Prime fishing time in Myrtle Beach is May through November for Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters, but just about any time of the year anglers can find some action. Typically Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters pull out bluefish, cobia, amberjack, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel by trolling their lures over the reef structures. They drop their lines to the bottom to bring in black sea bass, sheepshead, porgy, red drum and black drum. Bottom fish are best taken with cut bait, squid or live bait.
Dozens of fishing boats venture forth daily into inshore, offshore and Gulf Stream waters. Inshore, you can hook crevalle jack, pompano, barracuda, spadefish and shark in late spring and early summer. Offshore it will be dolphin, tuna, mackerel and sailfish in and around the reef structures.
The hot summer months bring in black sea bass, snapper, grouper, porgy, and flounder. In cooler weather, cobia, king mackerel, red drum, black sea bass, grouper, sheepshead and spotted sea trout in and around the artificial reefs.
Fishing excursion boats can be either charter or party boats and do either trolling or bottom fishing. A charter boat is licensed by the US Coast Guard to carry up to six passengers. A party boat takes on many more than that and usually costs significantly less. Also, a party boat will not require advance deposits or reservations. In some cases, you might just buy a ticket at a ticket office and walk in like it was an amusement park ride.
So many fishermen in the sea
With so many fishing charters and party boats in Myrtle Beach, there has to be a way to vet the list just a bit. The following companies and fishing guides come highly recommended in Liz and Charlie Mitchell’s “Myrtle Beach: A Guide to South Carolina’s Grand Strand,” published by Channel Lake in 2010. Of course, you could run a Google search and come up with dozens more.
Calabash Fishing Fleet specializes in party boats, and Captain Robert offers two half-day options, mornings or afternoons, and a full-day option that leaves at 7 a.m. and gets back at 6 p.m. He supplies the bait, tackle and ice for your catch. Find him at 9945 Nance Street in Calabash NC, (910) 575-0017.
Captain Dick’s has both party boats and charters, and stocks all boats with rods, manual reels, bait and tackle. The charters offer a four-hour near-shore tour and an eight-hour offshore trolling trip, for a maximum of four very serious anglers. Prices drop dramatically for party boats, and excursions start at four and a half hours near shore and move up to eight hours 30 miles offshore. Then there’s an all-day 12-hour Gulf Stream trip and, from time to time, an overnight marathon that leaves Saturday afternoon and returns Sunday afternoon. Go to 4123 US Business 17, Murrells Inlet or call (843) 651-3676.
Captain Smiley has half-day and full-day charter excursions, for a maximum of three passengers. Also known as Captain Patrick Kelly, he brings the bait and tackle and launches from the waterfront at Little River, phone (843) 361-7445.
Catch-1 Charters offer family-friendly local tours through the estuaries and inlet creeks of Murrells Inlet. The time is shorter and the waves are calmer. Call (843) 450-1330.
Extreme Fisherman Charters is not nearly the epic ocean voyage that the name implies. Captain Pete Mercuro and his son Jeff take very small groups on inshore and nearshore trips, in search of spot, flounder, and trout. Phone (843) 344-0974.
Fisher of Men Charters runs strictly charter boats but has the ability to take on more than six passengers. Captain Randy Elliott offers half-day charter, six-hour and eight-hour trips in search of king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, sea bass, and shark. A 12-hour Gulf Stream excursion brings in dolphin, bass, barracuda, and grouper. Go to 3370 Highway 50 in Little River, phone (843) 249-8662.
Go Fish is a game of chance played by – get ready for this name — Captain Chris Gill, who has abandoned the high seas in favor of inshore fishing, in rivers and estuaries, on half-day and full-day excursions to pull in reds, flounder, mackerel, and blues. Get your Gill going on in North Myrtle Beach at 2201 Little River Neck Road, phone (843) 333-3920.
Hurricane Fleet consists of four boats, one of them 90 feet long, that troll and bottom fish all day long. The ultimate excursions are the 12- and 16-hour Gulf Stream tours fishing for tuna, wahoo, maybe even marlin. One interesting possibility is an overnight Gulf Stream trip. Go to 9975 Nance Street in Calabash, NC, phone (910) 579-3660.
Little River Fishing Fleet has half-day, three-quarter-day and Gulf Stream/shark fishing that launches from BW’s Marina in Little River, phone (843) 361-3323.
Marlin Quay Marina runs charter boats close to shore – creeks, and inlets around Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island – as well as Gulf Stream excursions. Boats are docked at 1508 Waccamaw Drive in Murrells Inlet, phone (843) 651-4444.
The New Double R Fishing Charter Service is run by Captain Ricky Long, featuring two half-day charters, morning and afternoon, a three-quarter-day charter, and a 12-hour charter for up to six fishermen. He also charters night cruises with a three-hour minimum, from Little River, (843) 249-1889.
Southern Exposure Charters takes only four fishermen at a time on charter boats. Captain Tom Beckham offers a half-day novice charter as well as a 12-hour trolling and a drifting Gulf Stream trip, launching from 4031 US 17 Business in Murrells Inlet, phone (843) 241-2376.
Voyager Fishing Fleet specializes in blue-water trolling and Gulf Stream bottom fishing. Visit 9931 Nance Street in Calabash, NC or call (843) 626-9500.