Call Us Monday - Saturday 9 am to 5 pm EST

843.353.2258

Category Archives: Live Great Outdoors Blog

Effects of cold weather linger

January 12, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Effects of cold weather linger

Swamps near Conway are covered with a sheet of ice last week in the wake of Winter Storm Grayson. Under the ice, the welfare of various fish species remains a concern. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews.com
Outdoors
Fishing report: Optimism, lots of cold water left in wake of historic Arctic blast

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
January 11, 2018 07:12 PM

Updated January 11, 2018 07:31 PM
Estuary

Look For: Red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, sheepshead, tautog.

Comments: Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions fished Murrells Inlet Tuesday and Wednesday and came back with good news for anglers concerned about impacts from the recent spate of cold weather. “I’ve not seen any dead or stunned fish, thank God,” said Connolly. “I think a lot of these fish made it out on the reef and are hugging on the reefs in 30 to 80 feet of water.” Connolly caught only red drum in the inlet, and hasn’t seen any spotted seatrout or black drum. As of Wednesday, the water temperature remained very cold. “The water’s still super cold,” Connolly said. “It was 40 degrees in the morning on a lower tide and when the tide came in it heated up a little bit to 43-44 (degrees).” The reds Connolly caught sluggishly ate cut shrimp and mud minnows fished on the bottom. Joseph C. Ballenger, assistant marine scientist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), reports the only dead fish found from Georgetown to Little River were mullet and menhaden on the north end of the Grand Strand near the beginning of the cold weather spell. Ballenger has received scattered reports from areas further south of dead red drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead and black drum along with menhaden and mullet. Ballenger notes small brackish water impoundments have been hit especially hard. Anglers are encouraged to release any spotted seatrout caught this winter.
Inshore

Look For: Black sea bass, weakfish, tautog, sheepshead, flounder, whiting, croaker, black drum.

Comments: The ocean water remains very cold, as Steve Gann of Cherry Grove Pier reported a reading of 45 degrees Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Gann says a few whiting and perch were caught earlier in the week, but nothing in the last few days. Anglers have been scarce, too. In early January, Gann reports two spotted hake were caught off the pier. The members of the cod family are usually found more to the north and rarely encountered in South Carolina waters. For the rest of the winter, the best bet in the inshore waters will be black sea bass on near-shore artificial reefs. Anglers are reminded black sea bass have a 13-inch minimum size limit with a daily bag limit of seven per person. Weakfish, tautog, sheepshead and flounder are also possibilities on the reefs.
Offshore

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

Comments: Mid-Town Bistro owner Jeff Martini and his crazy crew aboard Dirty Martini headed out from Little River to see what fishing held in store on the heels of the historic Arctic blast. Trolling in the vicinity of the Winyah Scarp and McMarlen Ledge, the crew was hoping for a solid wahoo bite but found only amberjack and king mackerel. Martini noted another boat trolling in the vicinity caught a few blackfin tuna and, surprisingly, released several sailfish. The Dirty Martini hit the bottom further offshore and caught a commercial 200-pound limit of snowy grouper. When conditions allow, bottom fishing is good for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy and grunts. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect through April 30. The Greater Amberjack Fishery is closed for recreational anglers until March. Red snapper are closed in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Crappie, bream, bass, catfish.

Comments: Even with a few warm days this week, the cold water isn’t going away soon. “The water’s still frozen in a lot of places, in the creeks and the coves,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Places like Kingston Lake and Cox Ferry Lake, there’s still ice all the way across.” Angler activity has been at a minimum also. “I’ve had a handful of people go,” said Stalvey, who reports good catches of crappie on minnows in the Ricefields and Samworth WMA area. With some ice still on the edges and in the swamps, bass action has been slow. “I’ve had one person tell me he caught five (bass), barely keepers,” said Stalvey. “It’s been tough, tough fishing.”

Cold weather harming fish species

January 6, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Cold weather harming fish species


An inlet marsh in North Myrtle Beach was frozen as a result of Winter Storm Grayson on Wednesday. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews.com
Outdoors
Prolonged period of cold weather likely wreaking havoc on these species of fish

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

January 05, 2018 05:13 PM

UPDATED January 05, 2018 07:14 PM

The cold spell the Carolina coast has been under since the day after Christmas, culminating in a layer of ice and snow left behind by Winter Storm Grayson on Wednesday, is likely having a deadly impact on the population of spotted seatrout.

With ice forming in local marshes, the water temperature has taken a drastic plunge, which spells big trouble for the saltwater species of trout, and potentially red drum.

Spotted seatrout become lethargic and potentially die when the water temperature is below 45 degrees for a prolonged period of time, and the area is in what the National Weather Service terms a “long duration extreme cold event.”

Over the 10-day stretch from Dec. 26 through Jan. 4, the high temperature reached only 50 degrees on one day (Dec. 30) according to National Weather Service daily weather data for North Myrtle Beach, and five of those days the high stayed in the 30s.
Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more.

Through Thursday night-Friday morning, the low temperature had been below freezing for eight straight days, all but one in the 20s or upper teens.

And the well-below-normal cold isn’t over yet. The temperature isn’t expected to get above 40 degrees until Monday, when a high in the mid-50s is forecast.

On Friday afternoon, Capt. Jerry Condenzio, Jr. of Capt. Crumb’s Outpost in Myrtle Beach reported a water temperature of 41 degrees in Murrells Inlet.

At the Customs House on Charleston Harbor, the water temperature dropped to 42 degrees on Friday morning and at Pawleys Island’s Hagley Landing, located just north of Winyah Bay on the Waccamaw River, the water temperature dipped to 38 degrees.

“The fish were biting good before this,” said Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions in Murrells Inlet. “I don’t know what’s going on out there now.”

North Carolina quickly announced a closure of spotted seatrout for all anglers, both recreational and commercial. Beginning Friday at 3 p.m., it became unlawful to possess, transport, buy, sell or offer for sale spotted seatrout taken from coastal and joint fishing waters of North Carolina until the fishery re-opens on June 15.

The closure was implemented by a proclamation by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF).

“The public is asked to not target (trout in South Carolina waters),” said Wallace Jenkins of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Division in Charleston. “They (NCDMF) have proclamation authority, we don’t have that. We know that temperature reading from the Customs House is pretty serious. That’s pretty hard on the trout.”

Jenkins has observed salt marsh areas in the aftermath of the storm, which dumped a historic 5 inches of snow in the Charleston vicinity.

“The marsh was covered with snow at low tide,” said Jenkins. “When the water comes back in, it’s like slushy super-chilled water. I’m sure they’re not doing well. We don’t have any (trout) mortalities we can document. I’m sure we’ll be getting reports.

“Hopefully this hasn’t impacted the (red drum) because they already were not doing great but the trout will be impacted.”

Residents are urged to report any cold-stunned or dead fish to S.C. DNR’s Joseph Ballenger at ballengerj@dnr.sc.gov.

Extreme cold makes for poor fishing

January 5, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Extreme cold makes for poor fishing


Outdoors
Looking for a honey hole? Getting fish to bite could be tough until cold snap subsides

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

January 04, 2018 06:07 PM

UPDATED January 04, 2018 06:10 PM
Estuary

Look For: Red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, sheepshead, tautog.

Comments: Over the holidays, conditions in local estuaries went from autumn-like conditions with great fishing to concerns over spotted seatrout surviving the cold. A prolonged cold spell that will continue through the weekend has all but shut down fishing in local inlets, bays and sounds. North Carolina has announced a closure of spotted seatrout for all anglers, both recreational and commercial. Beginning Friday at 3 p.m., it is unlawful to possess, transport, buy, sell or offer for sale spotted seatrout taken from coastal and joint fishing waters of North Carolina until the fishery reopens on June 15. In South Carolina waters, spotted seatrout and red drum cannot be harvested by gig from December through February of each year.
Inshore
Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more.

Look For: Black sea bass, weakfish, tautog, sheepshead, flounder, whiting, croaker, black drum.

Comments: Ronnie Goodwin of Cherry Grove Pier reports anglers have been scarce during the cold blast, but he did have a group from Canada try their luck on Tuesday. “I think they caught one little croaker,” said Goodwin. “There’s not much going on, it’s been so cold.” Goodwin reported an ocean water temperature of 44 degrees surface and bottom on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. The best bet in the inshore waters is for black sea bass on near-shore artificial reefs. Black sea bass have a 13-inch minimum size limit with a daily bag limit of seven per person. Weakfish, tautog, sheepshead and flounder are also possibilities on the reefs.
Offshore

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

Comments: About a week before Christmas, on Dec. 17 to be exact, sea conditions were great offshore and trolling anglers took advantage by catching wahoo, blackfin tuna and even sailfish. On the bottom, some excellent catches of vermilion snapper, triggerfish, black sea bass, red porgy and white grunts were brought in. Since then, it’s been all downhill weather-wise as the Southeast has been in an arctic grip with windy and cold conditions. When the weather returns to normal, anglers will be able to pick their days and troll for wahoo and blackfin tuna, and find productive bottom fishing. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure went into effect on Jan. 1 and lasts through April 30. The Greater Amberjack Fishery is closed to harvest for recreational anglers until March 2018. Red snapper are closed in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Crappie, bream, bass, catfish.

Comments: Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle arrived at his tackle shop in a winter wonderland Thursday morning as the Conway area received three inches of snow from Winter Storm Grayson. Stalvey had some interesting observations. “I went by Savannah Bluff (just off Hwy. 501) and the cove was frozen on top,” said Stalvey. “Lake Busbee was half frozen over.” Not surprisingly, Stalvey has received reports of sub-40 degree water temperatures in local rivers. The last real fishing report Stalvey received was a limit of bream caught lead-lining on Christmas Eve, before the Arctic onslaught hit. For now, Stalvey has one tip for anglers willing to brave the cold and fish the rivers. “Find a deep hole, you find the honey hole,” he said.