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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The late Capt. Roger Gales shows off a hefty gag grouper. www.oifc.com
‘He was as local as they come’: Fishing community mourns loss of beloved captain
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
October 27, 2018 03:53 PM
There will be a big void in the years to come at Ocean Isle Fishing Center (OIFC) in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.
The McMullan family, which owns and operates the fishing center, are mourning the untimely death of Capt. Roger Gales, a well-rounded fisherman who made his mark at the OIFC and throughout Brunswick County.
Gales died of complications from lung cancer and pneumonia on Oct. 18 at the age of 48 and is survived by his wife, Darla, and daughter, Paisley, among others.
Gales was a native of Shallotte, N.C., a true local in the coastal area of Brunswick County.
“He was as local as they come,” said Capt. Brant McMullan of the OIFC.
Gales cut his teeth on the water working on shrimp boats, but when his sister, Amy, married Brant McMullan in 2000, his focus switched to offshore fishing with his new brother-in-law.
“Roger was always a water man,” said McMullan. “He had all the skills of handling boats and being on the water, he just needed me to point him in the right direction as far as the offshore stuff.”
After about four years working as a mate under the guidance of Capt. Brant, Gales earned his Captain’s License in 2005 and began operating a charter boat out of the OIFC.
Thus began the legacy of Capt. Roger.
Capt. Roger, who specialized in targeting wahoo and grouper, became well-known as a selfless, mischievous character, quick to share a laugh or lend fishing expertise.
His easy-going, helpful, hard-working nature endeared him to charter customers, co-workers and fellow fishermen alike.
For the last handful of years, Capt. Roger’s career on the water took another turn, as he worked on dredge boats and began operating Ollie Raja charters out of Holden Beach.
“He made the day-to-day grind of charter fishing a joy for all of those that worked around him,” McMullan wrote in a tribute to Gales on OIFC.com. “He mentored young fishermen as they followed his path through mating to becoming a captain. His fishing influence lives on through the dozens of fishermen he taught and helped guide to success.”
McMullan said that Gales’ illness arrived suddenly and unexpectedly.
“With all of Roger’s energy, it does make sense that he used up all his body’s battery life within half a life span — he operated at twice the normal speed of those around him,” McMullan wrote.
So full of life, full of energy and taken from this life too soon. May Capt. Roger rest in peace.
Funds have been set up to help Gales’ family financially, including an education fund for his daughter.
Donations or memorials may be sent to Captain Roger Legacy Fund, P. O. Box 895 Shallotte, NC 28459 or to www.gofundme.com/givelikecaptroger.
Brent Gainey and his Dad, Randy, of Miller Time show off the winning 43.8-pound king mackerel in the Rumble in the Jungle King Mackerel Tournament last Sunday. Submitted photo
‘It was a nice surprise for sure’: How this fishing crew guessed right, picked up win
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
October 26, 2018 06:07 PM
Updated October 26, 2018 06:09 PM
With a front rolling through on the weekend of the Rumble in the Jungle King Mackerel Tournament, Brent Gainey and crew aboard Miller Time had a choice — fish a stiff south-southwest wind on Saturday or a stiff north-northwest wind on Sunday.
Gainey and a three-man crew including his dad, Randy, chose Sunday, and the results show it was a good call.
The Miller Time team kept it close to the beach, with the mainland knocking down the wind, and landed a 43.8-pound king to win the tournament, one of four events in the Kingfish Cup.
A total of 157 boats fished the Rumble, held out of Captain Archies in North Myrtle Beach, with Doug Colacicco of Cicco I taking the early lead among the 89 boats that fished Saturday.
When the dust settled Sunday afternoon, Colacicco had finished second in his 21-foot boat with a 40.2-pound king followed by Robby Remson aboard Long Run in third with a 36-pounder.
Shane Moore aboard Clear Cut was fourth with a 34.8-pounder and James Hammonds aboard Big Chief won the Single-Engine Class with a 25.6-pounder.
“We usually have better luck on a north-northwest wind than south-southwest, and we figured it would be a little calmer tight on the beach where we wanted to fish,” said Gainey. “We were fishing on an east-facing beach, so we had a little cover from the northwest wind. There was a lot of wind chop but it wasn’t rough.”
That east-facing beach was off Horry County, more specifically just offshore of the Apache Pier.
The king mackerel bite has been even better than normal this fall off the beaches of Horry and Georgetown counties as the Cape Fear area has been inundated with floodwater from the Cape Fear River thanks to Hurricane Florence. The Apache Pier vicinity has been a hot spot.
The remaining 68 boats in the field fished on Sunday, including Miller Time, which is based out of Carolina Beach, N.C.
Leaving from Little River, Gainey and crew ran south all the way to Murrells Inlet looking for bait, specifically menhaden, or pogeys, but had trouble finding anything but threadfin herring, known as greenies.
They moved back to the area off Apache Pier, found menhaden and finally began fishing around 9 a.m.
“We were within a mile-and-a-half of the pier, we were just fishing on bait in about 30 feet of water,” said Gainey. “We had been fishing about 45 minutes when we got the bite.”
Jason McDowell, of Southport, N.C., was the angler on the fish.
“We fought it for a few minutes then it started making some crazy movements and ran straight for Wahooligans (a nearby boat),” recalled Gainey. “They’re awesome guys, and they got out of the way. It was a pretty short fight after that.”
With water clarity still poor, thanks to Florence’s flooding and the windy conditions, they couldn’t get a good look at the fish.
“We didn’t know it was a good fish until we got it close to the boat,” said Gainey. “It was a nice surprise for sure.”
With his dad running the boat and Ryan Wiggins handling the other lines, Gainey applied the gaff and, boom, the winning fish was lifted over the gunwale.
Later in the afternoon it was Miller time for the Miller Time crew, a name the senior Gainey has had for the family’s boats for over 40 years.
The Miller Time team is a mainstay in tournaments in southeast North Carolina and South Carolina, and has had plenty of success. The team has previously won the East Coast Got Em On King Mackerel Classic, Capt. Brant’s Fall Brawl King Mackerel Tournament, the South Brunswick Islands King Classic, and now the Rumble in the Jungle.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate,” said Gainey.
Last Saturday marked the season-opener for the Student Angler Tournament Trail out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown.
SALTT features divisions for red drum and largemouth bass, with middle and high school anglers competing against each other.
Despite windy weather, the competitors brought quality fish and limits to the weigh-in at the complex located on the Sampit River.
Dylan Skipper and Walker McKenzie of Andrews won the High School Redfish Division with two fish weighing 5.80 pounds, including the lunker of the division, a 3.96-pounder.
Devan Harrelson and Carson Watford of Georgetown Middle School won the Middle School Redfish Division with two fish weighing 5.93 pounds, including the lunker of the division, a 3.35-pounder.
Avery Williams of St. James singlehandedly won the High School Bass Division with a five-fish aggregate of 9.73 pounds. Georgetown’s Connor Strickland landed the lunker of the division, a 4.65-pounder.
Gavin Porter of Loris Middle School singlehandedly won the Middle School Bass Division with a five-fish aggregate of 8.80 pounds, including the lunker of the division, a 3.02 pounds.
SALTT events are all-release tournaments.
For more information visit www.SALTTFishing.com or call 843-902-4274.