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Fishing’s good, despite the rain

July 27, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Fishing’s good, despite the rain


Will Duke of Marietta, Ga., shows off a bull red drum he caught and released Tuesday while fishing in Winyah Bay with Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service. Courtesy of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service
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Grand Strand Fishing Report: Bites still coming for those who are braving the rain

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

July 26, 2018 05:22 PM

Estuary

Look For: Flounder, black drum, red drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, ladyfish, bluefish, tarpon.

Comments: Huge or small, there was good action this week for Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown. McDonald has produced huge bull red drum well over the slot limit of 15-23 inches and spotted seatrout under the 14-inch minimum this week, along with a good mess of flounder, all while fishing finger mullet on the bottom for flounder. The bull reds were a pleasant surprise on light tackle. “Those reds have moved up on the flats,” said McDonald. McDonald noted there is an abundance of freshwater moving down into the bay, plus plenty of tarpon are on hand. Reds and flounder hitting finger mullet have been the catch of the week for Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River. “For as much rain as we’ve had fishing’s still pretty good,” said Kelly. Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions in Murrells Inlet has also caught “some nice keeper flounder” over the 15-inch minimum size limit along with slot red drum on finger mullet this week. “I’ve seen a lot of schools of bigger mullet this week, so there’s bound to be tarpon around,” said Connolly.

Inshore

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

Comments: If not rainy weather, then the forecast of rain has kept boats at dock or inside the inlets over the last week to 10 days. “No one’s been fishing for a week,” said Dave Christian of Marlin Quay Marina. “Before that, there were kings at Belky Bear and Myrtle Beach Rocks.” A variety of species are hanging around near-shore artificial reefs such as Jim Caudle Reef, Ron McManus Memorial Reef and Paradise Reef including spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, and weakfish. Also on the reefs, be ready for Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia to make a showing, with plenty of sharks in the vicinity. Water clarity hasn’t been the best along the beach this week, but Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports anglers have caught whiting, croaker, pompano, spadefish, flounder and a few keeper black drum. The ocean water temperature Thursday afternoon was 86 degrees.

Offshore

Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: Mate Wade Fehlig of Underdog out of Murrells Inlet reports trips have been few and far between this week, but on his last trip a week ago the boat produced dolphin at the Parking Lot in 80-100 feet of water along with king mackerel and barracuda. Christian reports that bottom fishing is excellent for vermilion snapper, triggerfish and red porgy, with numerous scamp available, in 100-120 feet of water. Red snapper are also being caught in good numbers but must be released in the South Atlantic region. Recreational anglers will be able to harvest red snapper for six days in August (Aug. 10-12, 17-19) with a limit of one per person per day with no size limit. After Aug. 19, the red snapper fishery will close once again.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: There’s been plenty of rainfall this week, which has kept the anglers off the rivers.”The water levels are still good – the Little Pee Dee is still dry,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Everything’s still great but there just ain’t nobody going. Cricket sales are way down this week.” Still, crickets and worms are producing bream in 2-4 feet of water and catfish are hitting eels and bream. For bass, Stalvey suggests using Texas-rigged worms and hollow body frogs. Bass action was excellent last weekend for the CATT Waccamaw River tournament. Corey Singleton and Jesse Hopkins won the tournament with a five-bass limit of 20.35 pounds.

Porducing the fishermen of tomorrow

July 21, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Porducing the fishermen of tomorrow


Brewer Cannon shows off a flounder while Capt. Mark Allison of Palmetto Kids Fishing Camp looks on. Captain Smiley Fishing Charters
How a local sea captain’s efforts are producing responsible fishermen of tomorrow

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

July 20, 2018 05:45 PM Updated July 20, 2018 05:55 PM

Capt. Patrick Kelly’s summer camp vision has come to fruition.

A year ago, Kelly, owner/operator of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River, had the idea of founding a camp designed to teach youngsters the intricacies of boating and fishing, and respecting the environment along the Carolina coast.

So last summer Kelly invited about a dozen youngsters on a fishing trip that was essentially a test run for his fishing camp concept.

“We took that group of kids out to see how we’d do it, then we organized it this winter and put it together,” said Kelly. “It’s definitely in the building phase – there’s been an extreme amount of interest in this.”

This summer, Kelly’s Palmetto Kids Fishing Camp for ages 9 to 17 was born, based out of Cricket Cove Marina.

Kelly and his group of captains, all who have completed South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Fishing Instructor certification, finished the fifth of six sessions of the camp this week.

“I love it,” said Kelly. “I’ve been in the charter business for 18 years and this has by far been the highlight of my fishing charter business. I thought it was about taking people to catch as many fish as possible. I think taking these kids out has been the most humbling and rewarding experience to me. I can’t wait to do it again next summer.”

Kelly still has one session of camp left this summer, set for August 7-10.

Each session consists of four-hour trips each morning for four straight days (7-11 a.m. Tuesday through Friday).

Kelly’s classroom is the saltwater estuaries around Little River and southern Brunswick County, N.C., including areas such as the Intracoastal Waterway, Dunn Sound and Tubbs Inlet.

One of the main focuses is to teach camp attendees the intricacies of catching fish such as red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum and flounder.

Campers learn much more, though, as they receive expert instruction on subjects such as fish identification, knot tying, basic boating rules and safety and catching bait with a cast net.

In the age where it can be difficult to pry youngsters away from smart phones, computers or video games, Kelly’s camp offers an excellent diversion.

“I took a kid last week, his father said he had a bad addiction to video games and it was hard to get him to do anything,” said Kelly. “He caught his first fish at the camp – he caught a bunch of fish. Now he’s hooked on fishing.

“I think we can make a difference in getting kids off the computers, off the video games and get them outside.”

The marine environment on the entire globe is being threatened by trash in the water – especially the massive amount of plastic that makes its way into the waterways.

Disposing of trash in an ethical manner and helping clean up the waterways are key points Kelly and his cohorts drive home with the youngsters.

“We try to pick up trash on every day of camp but on the last day, we take an extra 45 minutes and pick up trash,” said Kelly. “We tell them, you’ve got to give to get. It’s funny, it seems like on the last day we have the best fishing. You take care of (the environment), it’ll take care of you.”

For more information on the Palmetto Kids Fishing Camp visit www.captainsmileyfishingcharters.com, email fish@captainsmileyfishingcharters.com or call 843-361-7445.
S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series

The fifth and final stop in the 2018 series is under way with the Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament out of The Marina at Edisto Beach.

The tournament opened on Thursday with all 36 boats declaring a fishing day. The field had a fantastic day with sailfish, releasing 64 with two blue marlin also released.

Only two of the 36 boats, DayMaker and El Tejano, opted to fish during what wound up being a deluge of rain on Friday. The remaining 34 boats will fish their second day on Saturday, the final day of fishing in the tournament and the series.

Syked Out released eight sailfish for 1600 points on Thursday and holds the lead entering Saturday’s final day of fishing. Lady S and Reel Passion are tied for second place with 1,000 points.

The series is finishing with a flurry, with tournaments on back-to-back weekends.

A week ago, Georgetown Landing Marina entry Rascal held the lead with 1,100 points entering the final day of fishing last Saturday in the Megadock Billfishing Tournament at City Marina in Charleston.

But, while Rascal added one sailfish release to finish with 1,300 points, the crew of Man Cave released four sailfish to earn the victory with 1,800 points.

Sara Gressette, wife of Man Cave owner/captain Billy Gressette, was the superstar angler of the tournament, serving as the angler on all seven billfish (one blue marlin, six sailfish) the crew released.

Two boats will be in a battle on the final day to earn the title of top boat in the overall series standings. In unofficial point totals, Mister Pete enters the final day with 6,475 points ahead of Sportin’ Life with 6,075.

Rain doesn’t dampen catch

July 20, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Rain doesn’t dampen catch


Dr. Jason Rosenberg, Ruby Rosenberg, Capt. Jay Sconyers, Lainey Rosenberg and Zachary Rosenberg show off their mackerel catch from Wednesday aboard Painkiller out of Murrells Inlet. Courtesy Dr. Jason Rosenberg
Outdoors
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Rain hasn’t hampered fishing in ocean or rivers

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

July 19, 2018 06:12 PM

Estuary

Look For: Flounder, black drum, red drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, ladyfish, bluefish, tarpon.

Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has had a few productive trips this week in the Winyah Bay vicinity. On Monday, McDonald’s crew caught five flounder including four keepers over the 15-inch minimum size limit, plus a few red drum and spotted seatrout. On Thursday, McDonald produced six reds, two flounder, two trout and two ladyfish, all caught on finger mullet. “There are plenty of mullet out there,” said McDonald, “and fishing’s been better than it was the last few weeks.” Look for tarpon roaming Winyah Bay and estuaries to the south. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters has endured a rainy week in the Little River vicinity, but has caught plenty of red drum and black drum, along with flounder. On Thursday, Kelly found reds in “super shallow water” in the creeks, but they were easily spooked. Kelly has caught the reds and flounder on live finger mullet while live shrimp are working for the black drum. An angler on one of Kelly’s other boats caught a 7-pound flounder. “It’s been a wet week, but it didn’t seem to interrupt the fishing,” said Kelly.

Inshore

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

Comments: Dr. Jason Rosenberg’s typical Wednesday Fishing with Friends aboard his 32-foot Contender, Painkiller, had a bit of a twist this week – it was Wednesday Fishing with Family. Rosenberg and Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing were joined by Rosenberg’s two daughters, Lainey and Ruby, and son, Zachary, and slow-trolling cigar minnows for mackerel was on the docket. Lainey Rosenberg, 14, was the angler of the day, first catching a lunker 5 1/2-pound Spanish mackerel near Belky Bear, then capping the day with a 35-pound king mackerel near Buoy City. Lainey fought the king for 45 minutes on a Penn 4500 spinning reel, before Sconyers gaffed the smoker and pulled it aboard. Also on the quick trip, Ruby caught her first king mackerel and Zachary also caught a king, both in the 10-pound range. “It was an amazing fish for an amazing kid with a very small fishing rod,” said Dr. Rosenberg, “and we made it home just before the storms. It was the perfect day.” On the near-shore artificial reefs, look for spadefish, flounder, black sea bass and weakfish, with Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia also roaming the vicinity around the reefs. Sharks are also on the reefs, including some big ones. Morgan Marohl of the Cherry Grove Pier reported a balmy water temperature reading of 86 degrees Thursday afternoon. Marohl reports whiting, croaker, black drum, spadefish and a few tripletail have been caught off the pier this week, but no kings and few Spanish mackerel.

Offshore

Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: Boats trolling inshore of the break on live bottom areas in 80-100 feet of water have had scattered catches of king mackerel, barracuda, dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna and even a few sailfish. Further out, near the break (the Continental Shelf) and beyond, dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, sailfish and blue marlin are in the trolling mix, with yellowfin tuna a possibility. Bottom fishing continues to be excellent for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack, with best action in depths over 100 feet. Anglers are catching plenty of red snapper but the species cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: “Fishing’s been phenomenal,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Thank God we did get some rain because the rivers were about to dry up. The river levels are right, right now.” Stalvey said bream are hitting crickets and worms “shallow and deep.” Catfish action remains good on fresh eel and live bream, both on bush hooks and by rod-and-reel. “The top-water bite has been amazing lately (for bass),” said Stalvey, who suggests using buzz baits and Bang-O-Lures.

Lainey Rosenberg of Pawleys Island displays a 35-pound king mackerel and 5 1/2-pound Spanish mackerel she caught Wednesday aboard Painkiller out of Murrells Inlet. Courtesy Dr. Jason Rosenberg