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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys. My dad, brother, son, and I are planning a "man weekend" and will be taking a trip down to a beach in SC to do some surf fishing which I really got into last year at Hatteras.

The Myrtle Beach area is what we were looking at since it would be an equal drive for all of us (coming from VA & GA), but I've heard that you need a pretty far cast to get past the sandbars. None of us have the equipment or skill for this. We have pretty light gear & and my son is only 7.

We just want to try to find a place where we have the highest chance of success, regardless of what we're catching or where we are. Can you recommend any beach in South Carolina that would give us a decent chance of catching something toward the end of April? Apr 23 - 26 to be exact.

We can really go anywhere at this point since we don't have concrete plans. We would prefer a low population of course. :) We've looked at Garden City Beach and Topsail Beach a bit too but we can't tell how popular these places are and we'd like to avoid a lot of people.

Thanks for any suggestions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I probably shouldn't have mentioned Topsail looking back on it. Sorry for misleading you there. We were looking there initially but decided against it because it adds over an hour to my brother's trip from GA.

We'd like to stay in SC (or very southern NC) if we can since it's a better distance for him.

I'm looking at Google Maps now and I think we would like to try somewhere between Sunset Beach, NC and Charleston, SC. We don't want to go any further south and even Charleston is pushing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll check out Cherry Grove, thanks for the info.

We will definitely be hitting a pier or two also. And maybe we'll have some luck there. That's good advice. We are just not as familiar with pier fishing and frankly don't want to look like idiots out there, but we'll give it a try.

Most of our time will be right on the beach though if our plan works out. For me, since the first time I did it last spring, nothing beats standing in the waves, fishing. I can't stop thinking about it.

We all have 7-8ft rods, so nothing for real distance casting. We are planning to go out to a field to practice casting a little over the next couple weekends though. Been watching a bunch of off-the-ground casting videos online. Maybe we can improve enough to be more effective by the time we leave. :)
 

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There's not a whole lot to the pier fishing gig. Just get some shrimp and some carolina rigs and if the fish are there, you'll have a blast! The last 2 years I've caught fish off Apache Pier and in the Surf,and if a Yankee from Michigan can catch fish, anyone can!

Have fun where ever you go!
 

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Cherry Grove is a good choice. There is an inlet at the north end that has a couple of sandbars that are good for redfish or dogfish. The sound has trout and croakers. The surf holds mud minnows that can be caught with a cast net. CG pier is fishable for croakers, spot and whiting, plus the occasional black drum. Apache pier is a fifteen-minute drive south and is a good place for a day trip too.

Platt's Seafood on Highway 9 has fresh shrimp and squid, and there are several local shops that sell bait as well. The IGA has a well-stocked fishing section, but the prices there and at the CG Pier house are rather inflated. For tackle I'd recommend Bass Pro, ten minutes down Highway 17.

I fish CG a few times a year, and the action generally heats up right around the end of April and the beginning of May.

Evan
 

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I would head to Apache over Cherry Grove, they charge by the rod and it's rather ridiculous. Most of the regulars will help you out, just don't throw over people who are catching the fish, when it's slow have a conversation with the about what they're fishing with and how they're catching them, most will be glad to help.

The 7-8 foot rods are fine for the piers and will be fine for fishing in close for the surf. Often people cast over the fish, though on dredged beaches here in MB you do need to get some distance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is great stuff guys, I'm definitely shifting my attention from the Garden City area up to Cherry Grove. The inlet there looks cool too on Google Earth. Last year we had a trip in September to Nags Head with terrible wind and the sound was a great place to go since there was no beach to stand on.

We've actually now bumped our trip back to the 2nd week of May now too so that should help the temps even rise a little more before our arrival I would guess.

The day trip to the Apache pier sounds like a great idea and we might pencil that in for a day. Thanks for making the Pier fishing not seem so formidable. I just remembered reading something about using two poles and hooking the lines together...one for the sinker and the other slid down with the bait. It just sounded more complicated than I wanted to attempt at this point. But if I can use some standard stuff, I'm much more willing to get out there.

Thanks for the note on some local shops. We'll look for those while we're down there. Nice having a Bass Pro 10 mins away?!

Here's what may be a stupid question. How to you release a fish from the pier? Do you just drop it off?

You guys have been a big help. If you have any other suggestions for other areas to check out, I'm all ears. After our trip I'll definitely post a report up here too.

Also, how about some good restaurants in the Cherry Grove area?
 

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Releasing fish off the pier depends on their size. Little ones can be dropped over the side, while larger drum and sheepshead should be lowered in a dropnet. But if you catch something big enough to need lowering, you should keep it for the table (if it is within legal slot, of course).

The two-rod rig is for king mackerel and other big fish out on the end, and requires some more specialized equipment. It's a great way to spend a day, but not the only thing to do on a pier. The majority of pier fishermen fish the bottom with two-hook bait rigs or Carolina-rig-style flounder gear. You'll have no problem fishing with what you've got, and the pier will allow you to get out further and deeper than you can fishing the surf.

As for restaurants in the area, MB has lots of things to choose from. You can cruise the Hwy 17 strip for your basic fast food and sit-down fast food (Applebees, Denny's, etc). Little River and Barefoot Landing are 10-15 mins south of the Cherry Grove area (I highly recommend Liberty Steakhouse, make sure you try some of the house brew) and Calabash (about 20 mins north) in NC has some great seafood places right on the water.

And definitely pay at least one visit to the Bass Pro. That is also your best bet for basic tackle (rigs, hooks, weights, line, etc) that the local stores will have for higher prices.

Above all, just have a great time. It's a fishing trip!

Evan
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Above all, just have a great time. It's a fishing trip!

Now you're talking. My brother and I got to go surf fishing last year for the first time and had a blast. I caught several whiting, 2 flounder, and a pompano down in Hatteras. Then later in the year we went to Nags Head where we couldn't even get down to the beach because the wind was so bad. The waves pushed the dunes back about 20 feet the week we were there.

But, we did get to go to the sound. I got several red drum and a trout. My brother caught a lot of spot and something else...what was it called...frogfish/toadfish? It was ugly, that's what I remember.

Now we're taking my dad, who is a notoriously bad fisherman. So more than anything I just want him to catch something. :)

Does that Liberty Steakhouse have seafood too? If not, we'll head up to Calabash if we can. My stomachs growling just thinking about this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
New concern

My brother brought up a new concern now that we've had to push the trip back a couple weeks, college students. It looks like Cherry Grove Beach borders North Myrtle. We are planning on going May 6 - 10....right after a lot of colleges get out.

Do you guys think if we are renting a condo in Cherry Grove that a lot of college students will find their way up there?

Thanks!
 

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There isn't much up in the CG area, but they will be all over the place, especially if you go into MB, but if it's not college kids, it'll be just as bad with tourists. That's the bad part about Myrtle Beach.
 

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The college students aren't as bad in Cherry Grove as they are in main Myrtle, but they do get up there. You shouldn't have a big problem with them, especially if you stick to the piers. In fact, the college students will provide plenty of eye candy when the bite slows down ;)

I might make my way down to CG at some point that week after classes end.

Evan
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That's cool. We'll see how it goes. A little eye candy will be nice as long as they stay out of our way. :) It's a "guys" trip so I won't have to be so careful where I'm looking since my wife won't be there. ;) Don't tell her I said that. I just got some new reflective type sunglasses too....

Thanks again for your advice Evan along with everyone who gave me some input. We've shifted our focus to the Cherry Grove Beach area now and are planning on going there. Can't wait to check out the Apache pier too.

I'll post a "beginner's" surf report up here when we get back.
 

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No problem buddy! I hope you have a great time, and with any luck I hope to come down possibly meet up with ya. I'll probly be king rigging on CG, but I could definitely find time to soak some bait on the bottom if the company is enjoyable :cool:.

One further note: Apache will probably be cheaper if you want to take more than 1 rod per person. Last time I was at CG it was $6 or $6.50 per rod plus $1 for a walking pass. Apache I believe is less expensive, just make sure you show the person at the counter your parking pass so you get your pier fee discounted.

Evan
 
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