Flatfish invasion – April flounder run gets Cherry Grove anglers hopping

Big push inshore from wintering flounder fills smallish, shallow estuary.

Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters

Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters

From the April 2013 issue of South Carolina Sportsman Magazine

Jeff Burleson
April 01 at 7:00 am

Within feet of the state line, the northern end of the Grand Strand harbors a unique estuary with local and worldly significance. On a grand scale, Walter Maxwell’s 1,780-pound tiger shark — caught from a Cherry Grove pier in 1964 — remains untouched after almost 50 years, and is the only all-tackle world record from South Carolina waters.

But light-tackle anglers recognize this area for an entirely different reason as April arrives.

The two-lane boat ramp on the north end of 53rd Avenue in Cherry Grove gets more than its fair share of traffic, and for good reason. April means flounder around these parts, as Cherry Grove’s pocket-sized estuary fills up with hungry flounder moving in from the ocean through Hog Inlet when the rest of the region’s fishing barometer remains cold.

The Cherry Grove region has only 1,000 acres of shallow marsh between the mainland and the narrow barrier island that’s full of houses and high-rise hotels — and only 10 percent of that marsh has fishable depths for anglers with small boats. But this shallow estuary supports a tremendous invasion of flounder early in the spring when warm days become a regular happenstance.

Capt. Keith Logan of North Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters begins his spring charter season in Cherry Grove’s tepid waters. According to Logan, the regionally-unique locale is the hottest place around.

“The shallow water and protection from the wind allow the water to warm quicker than others,” said Logan (843-907-0064). “It’s shallow in there; the water will be five degrees warmer than the ICW and Little River Inlet.”

The bottom of Cherry Grove’s shallow estuary is covered with dark-colored sand and mud. On low tide, inhabitable water is restricted to the main channel and a few choice tributaries. Yet, these fish will pour into these estuaries as soon as the water temperature climbs into the mid- to upper 60s.

“Some flounder will be caught in cooler water, but 68 degrees is the key temperature to watch for and it’s when the fish start to bite well,” Logan said.

Link to the rest of the story: http://www.southcarolinasportsman.com/details.php?id=2844

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