the inlet, with a run of just a few miles, the nearshore reefs can be easily accessed, even on a half-day trip. Mackerel, sharks, black sea bass, reds, flounder, bluefish, spadefish and more make for an exciting cooler-filling outing.

A little farther out, there is excellent trolling for king and Spanish mackerel, cobia and amberjack, as well as bottom fishing for snappers, groupers and sea bass. And serious anglers should look into a full-day or overnight trip to the Gulf Stream. From 55 to 70 miles offshore, opportunities for tuna, dolphin, wahoo, marlin and sailfish abound. Trolling the Gulf Stream for big-game species off the lower end of the Grand Strand is tough to beat anywhere.

If all that fishing isn’t enough to pique your interest, the area is also world famous for its golf courses, and there’s a vacation destination on the inlet that caters specifically to the needs of anglers and golfers. Located at the heart of Murrells Inlet, the Inlet Sports Lodge is a comfortable and classy boutique hotel with the finest amenities in the area. It’s minutes away from three marinas, works closely with the area’s best charter captains and can accommodate boats up to 25 feet. There’s a fish cleaning room for prep, as well as gas and charcoal grills available in the courtyard to cook your catch.

Or, for those who’d rather let someone else do the cooking, the COSTA Coastal Kitchen and Bar on-site offers up fine, fresh Italian and seafood fare. There are also several other restaurants nearby that prepare the kind of delicious right-out-of-the-water dishes that have made Murrells Inlet the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina.”

If days on the water paired with a days on the links sounds like the perfect way to relax, the Inlet Sports Lodge has you covered. With golf packages booking a wide variety of the Grand Strand’s famous courses, there’s more golf than you can swing a stick at, including two award-winning courses with the same ownership as the Inlet Sports Lodge. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Plantation are two of the finest courses in the area as well as the nation.

For more information of fishing, golfing and the Inlet Sports Lodge at Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, go to www.inletsportslodge.com or call 877-585-9360.

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