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Action is hot, and so is the weather


Capt. Danny Carey of CareyOn Charters (left) and Jim Eckstein of Orangeburg show off a king mackerel approaching the 50-pound range caught on a charter trip Tuesday.
Outdoors
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Action continues to be good, despite heat

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

July 05, 2018 06:05 PM

Updated July 05, 2018 07:38 PM
Estuary

Look For: Flounder, black drum, red drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, ladyfish, bluefish, tarpon.

Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service had a varied trip on Tuesday in the Winyah Bay area. McDonald’s crew caught two red drum, one spotted seatrout, eight flounder and one huge whiting. McDonald said the whiting weighed at least three pounds on his Boca Grip, but the fish was cleaned for table fare before McDonald realized the South Carolina state record is 2 pounds, 12 ounces for a fish also caught in Georgetown in 1976. McDonald, who noted a water temperature of 85 degrees, used finger mullet to catch all the fish. Expect to begin seeing tarpon in estuaries from Winyah Bay and points south. On the north end, fishing is good, especially for early July. “As hot as it is, the fishing’s been excellent,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters. “There’s a lot of life out there now. We’ve got good redfishing going on. There’s a good stock of fish in the water.” Kelly reports live shrimp have been his bait of choice and he has presented them on a 1/4 ounce jig head to produce reds, black drum, spotted seatrout and flounder.
Inshore

Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.

Comments: Water conditions continue to be superb from the beach to 20 miles out, and the catches reflect it. “The kings are still biting pretty good between 10 and 20 miles out,” said Capt. Danny Carey of CareyOn Charters. “We’ve also caught (dolphin) out there. For the Dog Days of Summer, it’s still going pretty good.” With an east to south wind pushing pretty water up to near the beach, kings have been caught consistently even at near-shore artificial reefs such as Paradise Reef, located three miles east of Murrells Inlet. Plenty of Spanish mackerel are also in the mix, especially around the artificial reefs, live-bottom areas and near inlet passes. Spadefish are also hanging on the artificial reefs. From Grand Strand piers, look for whiting, croaker, red drum, black drum, flounder, spadefish, Spanish and bluefish. Richard O’Leary of 14th Ave. Pier reports keeper flounder to 18 inches have been caught this week along with whiting and spadefish.

Offshore

Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: Carey produced a monster king on an all-day trip Tuesday in depths of 80-100 feet. Carey’s crew caught the king that appeared to approach 50 pounds, plus dolphin and barracuda on the trip, with a dozen kings also caught and released. The occasional sailfish can also show up in a trolling spread in the same depths. Farther out near the break, add plenty of blackfin tuna and a few wahoo to the mix. Bottom fishing is producing vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack, with best action in depths over 100 feet. Red snapper are plentiful on many spots in 80 feet of water and deeper. However, red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway says fishing action on local rivers is hot, just like the weather. Stalvey say in particular bream action is excellent, with fish hitting crickets, worms and wax worms fished in depths of 1 to 4 feet. “I’ve seen limits of bream all day today,” said Stalvey on Thursday. Catfish catches continue to be very good with fish hitting bream, fresh cut eel or fresh cut shad or mullet. For bass, try plastic worms, trick worms, brush hogs, Senkos and top-water frogs.