Fly Fishing North Inlet Winyah Bay
The pristine salt marshes of North Inlet Winyah Bay south to Cape Romaine are majestic and unspoiled. Expansive bays, tidal creeks and spartina shore lines. The oysters in this region do an excellent job keeping the water healthy and clean. One full grown oyster can filter up to a gallon of water an hour. The wildlife is abundant. Dolphin, Sea Turtles, Osprey and Bald Eagles are often seen travailing to and from the fishing grounds. It’s hard to believe that just a short distance from the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach, fisherman, kayakers and boaters can experience such beauty and solitude.
My good buddy picked me up at my house in Pawleys Island and we headed south on Highway 17. Our plan was to scout some old fishing spots along the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW). As we drove over the Waccamaw River bridge in Georgetown the sun was burning the mist off and I felt such a sensce of reverance. We launched the skiff just south of Pawleys Island at South Island Ferry.
Running the Inter Coastal Waterway (ICW)
The morning sun warming our faces and high hopes of what the day may bring. We zigged and zagged our way through some shallow creeks finally arrived to our first fishing spot. I was shocked how much had changed since my last trip down here. I began polling my skiff onto a big mud flat in about 4 to 8 inches of water. The grass shrimp were popping and the Ibises were fetching there morning breakfast. As I was taking in the scenery I noticed nervous water in a creek mouth. I told my fishing partner “11 o’clock”. I spun the boat putting him in perfect casting position. A beautiful fly cast rolled and the fly landed perfect in the fishes direction of travel. Two long strips and fish pounced the fly. The water exploded and the Redfish took of running deep into the creek, it was pandemonium! Tearing line off the Tibor reel all the way to the backing. The fish had ripped 100 feet of fly line before he could get his hand to the drag knob. After a short battle a beautiful Redfish came to hand. A few photos were taken and the fish was Released .
As a Fly Fishing guide I spend more time putting people on fish than actually Fishing.
Steve offered to take the poling platform and let me fish for a bit. I was more than happy to get some bow time for a change. We continued up the shallow mud flat and spotted a Redfish on an oyster point. The fish was tailing and belly crawling feasting on grass shrimp and crabs. Steve poled me into position and I piled up an ugly cast just beyond the fishes direction of travel. I slow stripped the fly past the fish and came tight. The battle was on! This Redfish had some girth and was putting up a serious fight on my Orvis Helios 8 weight fly rod. The fish tiered and was brought boat side where I admired him for a moment before releasing him. No mater how many times I see it and do it, sight casting Redfish is an exhilarating experience. Redfish live in beautiful places and give you a fight you’ll never forget. Steve and I had both landed some nice fish and had shots at a few more.
The winds came up so we stowed our rods and sat down for some lunch. We reflected on the day, realizing that we hadn’t seen another boat out on the water. We had it all to ourselves and we were grateful!
Till Next Tide
Captain Jeff Lattig