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Warmer than normal waters change fishing

November 9, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Warmer than normal waters change fishing


Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters shows off a huge hogfish caught on Wednesday during an offshore trip out of Murrells Inlet. Submitted photo
Outdoors
Grand Strand Fishing Report: “Bait-stealing critters” lingering with warm water temps

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

November 08, 2018 05:51 PM

Updated November 08, 2018 06:10 PM
Estuary

Look For: Spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, flounder, sheepshead.

Comments: It’s just a little warm for early November, says Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions in Murrells Inlet, although colder weather is on the way. Connolly has noted a water temperature in the upper 60s, when lower 60s would be considered closer to normal. “It’s been a little strange for this time of year,” said Connolly. “It’s a higher water temperature than normal, and that’s keeping the bait-stealing critters around.” That has also kept more finger mullet around than usual, and that’s good news. “If you want to catch an inshore slam of nice keepers, getting your hands on some live finger mullet is the way to go,” Connolly said. On a Wednesday trip, Connolly’s crew used mullet to catch several trout, flounder and two upper slot red drum, plus used a combination of shrimp and fiddler crabs to catch four keepers out of eight black drum. Connolly notes that floating live shrimp will also produce fish, especially trout. “With live shrimp on a float, you’ll catch 90 percent dinks and 10 percent keepers,” said Connolly. Artificials such as Z-Man paddle tail Swimbaits, Vudu shrimp, DOA shrimp and Trout Trick will also work for trout.
Inshore

Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, red drum, bluefish, spadefish, sheepshead, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
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Comments: King mackerel action has slowed near the beach except, perhaps, a few large loner kings. Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters recommends heading to live-bottom areas and ledges in 50-60 feet of water to find schooling kings. The water temperature is about to take a major plunge in the next week, meaning action for black sea bass (13-inch minimum size limit ) will be good on bottom spots from three to 15 miles out in 30-50 feet of water. Near-shore bottom spots are holding weakfish, whiting, flounder and perhaps bull red drum. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports a good run of spots occurred on the pier from Friday through Sunday, with most of the fish being small. Apache Pier also reported a spot run last weekend. The piers are producing a mix of whiting, pompano, black drum, red drum, flounder, bluefish and a few Spanish mackerel. Wallace reported a water temperature of 69 degrees Thursday afternoon.
Offshore

Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, dolphin, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters headed offshore in his 30-foot Sea Hunt on Wednesday with wahoo on the brain. Carey tried high-speed trolling and meat trolling, but didn’t get a wahoo bite in the vicinity of the Georgetown Hole in 75-degree water. Carey and crew did land six blackfin tuna. “The water is still on the dirty side out there,” said Carey. “That water’s got to get bluer.” Carey and crew did hit the bottom and had a very good catch of standard reef species such as vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish and porgy. The highlight of the day was four hogfish, including a huge 19-pounder that hit a secret bait. They also caught three red snapper, including one in the 15-pound range. Of course, red snapper cannot be harvested in the South Atlantic Region and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: After the worst flooding in the history of the Waccamaw River, there are finally signs of life. “We’re starting to see a little life – bream, crappie, bass and catfish,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle. The lower end of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, in the Ricefields vicinity, has produced some fish this week. Anglers are urged to limit the number of fish harvested until the full extent of the fish kill caused by Hurricane Florence’s flooding can be determined. Further upstream, the situation is dire. Stalvey noted a bass tournament was held on the Waccamaw River in the Conway vicinity and there were no bass caught by the field. “Nobody’s fishing up there on the Waccamaw near Conway,” said Stalvey. The Waccamaw was at 8.61 feet at 3:15 p.m. Thursday at Conway and making good tides. The Little Pee Dee River was still high, at 7.67 feet at 4 p.m. Thursday at Galivants Ferry.

Fall Brawl results

November 3, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Fall Brawl results

Custom outdoor furniture Dan Mason and Mark Hewett of Gone Again display the winning 40.45-pound king mackerel in the Fall Brawl out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., on Sunday. Submitted photo
Outdoors
‘We had to run her down twice’: How this crew hauled in a large king, double victory

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

November 02, 2018 04:48 PM

Updated November 02, 2018 04:48 PM

After a quick catch and run back to the weigh-in station, Dan Mason and Mark Hewett were gone again aboard Mason’s 25-foot Contender, Gone Again, early Sunday on the final day of fishing in the Ocean Isle Fishing Center’s Fall Brawl King Mackerel Tournament.

The duo caught a medium-size king mackerel around 10 a.m. just a few miles off the beach near the Shallotte Ledge, and decided to run in and cash in on the Speedy King award, $500 given to the first boat to weigh in a king on the day.

After earning the $500 with a 14.40-pounder, they headed back out to the ledge to continue slow-trolling menhaden in hopes of hooking up with a smoker king.

At that point, the 14.40-pounder was also leading the tournament, as only 10 boats of the 161-boat field had fished on Saturday, the first day of fishing in the tournament, with only one fish weighed in.
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That afternoon, their wish came true when the medium long line went off. The duo immediately knew they had a good fish.

“She pretty much spooled us,” said Mason. “We had to turn the boat and go after her pretty quick. We had to run her down twice. We had to go chase that 400 yards of line twice.”

Hewett, the fire chief of the Civietown Fire Department, served as angler and battled the fish for nearly 30 minutes through the two runs before Mason left the wheel to apply the gaff and pull it into the boat.

“There was a lot of whooping and hollering and hugging for sure,” said Mason. “Everybody around us knew we had a good one. There were probably 15-20 boats around us.”

After another quick run to the OIFC, Mason and Hewett saw they were still atop the leaderboard. They promptly knocked themselves out of first place with the 40.45-pounder.

As the weigh-in wore on through the afternoon, the duo from Supply, N.C., remained in first place and went home the winners.

For Brent Gainey and crew aboard Miller Time, it was nearly back-to-back victories in king tournaments on both sides of the Carolina state line.

The previous weekend, Miller Time won the Rumble in the Jungle King Mackerel Tournament out of Little River with a 43.8-pound king caught offshore of the Apache Pier.

This time, the Miller Time crew headed south again and landed a 38.35-pound king, just 2.10 pounds behind Gone Again’s winning fish and good for second place.

“We got close, but I was tickled to death to finish second,” said Gainey. “We had a couple of fortunate weekends in a row. The good Lord was looking out for us I reckon.”

Gainey and a three-man crew including his dad, Randy, ran all the way to just south of Murrells Inlet to catch bait and settled in on a hard-bottom area just offshore of Garden City Beach to slow-troll the menhaden.

“We caught a 20-pounder and there wasn’t much action on the radio, so that solidified that we needed to stay there,” said Gainey. “We found a little spot a little further offshore and had a doubleheader.”

Jason McDowell and Ryan Wiggins grabbed the rods, and the chaos ensued. McDowell worked his fish to the boat first and a 25-pound class king came aboard.

A few minutes later, Wiggins worked his fish close to the boat, but the water clarity remained poor that close to the beach.

“We never got a look at it until it was 15 feet from the boat,” said Gainey. “I saw it and said ‘That’s the one we we’re looking for right there.’ We got her in the boat and we were happy as we could be.”

The first- and second-place finishes in the two tournaments left the Miller Time team in first place in the Kingfish Cup, a series of four area tournaments organized by the McMullan family of the OIFC.

The Gaineys and company are the team to beat, essentially the No. 1 seed, in the Kingfish Cup championship, which is currently being plagued by the latest cold front in Ocracoke, N.C.

The championship was originally scheduled to be a two-day event, Friday and Saturday, with each competing team able to weigh their largest king mackerel each day for a two-fish aggregate.

Capt. Brant McMullan, contacted Thursday afternoon, said the event is on hold and will now have a one-day, two-fish format.

“Sunday or Monday seems most likely,” said McMullan.

For more information, visit www.OIFC.com and www.KingfishCup.com.
Perry’s Benefit

The 2nd Annual Perry’s Benefit will be staged at Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet on Nov. 10.

The proceeds of the event will be split between the Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown County and Jessica Hill-Doehner’s reef fund.

The event, scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., will feature barbecue provided by Smokin’ Sumthin’ BBQ, live music, a silent auction featuring donated charter fishing trips, and raffle tickets.

Guest speakers will include Sen. Stephen Goldfinch and Vicki Bourus, Co-Executive Director of the Family Justice Center.

The stated goals of the benefit are to support victims of domestic violence and establish an artificial reef off Murrells Inlet to honor the late Hill-Doehner.

Donations also can be made at Perry’s Bait and Tackle, located at 3965 Hwy. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, SC, 29576. Call 843-651-2896 for more information.

Sea Trout Active

November 2, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Sea Trout Active


Charlie Nash of Garden City Beach holds a spotted seatrout he caught. Action for the fish is heating up in local estuaries. Gregg Holshouser For The Sun News
Outdoors
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Seatrout an active species in cooling water temperatures

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

November 01, 2018 06:09 PM

Updated November 01, 2018 06:11 PM
Estuary

Look For: Spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, flounder, sheepshead.

Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters has had a solid week fishing the creeks and jetties of the Little River area. “We’ve been catching a little bit of everything,” said Kelly. “Lots of black drum and trout, some red drum and flounder.” Kelly says the biggest numbers caught have been spotted seatrout which have a 14-inch minimum size limit. “There have been a lot of shorts, but I found some nice keepers (Thursday),” Kelly said. Kelly has used Vudu shrimp, Berkeley Gulp shrimp and live shrimp to catch the trout, both on jig heads on the bottom and under popping corks. The Little River jetties are producing bull red drum and trout, along with black drum and sheepshead. “It seems like the bigger trout are at the jetty rocks,” said Kelly, who noted a water temperature of 67-68 degrees. Kelly is hosting the second annual Inshore Slam and Festival Saturday out of Cricket Cove Marina. The Captains Meeting is Friday at 6 p.m. For more information call Kelly at 843-361-7445. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a solid day Wednesday on the lower end of Winyah Bay. McDonald and his fishing partner caught 35 fish on cut shrimp, including plenty of black drum, along with trout, red drum and a few large spots. “We kept 10 black drum, we didn’t target the reds but there were a few mixed in there together,” said McDonald, who also noted a water temperature of 67-68 degrees. The trout bite is on in Murrells Inlet, too. “The trout bite has been on fire,” said Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters. “We’re seeing a lot of 13 to barely 14 inch fish. We have just slayed them the last two weeks on plastics and floating live shrimp.” The inlet is also holding a good number of black drum, plus red drum and flounder.
Inshore

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

Comments: Wood reports a water temperature of 68 degrees in the inshore waters near the beach. “That’s my target temperature for Spanish and kings,” said Wood. “I saw Spanish and blues out there Wednesday.” Bull red drum continue to be found on hard bottom areas within a few miles of the beach. “The big reds are still running but they’re moving around a little,” Wood said. “They’re not at the automatic spots.” The same hard-bottom areas continue to hold good numbers of weakfish. “I’ve caught them 100 yards off the beach and three miles off the beach,” said Wood. With the water temperature down into the 60s, black sea bass numbers are increasing on bottom spots from 3 to 15 miles out in 30-50 feet of water, including some keepers over the 13-inch minimum size limit. King mackerel action has slowed a bit along the beach this week, but Grand Strand piers are producing scattered catches of whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, red drum, blues, Spanish mackerel and flounder, with a few brief spot runs reported.

Offshore

Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, dolphin, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: Another weekend, another cold front as a Gale Warning was in effect for the offshore waters as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The window of opportunity this week was Wednesday, when beautiful, calm seas allowed boats to get out. Fall is an excellent time for wahoo action along the offshore ledges, and Capt. Ryan Powers and crew aboard Fear Knot found them Wednesday in 160 to 230 feet of water. Powers trolled near the McMarlen Ledge and the Winyah Scarp, and produced three wahoo including a 58-pounder plus one dolphin. “There was a good bit of life, and the big one hit on the planer,” said Powers. Blackfin tuna and king mackerel are also available for trolling boats. Bottom fishing is fantastic for grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, amberjack, red porgy and white grunts. Red snapper must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: Another heavy dose of rain from the remnants of Pacific Hurricane Willa has brought another rise to local rivers, another blow to homeowners trying to recover from the flooding of Hurricane Florence. Fishing is practically non-existent on the freshwater scene. “Everything’s pitiful,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “I’ve had little to none (fishermen going). There’s been some pond fishing and that’s it. Everybody’s scared to mess with the freshwater.”