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This is one of those weeks when it’s tough to be a fishing report columnist. It’s supposed to be the time of year when the fishing is at its best and I’m full of reports and fish stories from inshore to offshore. Instead I’m going to sound like a broken record poormouthing the rotten weather we’ve been experiencing.
Hello, wake up, Mother Nature. Apparently you misplaced your calendar. It’s May, for crying out loud, not November. May is our month; the fisherman’s month; the month when life is in perfect balance. The weather is stable, the fish are active and all is good in the world. Somebody get Mother Nature on the horn and let’s get this sorted out.
It’s been an extremely slow start to the spring fishing season. That has been due not to a lack of fish but instead to a lack of decent and stable weather. Constant wind, rain and extreme temperature variations have kept typically patient fishermen and women pacing at the dock and not feeling patient.
In the small windows of reasonable weather, the fishing has been excellent during the past month. Offshore, the wahoo bite has been great and even a few yellowfin tuna have made a showing. The king mackerel fishing has been very good as well in depths of 115 feet.
Nearshore, the beach water temperatures rose for a few days last week and anglers saw the first Spanish mackerel of the year. A king mackerel was caught off the Apache fishing pier in Myrtle Beach, S.C. There is hope out there. Now, if we could just get some normal May weather, we could get to work catching.
I’m finding it difficult to type this statement as I’m doing so with my fingers crossed, but the forecast is encouraging for this week. The winds are forecast to come around to the south and stay relatively light for most of the week and temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 70s. If this happens, expect the fish and fishermen to be active. As soon we get back to a normal and stable weather pattern, things on the water will change quickly.
Offshore, the big change will be the arrival of the mahi-mahi migration. These are some of the most sought-after gamefish that traverse our waters. They arrive via a north-to-south migration. I’ve already received word of a strong mahi-mahi crop to the south of us.
Nearshore, the king mackerel will first come to the beach for a short period once the water temperatures stabilize in the upper 60s to low 70s. After that short visit they will take up residence in depths of 65 feet, where they will remain for the remainder of the summer. Before the kings head for the beach, the Spanish mackerel will arrive first. Spanish mackerels provide the majority of the action for nearshore fishermen from spring through fall. Trolling Clarke spoons behind planers in 20-30 feet of water at 6 mph will produce Spanish mackerel catches during the next several months.
Inshore, we’re already beginning to see the flounder migration take place. A few are being caught daily. Once again, when the weather warms and stays warm the flounder will take over the inshore waters as the dominant species.
We have a lot to look forward to in the fishing world. Unfortunately, most of us had hoped and expected we’d be finished with the “looking forward” part by now and would actually be in the “doing” part. That time is fast approaching and could be any day now. I’ve sharpened every hook, retied every line and fueled the boat. One of these days it really will be May.
Barrett McMullan, a two-time winner of the SKA national championship, is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at