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Angler’s luck improves


Anglers hope their luck is a tad better following last week’s cool down. Janet Blackmon Morgan jblackmon@thesunnews.com
Outdoors
Fishing report: Fish and anglers adjust as temperatures in, out of water take a dip

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News
December 14, 2017 07:46 PM

Estuary

Look For: Spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, flounder, sheepshead, tautog.

Comments: With winter weather entrenched over the past week, fishermen out on the water have been few and far between. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown took his boat for a quick, nippy run Tuesday afternoon at South Island Ferry and found the water temperature had dropped to 51 degrees. “Cold, cold, cold,” said McDonald. Spotted seatrout and black drum have provided the most action in recent weeks, and with the water temperature still in the 50s, they should remain active. Also look for red drum schooled up in their winter mode, most likely to be found on the flats. Flounder are also available. Jetties at Winyah Bay, Murrells Inlet and Little River should be holding spotted seatrout, weakfish, black drum, red drum, tautog and flounder. Live shrimp are a top bait for all of these species, floated or fished with Carolina rigs or jig heads on the bottom. Cut shrimp on the bottom will also work, especially for black drum and tautog.
Inshore

Look For: Black sea bass, weakfish, tautog, whiting, croaker, black drum.

Comments: On the heels of an extended bout of winter weather, Ronnie Goodwin of Cherry Grove Pier reports that, as expected, the water temperature has taken a plunge. Goodwin observed a water temperature of 53 degrees both top and bottom Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m., a good 5-6 degrees colder than one week ago. Fishing in the surf zone has predictably been slow, with only a few small whiting, croaker and black drum being caught. Black sea bass, with a 13-inch minimum size limit, are the best bet on near-shore artificial reefs with weakfish, tautog and flounder also available. Look for weakfish, black sea bass and whiting on near-shore bottom spots.
Offshore

Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, grouper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy, black sea bass, grunts.

Comments: It’s been a week to forget in the offshore waters, as rough seas and cold temperatures have kept boats at dock. There is, however, a window of opportunity this weekend, with a decent offshore marine forecast in store for Saturday and even better for Sunday into Monday. Trolling action has been very good of late for wahoo, with blackfin tuna and king mackerel also in the mix. Bottom fishing should be excellent for the weekend with vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grouper, red snapper, triggerfish, porgy and white grunts all available. There are plenty of species that currently must be released, however. The Greater Amberjack Fishery is closed to harvest for recreational anglers until March 2018. Also, cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Finally, red snapper are closed in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Crappie, bream, bass, catfish.

Comments: There’s been a change in river fishing as winter weather has set in over the last week. The water temperature has dropped to the low 50s, even the upper 40s, plus rainfall has caused a needed rise in water levels. Still, Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway says “fishing is on fire.” In particular, crappie action has been hot. Stalvey reports that Jason Britt, Phoebe Marie Guest and Jerry Roberson of Socastee had a super day Tuesday on the Great Pee Dee, catching 30 ‘slab’ crappie, all weighing over a pound. The trio caught them trolling beetle spins, on jigs and floating shiners while fishing lakes off the river. Stalvey also notes a limit of bream were landed from the Little Pee Dee, lead-lining red worms on the bottom in 12-16 feet of water. Stalvey says bass action is good on Texas-rigged worms, craw baits and crank baits. Stalvey suggests working lakes, creek mouths, treetops and deep curves for bass. The Waccamaw River at Conway had risen to 7.27 feet at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday. The Little Pee Dee River at Galivants Ferry was at 7.09 feet at 4 p.m. Wednesday, a rise of over three feet from a week ago.