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Pending State Record for Scamp Grouper

June 16, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Pending State Record for Scamp Grouper

William Henry of Gastonia, N.C., shows off the 27.41-pound scamp grouper he caught while fishing aboard the Sea Rake with Capt. Randall Robinson out of Murrells Inlet on June 8. The scamp is a pending new South Carolina state record. Submitted photo
See what fish caught during a trip out of Murrells Inlet is a pending state record

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

June 15, 2018 04:42 PM

Updated June 15, 2018 07:32 PM

William Henry of Gastonia, N.C., is a regular customer with Capt. Randall Robinson aboard the Sea Rake out of Crazy Sister Marina in Murrells Inlet.

When Henry charters the Sea Rake, he prefers to specifically go grouper fishing, and that is exactly what Robinson set out to do on an eight-hour trip on June 8.

Robinson wound up fishing in an area southeast of Murrells Inlet in 100 feet of water, about 35 miles out, perhaps a little shallower than usual.

“I stumbled on a spot I hadn’t fished a while that happened to have some fish on it,” said Robinson. “The bigger fish hadn’t really been biting (farther) offshore.”

Henry and his fellow angler, Alex Stutts of Charlotte, N.C., began catching some very nice scamp on the spot, landing a 20-pounder, two in the 16-18 pound range and a 12-pounder.

Then, they got another big bite on a dead cigar minnow on a single hook rig with a circle hook and what Robinson called a “pretty good leader.”

“I knew it was a pretty good fish,” said Robinson.

A few minutes later, the biggest scamp of all popped up to the surface beside the Sea Rake. This one, Robinson suspected could threaten the South Carolina state record for scamp.

“I hadn’t fished that spot in a couple years,” said Robinson. “We caught five scamps off it and they were all pretty good fish.”

Kris Reynolds, a Wildlife Biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, certified the potential state record on certified digital scales at Harrelson’s Seafood and the official weight was 27.41 pounds.

The existing state record is a 26-pound, 15-ounce scamp caught out of Port Royal in 2011.

Reynolds interviewed Robinson and Henry and submitted paperwork for the potential state record to the S.C. DNR office in Charleston.

For now, the catch is a pending state record awaiting an official ruling on whether the fish will go down as the new state record.

Robinson is a bottom-fishing veteran out of Murrells Inlet. His fishing career in the inlet started as a mate on a head boat in 1994, and he’s now had his captains license for 18 years. That’s plenty of time to glean some bottom spots that are honey holes, in a time when secret bottom spots are very few and far between.

The scamp was listed on the fishing leader board at Crazy Sister Marina, with info such as date, angler, weight and location. Robinson wasn’t exactly specific when filling in the location of the catch.

“I put ‘None of your business,’ ” Robinson said with a laugh.

*Jolly Mon King Classic: The area king mackerel tournament season kicks off this weekend with the Jolly Mon King Classic out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center.

Boats entered in the event can fish either Saturday or Sunday. The weigh-in at the OIFC in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., opens at 2 p.m. on both fishing days. Visit for more information.

Other upcoming king mackerel tournaments include the Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shootout out of Marlin Quay Marina in Murrells Inlet Sept. 7-9 and the Yellowfin/Yamaha Fall Brawl King Classic Oct. 12-14, also at the OIFC.

*Bassmaster Event: Georgetown is the host venue for the BASS Nation Eastern Regional out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex on the Sampit River June 20-22. The public is invited to attend the weigh-ins.

Cherry Grove Pier produces

June 15, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Cherry Grove Pier produces

Gaston and Tolly Hughes of Wilmington, N.C., of Team Grip Flip show off the second-place king mackerel in the 2017 Fall Brawl King Classic. Submitted photo
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Cherry Grove Pier produces another run of kings

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
June 14, 2018 07:27 PM


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

Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters was having a ball late Wednesday morning with a group of youngsters from the Palmetto Kids Fishing Camp. “We just put a two-pound flounder in the boat,” said Kelly from the water in Little River. Kelly was fishing the creeks of Little River, using mud minnows on a No. 4 hook, with just a split shot for weight. Kelly has also produced good catches of black drum and red drum, especially on the ICW in the Little River area, using live or cut menhaden. “Fishing’s been pretty good this week,” said Kelly, who noted a water temperature of 78 degrees. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service had a very good trip early in the week south of Georgetown. McDonald’s crew caught 22 black drum and four red drum, with all fish released. McDonald used cut shrimp fished under floats for bait.

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

Comments: The king mackerel bonanza continued on Cherry Grove Pier early in the week, thanks to uncommonly clear water and plentiful schools of pogeys (menhaden) along the beach. From Sunday through early Tuesday before rain and wind spoiled the fun by Tuesday afternoon, 15 king mackerel were landed off the pier, including a 36-pound, 4-ounce fish. “We had super-clear water the first of the week,” said Steve Gann of the Cherry Grove Pier. “It was the clearest I’ve seen the water in years. I can’t remember when I’ve seen it that clear.” When the water was clear, anglers were also catching Spanish, blues, whiting, croaker, spadefish and sheepshead off the pier. Gann noted a water temperature of 80 degrees. King mackerel action has also been good on mid-range reefs such as Belky Bear and The Jungle, plus a little closer in at Myrtle Beach Rocks. It’s spadefish season on near-shore reefs such as Paradise Reef, Jim Caudle Reef and Ron McManus Reef, but plenty of other species are available too. Look for Spanish mackerel, bluefish and the occasional king or cobia to show up. On the bottom, black sea bass, flounder and black drum are available with plenty of sharks, of all sizes, around.

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

Comments: In late April and May, dolphin are typically found almost exclusively in the clear, warm water of the Gulf Stream as they migrate north. Now, Capt. Buddy Smith of Underdog in Murrells Inlet reports they can be found in depths of 90 to 115 feet – proof that summertime fishing is in full swing. “It’s getting to be that time of year where kings and dolphin are in there,” said Smith. “As that water warms up and the bait comes in there, you can catch dolphin in there.” And, don’t be surprised to find a few sailfish in the same depths. Further out along the break in areas such as the Winyah Scarp, Georgetown Hole and Blackjack Hole, trolling action is producing scattered catches of blackfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo, plus billfish encounters can occur at any time. Bottom fishing is excellent, particularly in depths over 100 feet. Vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack are all available but red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: There’s plenty of water in the rivers after a rainy stretch, but summertime fishing is in full swing. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway reports very good action for bream, bass and catfish. The Waccamaw, Little Pee Dee, Great Pee Dee and Ricefields are all producing good catches of bream with fish hitting crickets and worms in 1-4 feet of water. “The bream I’ve been seeing are nice,” said Stalvey. Bass are in the early or late mode with surface water temperatures at 80 degrees and up, with top-water lures working well. Stalvey also suggests spinner baits, buzz baits, frogs, Bang-O-Lures, Baby Brush Hogs and crawfish imitations. Stalvey suggests fresh cut eel for catfish but frozen shad is also a good option.

15th annual Rotary Flounder Tournament

June 9, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on 15th annual Rotary Flounder Tournament

Brunson Miller, Dennis Lee Smith and Chase Limehouse show off the 7.25-pound, 26.5-inch flounder that won the 15th annual Rotary Flounder Tournament last Saturday at Crazy Sister Marina. Submitted photo
How timing proved impeccable and fruitful for these Murrells Inlet fishing buddies

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

June 08, 2018 05:48 PM

Any time is a good time to catch a doormat, but the timing was absolutely impeccable for a trio of Murrells Inlet fishing buddies competing in the 2018 Murrells Inlet Rotary Flounder Tournament.

The trio of Chase Limehouse, Brunson Miller and Dennis Lee Smith weighed in a 7.25-pound, 26.5-inch flounder to win the 15th annual tournament and about $1,600 in prize money last Saturday at Crazy Sister Marina.

The trio started their day by securing six dozen mud minnows from Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet, and then headed out on Limehouse’s 16-foot High Tide.

Smith noted they were trolling the mud minnows on “double-hook, old-timer rigs, with a few adjustments.”
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They were working a very popular spot on the north end of the inlet, when fate intervened and they realized they had hooked up with a huge flounder – a doormat – that was now at boatside.

“The first thought was ‘Get it in the boat,’ ” said Smith. “The next reaction was ‘You probably won’t ever see another one like that fishing with a rod and reel.’ It was once in a lifetime, especially fishing in a tournament. It was about as good a timing as you can get.”

The trio are frequent competitors in the two major flounder tournaments in the inlet – the Rotary event and the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers event in April.

“We’ve been fishing in them for six years now and we’re usually right there at the top,” said Smith. “We’ve come close in a lot of them. It was nice to win one.”

Bill Blakely finished second with a three-fish aggregate of 8.14 pounds, followed by Chris Stanley with a 3.61-pounder.

Michael Stutts was fourth with a 3.4-pounder and Coleman Bess fifth with a 3.27-pounder.

Ava Heise was the top Lady Angler with a 2.28-pounder. Ethan Schamuse was the top Youth Angler with a 1.95-pounder, Pheonix Brunko was second with a 1.66-pounder followed by Breanna Williford with a 1.25-pounder.

The proceeds from the tournament benefit community service projects supported by the Murrells Inlet Rotary, which hosts the tournament.
CCA Oyster Recycling Project

The local Waccamaw Chapter of Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina will continue an ongoing oyster reef enhancement project in Murrells Inlet on Tuesday.

The group of volunteers will place oyster shell on a site adjacent to Crazy Sister Marina in an area that sees heavy boat traffic. This is the fourth time the group has placed used oyster shell on the site.

Volunteers are encouraged to help with the latest oyster reef enhancement event. The group will meet Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. at the Murrells Inlet public boat ramp, with the event lasting until approximately 3:30 p.m.

For more information on assisting with the event, contact Chris Hawley at 843-455-0371.

The project is a continuation of a cooperative program between CCA SC and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ SCORE (South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement) program.

Through 2017, the partnership has resulted in nearly 36,000 bushels of oyster shells used to construct or enhance 52 oyster reef sites in South Carolina estuary waters.

The new reefs are composed of primarily recycled South Carolina oyster shell, which is provided by restaurants and private citizens, mainly at shell drop-off sites located along the coast and inland as well.

The shell is natural material for spat, or oyster larvae, to attach to, thus creating new oysters. The reefs are created at strategic locations where new oyster beds are needed along the shoreline, to prevent erosion and create new oyster reef habitat.