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Black Drum play hard to get

Charlie Nash of Garden City Beach shows off a nice spotted seatrout caught on Nov. 30 in Murrells Inlet. Gregg Holshouser For The Sun News
Though black drum were playing hard to get, day on water fruitful in other species

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

December 08, 2017 04:40 PM

UPDATED December 08, 2017 04:43 PM

The day was tranquil and splendid for the latest autumn excursion with my longtime fishing buddy, Charlie Nash of Garden City Beach.

With I at the bow and Nash at the stern, we eased through Inlet Harbor in his wide jon boat heading to the main creek of Murrells Inlet.

Despite a falling tide that was nearly low, the water clarity was 3-4 feet even in the back of Inlet Harbor, located at the south end of the peninsula of Garden City Beach.

A little after 10 a.m., the temperature on the last day of November was in the low 60s, headed for the upper 60s, with a light, almost calm, northerly wind. A few puffy clouds drifted by to block the sun from time to time.

Absolutely perfect.

Nash reached the main creek and headed north, wound around a few bends and stopped along a Spartina grass-lined bank beside his brother, Fred Nash, Jr., who was already fishing the spot.

With Fred’s approval, we eased up along the bank, about 50 yards away from his boat.

At just the right spot, per Charlie Nash’s instruction, I dropped the anchor about 100 feet off the bank.

A bait bucket loaded with live shrimp powered by a battery-operated aerator sat in the middle of the boat, within reach of us both.

With the tide nearly low and little current, we tossed out live shrimp on weighted, 1/32-ounce jig heads on 12-pound spinning tackle, the same setup used for yellowtail fishing in the Florida Keys.

To start, every live shrimp was eaten by bluefish, black drum under the 14-27-inch slot limit and a flounder under the 15-inch minimum size limit.

Soon, the tide began rising, and the black drum bite took off, all still undersized. About an hour after low tide, the trout began to show up, with our limit of one weakfish each landing in the cooler, including one approaching 20 inches.

As the rising tide really got rolling, so did the action of spotted seatrout, known locally as winter trout.

As the current and depth increased along the bank, the jig heads were no longer getting deep enough, and Nash switched to his float rigs, long a Murrells Inlet staple consisting of a medium-size torpedo float with a rubber stop to adjust the depth.

With the live shrimp about four feet down in about six feet of water, we tossed the rigs out and let them drift with the current. Like clockwork, about 60 yards downstream the float would go down in response to a trout bite.

Over the next couple hours we caught trout after trout with plenty of black drum mixed in. In the end, we took home the two weakfish and 11 spotted seatrout.

Despite our best efforts, including fishing closer to the bank and just off the bottom, we couldn’t find the larger black drum, although we caught and released over 20 in the 11-13 inch range.

Back at the cleaning table, the results were a sizable bag of filets, plenty for a fish fry or two to enhance the Christmas season.

Charlie Nash, along with his older brother Fred, Jr., and younger brother, Skeeter, have a long history of fishing along the Grand Strand.

The Nashs grew up near Springmaid Beach on the south end of Myrtle Beach, and spent much of their spare time on the beach or in the water.

Beginning in the mid 1950s, the brothers would push a small boat into the surf and past the breakers to go fishing. First using oars, then a small outboard, they caught weakfish and black sea bass among other species on the hard-bottom area located between the Springmaid and Myrtle Beach State Park piers.

Charlie Nash, now 76, was also a lifeguard as a teenager at Springmaid Beach in the early 1960s.

With over 50 years experience fishing along the Grand Strand and in Murrells Inlet, it’s no wonder Nash is so dialed in to exactly where and when to catch fish in the waters of the fishing village.
Speckled Studs Trout Tournament

This tournament was held last Saturday out of Murrells Inlet and featured an all-release format.

The team of Englis Glover and Tony Carter won first place in the two-trout aggregate category plus weighed in the largest trout. The duo of Jason Burton and Rachel Baldassare finished second, and also weighed in the largest drum.

Nick Skodras and Dan Connolly were third, the father-son duo of Peter and Cullen Gerace were fourth, and Tommy Werner and Taylor Tillman were fifth.

All fish that were weighed in were released alive.

Gregg Holshouser displays a 14-inch flounder caught on Nov. 30 in Murrells Inlet before releasing the fish. Charlie Nash Submitted photo

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