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Dorain affects shrimp catch

September 14, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Dorain affects shrimp catch

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Here’s how Hurricane Dorian’s impacts affected start of shrimp baiting season on Strand

By Gregg Holshouser
September 13, 2019

What are the pros and cons of commercial shrimping versus aquafarming shrimp? Craig Reaves, a Beaufort based commercial shrimper for 20 years, Scott McNair, a shrimp farmer in Yemassee for more than 30 years, and Al Stokes, the manager at Waddell By Delayna Earley

South Carolina’s shrimp baiting season opened last Friday at high noon, a sure sign the much-anticipated days of autumn will soon arrive.

But just 24 hours earlier, South Carolina’s coastline was being pummeled by torrential rainfall and near-hurricane force gusts as Hurricane Dorian eased by perilously close to the east.

Forty-eight hour rainfall totals were upwards of 10 inches including 13.38 inches in Georgetown and 15.21 inches in Pawleys Island during the three days, Sept. 4-6, of the storm’s passage.

A deluge of rain isn’t exactly a good recipe for the start of the shrimp baiting season. Or is it?

Prior to Dorian’s arrival, local rivers were at their lowest levels since the historic flooding spawned almost a year ago by Hurricane Florence.

The conjecture was the rainfall may have only flushed smaller shrimp out of the tidal creeks and into the main body of area estuaries, instead of flushing all sizes of shrimp into the ocean.

Biologists with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources were out sampling with an otter trawl in Charleston Harbor and the Ashley River on Monday, just about three days after Dorian’s rains departed.

“We thought we might see some of the smaller shrimp from the creeks, and that is something we saw in our sampling,” said Dr. Michael Kendrick of S.C. DNR’s Crustacean Research and Monitoring Section. “We saw a higher than average number of shrimp. (The small shrimp) normally stay in the creeks and continue growing and developing before moving into the main harbors.”

Kendrick isn’t sure what happens from here as autumn arrives, officially on Sept. 23. Shrimp baiting season continues through Nov. 5.

“We don’t know what they’re going to do next,” said Kendrick. “Are they going to move back in the creeks? The sampling was so close after this big freshwater event, it’s hard to know what this is going to mean for the fall shrimp fishery.”

With the trawling samples showing some small creek shrimp and good overall numbers, that is exactly what shrimp baiters can expect to find especially in Charleston County waters, including Bulls Bay and Cape Romain.

But the rain was heavier farther north, as mentioned, in Georgetown County, and S.C. DNR has done no sampling and currently has no sampling on the schedule for the Winyah Bay vicinity.

With no info available on the status of shrimp in the bay, local shrimp baiters will surely find out this weekend.

Commercial shrimp trawlers from McClellanville to Murrells Inlet have had success in the ocean since the storm, meaning quality fresh shrimp are available for purchase.

Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shootout

The tournament, the final of four events in the inaugural Palmetto Kingfish Tour, is underway out of Marlin Quay Marina in Garden City Beach.

Boats are able to fish one of three days, Friday through Sunday, with the largest king mackerel weighed in winning first place.

A field of 46 boats is competing in the tournament, with weigh-ins open to the public at the marina each day from 4-6 p.m.

Our President since 1999, Gregg Holshouser, is an avid fisherman writing the weekly fishing report and outdoors column for The Sun News since 2004.  Gregg and his sister “Sam” invite you to visit Custom Outdoor Furniture to see how you, too, can Live Great Outdoors.  Click here for more information and to check out this week’s fishing report or find us on Facebook. #LiveGreatOutdoors

Flounder and Red Drum active after storm

September 13, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Flounder and Red Drum active after storm


Angler Mike Jocoy landed this 21.2-pound king mackerel from the Apache Pier on Tuesday, marking the 32nd king caught off the pier in the 2019 fishing season. Courtesy of Apache Pier
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Flounder and red drum are active after Dorian’s passage

By Gregg Holshouser
September 12, 2019

Flounder must be released in North Carolina as of Sept. 4

Estuary

Look For: Red drum, flounder, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, bluefish.

Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River has been targeting red drum in the vicinity of the state line this week, but has encountered plenty of flounder in the process. Kelly has had to release all flounder caught in North Carolina, since the flounder fishery in North Carolina waters has been closed since Sept. 4, as mandated by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission. On Wednesday, one of those flounder released was a nice one. “We caught two flounder in North Carolina and three in South Carolina on that trip,” said Kelly. “I released a 3.5-pounder in North Carolina, and caught one about five pounds in South Carolina and put him in the ice chest. We’ve been mainly looking for reds, but flounder are scattered all over the place.” Kelly said red drum action has been very good since the passage of Hurricane Dorian. “The reds have been very plentiful, a lot of small ones, several around 20-25 inches,” said Kelly. “After the storm they have really been piled up.” Kelly has used finger mullet, which are plentiful, for bait for both reds and flounder. The storm schooled up fish in the Winyah Bay vicinity, too. “We’ve caught a lot of fish this week, but there hasn’t been much to them,” said Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown. On a Tuesday trip in the vicinity of the bay, McDonald produced 23 red drum with two keepers, six flounder with one keeper and 11 black drum with no keepers. McDonald used finger mullet for the reds and flounder, cut shrimp for the black drum and caught a few fish on plastic grubs.
Inshore

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

Comments: Norma Madaras of the Apache Pier had good news for anglers eager to get in on some productive fall fishing. First, angler Mike Jocoy landed a 21.2-pound king mackerel from the pier on Tuesday, marking the 32nd king caught off Apache Pier in the 2019 fishing season. Of note, Madaras reported numerous catches of ribbonfish, a premium bait for kings. Spanish mackerel action on straw rigs has been very good in the last few days including a few five-pound fish. Madaras also reported catches of pompano, whiting, croaker, flounder, red drum, black drum and black sea bass. With plenty of bait around including mullet and menhaden, look for excellent Spanish mackerel action from the surf zone to 10 or so miles offshore as autumn inches closer. With mid-September here, look for bull red drum to be on hand at area jetties and near-shore hard-bottom areas, where weakfish, black sea bass and flounder are also available. A variety of species are available on near-shore artificial reefs including black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, spadefish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and sharks. The ocean water temperature remains very balmy, in the mid-80s.
Offshore

Look For: Wahoo, dolphin, blackfin tuna, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, red snapper.

Comments: Jeff Martini and cohort Nomar McKenzie headed out aboard the Dirty Martini from Little River Tuesday to see what the post-Dorian offshore waters held in store. On a tranquil sea, they found trolling action slow and not quite the blue water they were looking for. “We went to the 100-400 and the Blackjack,” said Martini. “It was slow, the water temperature was 81 and the water was kinda blue, just a little blue.” The duo landed one 38-pound wahoo, lost another at the boat and released a barracuda. Martini also reported the water visibility in depths of 110 feet east of Frying Pan Tower was very poor early in the week. As the water continues to clear on the ledges in 90 feet and deeper, look for super fall bottom fishing to be available for grouper, especially scamp, vermilion snapper, grey triggerfish, red porgy, black sea bass, grunts and amberjack. Red snapper are regularly found on the bottom spots but must be released in the South Atlantic Region.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: Some areas of Horry and Georgetown counties were the recipient of in the neighborhood of 10 inches of rain thanks to Hurricane Dorian. The good news is the rivers, namely the Little Pee Dee and Waccamaw, were on the low side before the storm’s passage. The Waccamaw in particular is currently high, but all area rivers are out of flood stage and fishable. The Waccamaw in Conway had dropped out of flood stage, to a level of 10.5 feet by 2:15 p.m. Thursday. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry never reached flood stage and was sitting at 6.8 feet at 2 p.m. Thursday. With warm weather still in place, typical summertime action is available for bream – floating crickets in 2-4 feet of water along the banks and dropoffs. Lead-lining red worms on the bottom can also produce fish. Try buzz baits, trick worms and Texas-rigged worms for bass. Catfish will hit a variety of baits including live bream, cut eel, cut shad and cut mullet.

Our President since 1999, Gregg Holshouser, is an avid fisherman writing the weekly fishing report and outdoors column for The Sun News since 2004.  Gregg and his sister “Sam” invite you to visit Custom Outdoor Furniture to see how you, too, can Live Great Outdoors.  Click here for more information and to check out this week’s fishing report or find us on Facebook. #LiveGreatOutdoors

Read more here: https://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/sports/outdoors/article235022092.html#storylink=cpy

Flounder rules change

August 31, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Flounder rules change

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Why flounder fishing is about to get a little tricky at the Carolinas’ state line

By Gregg Holshouser
August 30, 2019

Flounder processed at local fishery in Beaufort

Commercial and recreational fishermen at odds over fishing for popular N.C. fish By Chuck Liddy

Flounder fishing at the North Carolina-South Carolina border will become tricky beginning Wednesday.

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission has set Sept. 4 as the day commercial and recreational fishing for flounder in North Carolina waters will be closed to harvest.

The commission made the decision at its meeting last week in Raleigh, adopting the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 as proposed by the Division of Marine Fisheries.

A 2019 South Atlantic Southern Flounder Stock Assessment found that southern flounder is overfished and overfishing is occurring throughout the South Atlantic region, from North Carolina through the east coast of Florida, causing the action taken by the commission.

North Carolina law mandates that fishery management plans include measures to end overfishing within two years of adoption and rebuild the stock to achieve sustainable harvest within 10 years of adoption of a fishery management plan.

There is no date set for the recreational flounder season to reopen, but the commercial fishery will not be closed for long in the Tar Heel State.

The commercial flounder season will reopen on Sept. 15 in waters north of Pamlico Sound and on Oct. 1 in Pamlico Sound and all other waters. North Carolina allows the use of commercial gill and pound nets in estuarine waters.

While North Carolina anglers will be unable to harvest flounder in the immediate future, across the state line the current laws of 10 flounder per person per day, a boat limit of 20 per day, with a 15-inch minimum size limit remain in place in South Carolina waters.

That’s where it gets dicey for fishermen like Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River, who regularly fishes the sounds and inlets in both states adjacent to the state line.

Anglers can harvest keeper flounder in South Carolina waters, but had better not cross the state line with a flounder in the boat in the days to come.

“I’ll figure it out, somehow,” Kelly said Friday afternoon.

Kelly was fresh off a charter trip in which he had success, ironically, in Tubbs Inlet catching flounder earlier in the day. Tubbs Inlet is the border between Sunset Beach, N.C., and Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., in Brunswick County.

“We probably caught 14 flounder with a couple keepers, just a normal good day,” said Kelly. “They’re closing it and we’re having some of the better (flounder) fishing I’ve seen all year.”

Kelly has mixed emotions about the closure.

“I guess I get it,” said Kelly, “but I don’t see the difference in this area, it being any worse or better that it has been in my 19 years in business. Some years are better than others. Right now the numbers are pretty good in Tubbs Inlet and right on the border.”

The Carolina coast attracts good numbers of fishermen who specifically target flounder, and now North Carolina is not an option for flounder fanatics hailing from both states. But, moving forward, South Carolina is.

“The diehard flounder guys, they come to catch flounder a few times of the year (when the bite is good),” said Kelly. “They’re probably going to hammer down on them in Cherry Grove and maybe even Murrells Inlet.”
Spanish Mackerel Derby

After plenty of near misses in a variety of fishing tournaments, Capt. Alex Hrycak finally put the big one in the box.

Hrycak, based out of Marlin Quay Marina, and a pair of fellow captains teamed up to win the Spanish Mackerel Derby staged out of in Murrells Inlet last Saturday.

Hrycak was fishing aboard Capt. Jay Zigler’s Key West 234 Bluewater along with Capt. Luke Austin, and the crew landed the winning 5.64-pound Spanish mackerel to win the grand prize in the event out of the Mullet Hut.

Sarah Mitchell and 11-year-old youth angler Jesse Rigby of Conway, who was the angler on the winning fish, rounded out the crew.

“It was really exciting to win a local tournament like that,” said Hrycak, who has competed in numerous king mackerel, wahoo and meatfish tournaments in recent years. “It was my first first-place finish ever.”

The crew targeted an area near Myrtle Beach Rocks, located about 14 miles northeast of Murrells Inlet and five offshore of Myrtle Beach.

“We started trolling cigar minnows, but we weren’t getting any hits and decided to switch to live bait,” said Hrycak.

After the switch, the bites began from a mixture of Spanish, king mackerel, sharks and even a juvenile cobia.

“We caught two Spanish the whole day — the first was around 4 pounds and that got us all excited,” said Hrycak. “Then five minutes later we caught a 6-pounder, which wound up being the 5.64.”

Rigby added the Junior Angler award to the team’s wins on the day as the angler on the event’s largest Spanish.

Hrycak and crew topped a field of 60 boats — from 16-footers to 36-footers — in the tournament that is growing in popularity. The event paid out over $17,000 in cash awards, along with numerous other prizes, said tournament director Robert Thompson.

Shaun Bess won the Big King award followed by Earl Atkinson and Chad Haselden in second place. Both kings weighed over 40 pounds.

Proceeds of the tournament are earmarked to support the Big Dave Altman Memorial Reef Foundation.

Our President since 1999, Gregg Holshouser, is an avid fisherman writing the weekly fishing report and outdoors column for The Sun News since 2004.  Gregg and his sister “Sam” invite you to visit Custom Outdoor Furniture to see how you, too, can Live Great Outdoors.  Click here for more information and to check out this week’s fishing report or find us on Facebook. #LiveGreatOutdoors

 
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