The crew of Molar Man show off a 37.6-pound king mackerel which earned them third place in the SKA-sanctioned Lowcountry Open Saturday out of City Marina in Charleston. Submitted photo
How a local fishing crew reached the podium in an SKA-sanctioned event in Charleston
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
July 06, 2018 04:29 PM
Updated July 06, 2018 04:30 PM
The crew of Molar Man out of Marlin Quay Marina weighed in a 37.6-pound king mackerel to finish third in the Southern Kingfish Association-sanctioned tournament Saturday based out of City Marina in Charleston.
Pole Dancer caught the winning 42.7-pound king, finishing ahead of Mas Pescado in second place with a 40.7-pounder.
The crew of Molar Man, a 42-foot Yellowfin, headed out of Marlin Quay Marina with marina owner Mark Lawhon and his son Chris Lawhon aboard.
Chris Lawhon noted seas were “slick calm” and the crew hit numerous spots.
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“It was kind of slow except when we got into the major bite around lunchtime,” said Chris Lawhon, who said the king was caught in about 100 feet of water southeast of Murrells Inlet near the break.
The fish hit a dead cigar minnow and Capt. Alex Hrycak, who operates the Marlin Quay charter boat, Carolina Fly, served as the angler.
Also among the crew were mate Brenden Kowalewski and Trey Tyner.
“It was a fun day, we had a good time and hit a bunch of different spots.
The tournament was the first in SKA’s Division 3 (South Carolina). The final tournament in the division will be hosted by the Lawhons at Marlin Quay Marina on Sept. 8 with the Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shootout.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gary Pope, Jr., of Georgetown won the non-boater division of the B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Regional last weekend at the Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown. Submitted photo
How the comforts of home helped Georgetown’s Pope pull off major fishing win
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
June 29, 2018 06:32 PM
Georgetown resident Gary Pope Jr. enjoyed all the comforts of home in the B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Regional last week out of the Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex on the Sampit River, right down to his home-made lures.
Pope took full advantage of fishing his hometown waters by winning the non-boater division of the regional tournament and securing a spot in the upcoming B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
The national championship will be held in November, with the exact date and location to be announced on Monday.
Seventeen states and the Canadian province of Ontario were represented in the Eastern Regional, with nearly 400 anglers competing.
The top boater and the top non-boater from each state earned a spot in the national championship.
Winning the non-boater division and reaching the national championship was a tremendous accomplishment for Pope, who is employed at International Paper in Georgetown, but extra special on his home turf, or waters.
“What was so sweet about it, was I had a lot of hometown support,” said Pope, who is a member of the Conway Bassmasters. “Every day at work this week people have been congratulating me. I can’t tell you how many Facebook friend requests I’ve had from all over the country.
“It’s been humbling and exciting to have all that support. I tried to make Georgetown proud, International Paper proud, and the bass club.”
The non-boaters hitch a ride each day of fishing with an angler from the boater division. The non-boaters can fish from the back deck of the boat only and can weigh in only three bass per day.
The boaters fish the bow of the boat and are allowed to weigh in the full limit of five bass per day.
Pope weighed in the maximum of three bass all three days of fishing and wound up with a winning aggregate weight of 17 pounds, 6 ounces for his nine bass.
Mark Hogan of Milford, Del., won the boater division after weighing in his limit of five bass each day for a total of 15 fish, and an aggregate of 31-15.
Pope fished the Pee Dee, Waccamaw, Little Pee Dee and Sampit rivers, but it was his first day on the Pee Dee that put him in position for the win.
Pope’s three bass on opening day weighed 10-4 and gave him an early cushion. He was fishing with his own homemade 4 1/2-inch craw and Senko-type baits, plus he caught one of the fish on a KVD Square Bill Crankbait.
Pope was fishing with boater division anglers from Ontario, Maine and Florida, and they were willing to take advice from their local passenger
“Living here so long, I knew the key spots at the right time with the right bait,” said Pope. “It’s all about timing and tide.”
On the final day of fishing, Pope was paired with Dave Turner, who wound up finishing second in the boater division.
“(Turner) thanked me after it was over,” said Pope.
Another local angler, Stacey Proctor of Conway, finished second behind Pope in the non-boater division with an aggregate of 15-13.
Pope will be competing in his second B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. He also won a regional tournament at Paducah, Ky., in 2004 to qualify for the 2005 national championship.
Chris Jones of Conway, also a member of the Conway Bassmasters, was the top South Carolina angler in the boater division and also qualified for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
Jones finished eighth overall in the boater division with a full 15-fish aggregate of 23-12.
Jones fished the Black River, the Pee Dee and the Little Pee Dee and caught fish consistently throughout the days, even in hot conditions with the heat index near or above 100 degrees all three days.
“Even in the middle of the day you have a lot of shade with all the natural creeks and shadeline along the rivers,” said Jones. “The fish feed on the current and anywhere they have shade.”
A Stanley Ribbit Frog was Jones’ most successful lure.
Two more Conway anglers, Gregg Fogner and Hayes Hudson, finished 10th and 11th, respectively in the boater division.
Visit bassmaster.com/news/bass-nation-eastern-regional-standings-0 for complete standings.
S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfish Series
After Mister Pete won the first two tournaments in the 2018 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series, Reel Passion captured the Carolina Billfish Classic (CBC) out of Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina in Mt. Pleasant last weekend.
Reel Passion, owned by Billy Ingram with Capt. Gary Richardson at the helm, took advantage of a prolific sailfish bite to accumulate 1,700 points for the win.
With Ingram and Richardson leading the way, Reel Passion won the overall series championship in 2011 and 2015.
Richardson uses only natural baits in his trolling spread and naked ballyhoo were the ticket as the crew released seven sails and one white marlin.
Sportin’ Life released two blue marlin and two sailfish for 1,600 points to finish second followed by Grander with two blues and one sail for 1,400 points.
Mister Pete remains in the overall lead in the series with 4,275 points with two tournaments remaining. Sportin’ Life is a close second with 4,075 points followed by Artemis (3,275), Grander (3,275) and Full Pull (2,475).
Richardson and Ingram chose to fish the first two of three fishing days in the CBC, and the captain worked the 300 line in 450 feet of water, 51 miles southeast of Charleston both days.
“There wasn’t any bait, we just got a bite or two, stuck it out there and then got a bite an hour,” said Richardson.
On the first day, Reel Passion released three sailfish plus caught eight dolphin. On the second day, the crew released four sails and the white marlin. All eight billfish hit naked ballyhoo.
Up until the CBC, it had been a tough-luck series for the Reel Passion crew this year. Case in point, a missed opportunity in the Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament.
“We fought a (blue marlin) in Georgetown for six hours and lost it – (an) 800-pounder plus,” said Richardson. “We had it close up jumping one time, as close as 150 feet.
“It’s mostly luck in these things.”
Go to www.govcup.dnr.sc.gov for full results from the Carolina Billfish Classic and the series.
Gary Pope, Jr., of Georgetown and Stacey Proctor of Conway hug after the finished first and second in the non-boater division of the B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Regional last weekend at the Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown. Submitted photo