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Megadock Billfishing Tournament held

July 8, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Megadock Billfishing Tournament held

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Blue Sky, owned by Greg Smith of Pawleys Island, is the leader after two days of the Megadock Billfishing Tournament held this weekend out of Charleston City Marina. Cameron Rhodes South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
July 07, 2017 6:37 PM
Local entry Blue Sky gets off to good start in Megadock Billfishing Tournament

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

A little field of boats found plenty of billfish action during the first two days of fishing in the Megadock Billfishing Tournament out of Charleston City Marina.

The tournament is the fourth of five legs in the 2017 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series.

A surprisingly small field of 19 boats, perhaps due to a sporty marine forecast, released 57 sailfish and 10 blue marlin Thursday and Friday. Twelve of the boats fished both days, leaving seven boats to head out for the final day of fishing on Saturday.

In a field dominated by Charleston-area boats, a Pawleys Island/Georgetown-based entry sat atop the leaderboard after Friday’s offshore action.

Owned by Greg Smith of Pawleys Island, Blue Sky turned in two superb days of fishing to take the unofficial lead with 2,600 points.

On Thursday the Blue Sky crew released one blue marlin (600 points) and four sailfish (200 points each) to compile 1,400 points. On Friday, it was a sailfish bonanza as Blue Sky released six for 1,200 more points.

Gryphon, the Governor’s Cup leader heading into the tournament with 3,675 points, was in second place with 2,200 points. Hammertime was third with 1,800 points.

The final tournament in the series is the Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament, set for July 19-22.
CATT Event

The father-son duo of Timmy and River Squires won the Carolina Anglers Team Trail (CATT) Waccamaw River Summer Qualifier No. 3 last Saturday out of Bucksport Marina.

The Squires weighed in a hefty five-bass limit of 16.72 pounds to earn over $2,100 in the tournament.

The Squires’ big fish was a 5.04-pounder which hit a floating white worm in the Kingston Lake area off the Waccamaw River in Conway said River Squires, an 18-year-old 2017 graduate of Conway High School.

Second place went to Eric Freeman and Cal Marsh with an aggregate of 13.47 pounds. Freeman caught the big fish of the tournament, a 6.20-pounder.

Ronnie Watts and Kevin Pridgen were third with 12.90 pounds followed by Lucas Williams and Charles Purvis in fourth with 12.38 pounds.
Conway Bassmasters Tournament

The Conway Bassmasters Annual River Fest Bass Tournament will be held Saturday out of Bucksport Marina.

Entry fee is $120 per two-person team, with one adult (18 years or older) required to be on each boat. Guaranteed first-place prize money is $1,400. For more information, call Chris Jones at 843-333-8010.

Fishing affected by the heat

July 7, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Fishing affected by the heat

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Fishermen line the public fishing dock at Cherry Grove Park at 53rd Avenue North in North Myrtle Beach. JASON LEE
July 06, 2017 6:31 PM
Sweltering heat, rough seas make fishing hard to come by on area estuaries, inshore

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News


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

Comments: “It’s been a little slow, I think the heat and humidity has slowed the bite down,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Charters in Little River. “We’re still catching fish but we’re not getting the same size or numbers.” Kelly continues to target spotted seatrout on top-water lures at daybreak with some success. Later in the day, it’s been black drum, small trout and a few slot red drum hitting finger mullet, shrimp and Berkely Gulp baits. “There’s a lot of pinfish, a lot of bait stealers out there,” said Kelly. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a solid trip on Wednesday in the Winyah Bay vicinity. McDonald’s crew caught 12 red drum, six black drum and four spotted seatrout while floating cut shrimp on grass banks and on oyster beds. McDonald noted a balmy water temperature in the mid-to-upper 80s Wednesday and Thursday. Anglers are reminded South Carolina’s new flounder limits are in effect, with a minimum size limit of 15 inches, a daily bag limit of 10 fish per person and a daily boat limit of 20.

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

Comments: It’s been a windy and rough week, not exactly what anglers were looking for during the week of the Fourth of July. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters out of Murrells Inlet found a good flounder bite on Paradise Reef, located three miles east of the inlet, early in the week. “Since then it’s been few and far between,” said Maples. Maples has also found weakfish and mainly undersized black sea bass (13-inch minimum size) on the reef in 3- to 5-foot seas. “It was doable but I didn’t want to go any further out,” Maples said. It’s been a week of heavy surf and muddy water along the beach, meaning scattered catches on Grand Strand piers. Scott Skrzydlinski of Cherry Grove Pier reports decent catches of black drum, whiting and croaker but very few blues and Spanish mackerel thanks to the muddy conditions. Skrzydlinski has also seen catches of small pompano and spadefish. The ocean water temperature at Cherry Grove Pier was 80 degrees on the surface at 4:50 p.m. Thursday, and 78 degrees on the bottom.

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

Comments: Bottom fishing is very good on bottom spots in depths of 90 feet and beyond, headed by vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, amberjack and grouper. Scamp and gag are the most common grouper species encountered. King mackerel can be found literally anywhere there is bait from the beach to the Gulf Stream, but the best bet is on spots in depths of 50-70 feet. Sailfish action is at a peak in the vicinity of the Gulf Stream, but don’t be surprised to find sails 35-40 miles out in areas such as the Parking Lot. There have been scattered catches of blackfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo by trolling boats. Anglers should be aware that cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Also, red snapper must be released in the South Atlantic region.

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.

Comments: The river levels are very good, with the Waccamaw at Conway reading 7.01 feet at 3:15 p.m. Thursday while the Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was at 5.88 at 3 p.m. “The rivers look very good,” said Ronald ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “I’m seeing a lot, a lot, of fish. Bream still, and a lot of catfish.” Most anglers are floating crickets along the banks in 1-4 feet of water for bream. Catfish will hit a variety of baits including black salties, cut eel, cut shad and cut mullet. The heat is on temperature-wise, so bass action is best early and late in the day.

New law on flounder in effect Sunday

July 1, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on New law on flounder in effect Sunday

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On Saturday, a new law will go into effect that increases the flounder minimum size limit one inch to 15 inches and decreases the daily bag limits to 10 per person and 20 per boat. Amanda McCoy Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald
June 30, 2017 7:04 PM
An important law you need to know when fishing for flounder from here on out

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

Saturday is the day that will provide some semblance of relief for South Carolina’s beleaguered population of flounder.

Hounded by hook-and-line anglers by day and giggers by night, there is arguably more pressure on flounder than any other species that inhabits salt-water estuaries in the Palmetto State, especially in Horry and Georgetown counties.

Even when flounder move to near-shore reefs in the Atlantic Ocean to spawn, the species is greeted by the same hook-and-line crowd from above the surface and spear fishermen below the surface.

The number of anglers is intimidating – in 2016 well over 400,000 people had some sort of saltwater fishing license for South Carolina waters.

On Saturday, a new law will go into effect that increases the flounder minimum size limit one inch to 15 inches and decreases the daily bag limits to 10 per person and 20 per boat.

South Carolina’s old limits were a 14-inch minimum size limit and daily bag limits of 15 per person and 30 per boat.

“I think that’s fantastic,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River.

Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina teamed with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to get the changes in flounder limits in motion during the recently completed legislative session.

“The Coastal Conservation Association came to S.C. DNR a couple of years ago with concerns about the state’s flounder population – just as S.C. DNR scientists were examining survey data that indicated the flounder population was in decline,” said David Whitaker, assistant deputy director of the agency’s Marine Resources Division. “We’ve been working since then to develop recommendations for the legislature to address the decline in the state’s flounder population.”

In the end, the bill easily passed the S.C. Legislature, including a rare unanimous 108-0 vote by the House of Representatives, before Gov. Henry McMaster signed it into law on May 19.

The minimum size limit for flounder has long been 15 inches in North Carolina waters, which makes life a little easier for Kelly.

“We fish in both states, and now that makes it easier coming and going in the two states with the same size limit,” said Kelly. “(In the past), if you caught a 14-inch (flounder), you had to stay in South Carolina.”

With both states having the same minimum size limit, anglers will no longer have a reason to head south from the Tar Heel State to take advantage of a smaller size limit in South Carolina waters.

According to Mel Bell, Director of S.C. DNR’s Office of Fisheries Management, female flounder first mature at 14 inches and begin substantially contributing to the spawn at 15 inches.

S.C. DNR officials are optimistic the new limits will substantially reduce the total number of flounder removed from the population annually.

“Our assessment of the new limits indicates that about 30 percent fewer fish will be taken in the first year or two,” said Whitaker. “But with time, we hope the population grows and that total catch will increase as more spawners are available to provide more young fish.”
Governor’s Cup

The third leg of the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series concluded last weekend with the Carolina Billfish Classic at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina.

“The fishing was phenomenal,” said Amy Dukes, coordinator of the Governor’s Cup for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. “We had excellent effort, with more than two fish (released) per boat.”

The field of 38 boats accounted for 88 released billfish, including 78 sailfish, nine blue marlin and one white marlin. The tournament also was reduced to a two-day event thanks to a Small-Craft Advisory last Saturday.

Toast, a 57-foot Dean Johnson out of Ocean Reef, Fla., had an incredible two days of fishing, releasing two blue marlin and seven sailfish to claim the win.

Ron Martin owns Toast, which is captained by Charleston native Newt Cagle.

Series regular Micabe, out of Ripley Light Marina in Charleston, was second after releasing one blue marlin and five sailfish. Palmetto Guard, also out of Ripley Light Marina, finished third, releasing two blue marlin and one sailfish.

Sportsmann weighed in the largest dolphin, a 44.9-pounder, High Maintenance caught the largest tuna, a 25.0-pound blackfin and Home Run landed the largest wahoo, a 29.7-pounder.

Hope Bentley of Home Run released one blue marlin and three sailfish to earn Lady Angler honors. Chandler Griffin of Gryphon was the leading Junior Angler, releasing five sailfish.

Gryphon leads the Governor’s Cup standings after three events with 3,675 points followed by Toast with 2,625 and Chasin third with 2,450.

The fourth leg of the series is the MEGADOCK Billfishing Tournament, set for Wednesday through Saturday out of Charleston City Marina. The five-tournament series concludes with the Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament July 19-22
Conway Bassmasters Tournament

The Conway Bassmasters Annual River Fest Bass Tournament will be staged on July 8 out of Bucksport Marina.

Entry fee is $120 per two-person team, with one adult (18 years or older) required to be on each boat. Guaranteed first-place prize money is $1,400. For more information, call Chris Jones at 843-333-8010.