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South Carolina Sportsman

Murrells Inlet beachfront alive with action as big Spanish and other predators arrrive

Huge baitfish schools trigger reaction from a variety of predators

Jeff Burleson
May 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Big Spanish mackerel are leaders of the pack of predator fish feeding on huge schools of menhaden just off Murrells Inlet's beachfront.
Capt. Jason Burton
Big Spanish mackerel are leaders of the pack of predator fish feeding on huge schools of menhaden just off Murrells Inlet's beachfront.
Over the past week, a storm has been brewing along Murrells Inlet’s beachfront. Huge schools of menhaden have arrived just outside the surf zone, dragging in a lunchroom-full of blood-thirsty predators from afar. From cobia and Spanish mackerel to bluefish, sharks, and even a few king mackerel, the nearshore action has been nothing less than explosive.

Capt. Jason Burton of Fly Girl Fishing Charters has been busy with the feeding frenzies, and the Spanish mackerel bite alone justifies the trip for any angler coming to the Grand Strand for a piece of the action. 


“The Spanish showed up in good numbers last week, but this past Wednesday was one of the best days I have ever had, with seven huge Spanish over five pounds,” says Burton (843-798-9100). “They are crushing the baitfish congregated along the beach.”


According to Burton, the menhaden are thick from Litchfield Beach north to Little River Inlet, and he expects the bait to stay around for quite a while, fueling the incredible bite just beyond the breakers. The Spanish, cobia and the other toothy critters have followed these massive schools into the area and are cornering them up against the shallow fringe along the beachfront.


“Find a school of bait balled up super-tight, and the cobia and Spanish mackerel will be there ready to crush anything separate from the schools,” Burton said.


Live menhaden, either slow-trolled or pitched along the edges of the tightly-packed schools are producing the best results for the Spanish mackerel and also some cobia.


“Some huge cobia are coming to the dock off these bait pods over the past few days, with more than two dozen fish weighed in at Marlin Quay Marina between 30 and 40 pounds. Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up (Fishing Charters) weighed in a 62-pounder last Wednesday off these bait pods,” Burton said.


When the sun is out, anglers should expect to see trophy-sized cobia patrolling the perimeter of the baitfish schools, preparing to make their move. Anglers can either toss live bait or throw large topwater plugs to these fish, and the aggressive ones will latch onto these surface walkers with rage.


“Cobia are crushing the topwater lures. Several nice fish have come from chunking those large Bombers and Yo-Zuri-type top water lures to these cruising fish,” Burton said.  

View other articles written Jeff Burleson