Last Updated on May 15, 2023 by Capt. R.C.

Spring Pawleys Island Charter Fishing Report


This is Harvest Moon Fishing Charters Spring fishing report for the Pawleys Island area. Spring fishing in Pawley’s Island is when things begin to heat up where redfish, trout and flounder become active. These inshore fishing species are coming out of their dormant Winter patterns, and they are hungry!


man with speckled trout



Pawleys Island’s May Fishing Targets

  • Redfish
  • Flounder
  • Speckled Trout


girl holding redfish



Redfish are Biting!

While Striped Bass may be South Carolina‘s state fish, Redfish are probably the most treasured among coastal species. These fish, also called Spottail Bass, can be a reliable target on Pawley’s Island fishing charters. Reds can be targeted in a variety of ways including: live bait, artificial, and topwater.

Now that the Spring transition is over, we are back to days of catching good numbers. Live bait has been our most popular method. Mud Minnows are the easiest due to their durability and availability at local Pawleys Island tackle shops. We are also catching Menhaden in the cast net around Georgetown. There have not been any live shrimp available, but Mud Minnows and Menhaden have been effective.

Casting Artificial Shrimp and Saltwater Assassins can be effective right now, but it requires a lot of finesse. Topwater action should also begin to work, but only if you are willing to get out there before daylight (which gets earlier as the days get longer).

All of these methods should continue to be effective as we cross over in to the month of June. If you are looking to catch some Reds, I will provide the method that will give you the best Pawleys Island fishing experience.



boy holding huge flounder



Pawley’s Creek Flounder

We are catching some incredible flounder this Spring in Pawleys Island and Debordieu. In the photo above, I had a father-son team; and this was a 7.5 pound flounder caught by a 12 year-old! Every so often we get some impressive anglers on board, and these guys put on a flawless performance. We had a decisive inshore slam that day with solid numbers of Redfish, Trout and Flounder.

I have not been specifically targeting flounder, but we are still catching quality fish. The traditional Pawleys Island Flounder fishing strategy involves slow-trolling mud minnows near the bottom. As you can see above, there are other ways to catch them.

My fishing charter clients have been catching Flounder using the same methods for Redfish and Speckled Trout. Flounder will attack the same bait differently depending on the presentation. For example, trolling Mud Minnows requires a special touch; but a Mud Minnow under a cork gets a more aggressive bite. I believe it is easier for the Flounder to make their approach on a suspended bait versus one being trolled.



kid with speckled trout


Speckled Trout Biting from Pawley’s Island to Georgetown

We have been catching some very nice Speckled Trout around oyster bars and rips near Pawleys Island. Georgetown has also produced some good numbers, but the fish there have not been quite as big. Now that the water is in the upper 60’s, we should be getting on more schooling fish before the dog days of summer.

I do allow my fishing charters to keep a few trout or flounder for dinner while maintaining our focus on conservation. ‘Release over 20’ is a program that recently began to advocate releasing all fish over 20 inches. This is because a female fish over 20 inches produces an exponentially higher number of eggs. This Spring has produced some rare, drag-peeling, large Speckled Trout.

We had one day where it got overcast in the afternoon, and the bite got crazy. We were not catching a fish every cast, but we were catching some very good quality fish on aggressive bites. I watched one client hook a trout on artificial, and the fish went airborne like a rocket! The same client also hooked a flounder that behaved like a Largemouth Bass with some crazy jumps!

Our Trout bites have come mostly on Mud Minnows and artificial baits. I have caught a couple on Menhaden, but they can be difficult to cast in windy conditions. All in all, the same tactics are working for all three species. The only thing I am doing differently than everyone else is staying on the water every day to figure out where the fish are.



fisherman holding sea trout



Spanish Mackerel off Pawleys Island

If you have been lounging on the beach during your Pawley’s Island vacation, you are probably seeing the Spanish Mackerel just offshore. Look for birds congregating in one area, and a boiling surface on the water.

Spanish Mackerel can be some of the most fun you have ever had on the water. I normally happen to come across these fish when I am in the ocean for another targeted species, but I never pass up the opportunity to catch a few of them if I have the time.

Some people target Spanish by trolling small spoons behind planers, but I just do not feel like that is very exciting for my charter clients. This is a species where I will seize the opportunity by casting to them while they are on the surface. You can even catch them on the fly, like my friend did in the photo below. Many times you will see the fish take your bait, and other fish will follow that one back to the boat!



fly fisherman with spanish mackerel



Look Ahead to King Mackerel

As we get closer to June fishing in Pawleys Island, there will be Nearshore opportunities for King Mackerel. The water is already pushing 70 degrees, and this will bring the Kings in close to the beach. In fact, I have already heard reports of King Mackerel catches off of Myrtle Beach piers.



a fisherman with a kingfish



Don’t Sleep on Pawleys Island Tarpon Fishing

We still some time, but tarpon season will be here before you know it! Tarpon are my favorite species to target, and they are also the most challenging. If you think you are up for the challenge, try to book a date with me between late June and September.



a fisherman with a tarpon



Booking a Pawleys Island Fishing Charter

Contact Harvest Moon Fishing Charters when your ready to go fishing in Pawleys Island! My friends and I grew up learning how to fish the same waters we will be exploring. You will get to the same experience of how we take on a trip when we go fishing. Call today, or check out my convenient online booking.