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Bad weather gone, good fishing ahead.

image: man fishing
A fisherman walks the oyster bars at low tide in Cherry Grove Inlet in North Myrtle Beach. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews.com

May 25, 2017 5:34 PM
Fishing report: Lousy weather now in rear view, anglers trying to play catch up
By Gregg HolshouserEstuary
Look For: Flounder, red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, sheepshead, bluefish, ladyfish.
Comments: Before the wind and rain arrived early this week, Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had good success with red drum, trout and black drum, fishing from McClellanville to North Inlet. McDonald, who also caught a few flounder and ladyfish, used live mud minnows, live mullet, cut shrimp, and artificials, especially plastic grubs on jig heads. The captain noted the water temperature dropped from 80 degrees on Monday to 74 to 75 degrees Thursday. Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters in Little River reports trout and black drum catches are good, with flounder available especially in Tubbs Inlet. Jessica Perry of Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet reports flounder catches have been good on a rising tide Wednesday and Thursday. “We’ve started seeing some nicer size flounder,” said Perry, who noted slot red drum (15-23 inches) and black drum have been landed in the creeks of the inlet.
Inshore
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, whiting, croaker, black drum, pompano, spots.
Comments: “I’m ready for this mess to get out of here,” said Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet, who has canceled three charter trips this week due to the weather. King mackerel catches were very good in the 10-15 mile range on bottom spots before the weather arrived. The near-shore bottom spots are holding nice Spanish mackerel in the vicinity, plus spadefish are available on the reefs. Ocean conditions have not been a pretty sight near the beach, either. “It’s pretty nasty out there,” Scott Skrzydlinski of Cherry Grove Pier said of the surf conditions Thursday afternoon. Still Skrzydlinski reports black drum and spots have made a showing this week. “They’ve been catching a good handful of (keeper black drum) a day,” said Skrzydlinski. “We had a small run of spots early in the week, too.” Skrzydlinski noted a water temperature of 76 degrees, both surface and bottom, Thursday at 3 p.m. Moe of The Pier at Garden City reports catches of Spanish, whiting and croaker this week.

Offshore
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, barracuda, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack.
Comments: It’s been a lousy, windy, rainy week, virtually eliminating any chance to get offshore for trolling action, and at a most inopportune time. Mid-to-late May is the time to load up on dolphin, to go with blackfin tuna and wahoo. Then there’s the billfish factor — blue marlin activity is currently at a peak in the Gulf Stream. The rain mainly cleared out Thursday, but the wind remained, and the first day of fishing in the 50th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament out of Georgetown Landing Marina was canceled by a Small Craft Advisory. All boats in the tournament were to fish the final two days of the event on Friday and Saturday. Bottom fishing is excellent when boats can get out there, with catches of vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack. Head to depths beyond 90 feet for best catches. Red snapper cannot be harvested in the South Atlantic region and must be released. The fish should be vented if necessary.
Freshwater
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: Earlier this week — Monday through Wednesday, in fact — a deluge of rain and windy weather caused angler action to be rather slow. The sun re-appeared on Thursday, and fishermen were back at it on area rivers. The rain brought a rise in both Pee Dee rivers but the Waccamaw remains in good shape and fishable. “The rain hasn’t messed us up too bad,” said Ronald ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “The Waccamaw’s the best right now, since the water jumped back up everywhere else.” The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was at 6.9 feet at 1 p.m. Thursday and rising, while the Waccamaw at Conway was at 8.1 feet at 1 p.m. and making good tides. Stalvey suggests floating crickets and worms around lily pads, trees or brush in 2-4 feet of water for bream on the Waccamaw from Conway to Bucksport, and in the Ricefields vicinity. Stalvey personally had a successful bass trip about a week ago before the rainy weather moved in, and suggests using Bang-o-Lures and buzz baits. “Any kind of top-water has been very good lately,” said Stalvey. Catfish catches have been good on live bait or cut shad, eels or mullet.