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New Fishing Tour formed

February 2, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on New Fishing Tour formed

Submitted photo
New fishing tour formed on S.C. coast as future of Southern Kingfish Association unclear

By Gregg Holshouser
February 01, 2019 05:05 PM

With the future of the Southern Kingfish Association in doubt, another regional king mackerel tournament series is in the works, this one right here along the Palmetto State coast.

The operators of four tournaments from Murrells Inlet to Charleston have teamed to form the Palmetto Kingfish Tour, which will have its inaugural run later in 2019.

Two years ago, Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center coordinated the establishment of the Kingfish Cup, a series of four tournaments in southeastern North Carolina that left ties with the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) to form that series.

Now, three tournaments based out of Charleston and one in Murrells Inlet, which formerly were part of SKA’s Division 3, are establishing the new tour in South Carolina.

“Many of the divisions in SKA have gone off and done their own thing,” said Chris Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina. “That division just needed a spark. We’ve gotten a lot of (positive) feedback from anglers.”

The tour opens with the Lowcountry Open, with a tour kickoff event scheduled for June 27 followed by fishing on June 29 out of Ripley Light Yacht Club in Charleston.

Hooked on Miracles is next, set for July 13 also out of Ripley Light Yacht Club.

The third event is the James Island Yacht Club King Mackerel and Inshore Tournament, set for July 26-27.

Lawhon and Marlin Quay Marina in Murrells Inlet host the Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shootout, which will be held Sept. 6-7 and culminates the series.

Qualifying boats will be eligible to compete in the Palmetto Kingfish Tour Championship, which will be held Sept. 27-28 in the Charleston-Mount Pleasant area.

Competing boats will head to the James Island Yacht Club in the morning for checkout and return to the weigh station at Saltwater Cowboys on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant in the afternoon.

Palmetto Kingfish Tour Director Ty Holland said the series was in the works regardless of the future of the SKA.

“We were going to do this anyway,” said Holland. “It’s about taking four successful tournaments and making them into a series — trying to bring together under one roof four different tournaments, a tour and a championship.”

Holland noted that a Carolinas championship event could be in the future, with qualifiers from McMullan’s Kingfish Cup from the Tar Heel State competing against qualifiers from the Palmetto Kingfish Tour from the Palmetto State.

“We’ve been working with Brant, and our goal is for us to take what we can build down here and hopefully have a North vs. South championship eventually,” said Holland.

The Palmetto Kingfish Tour plans to be small boat-friendly, with entry levels of $500, $1,500 and $3,000, along with a single-engine division.

“We wanted to make it as affordable for the small guy as we can,” said Lawhon.

Holland added, “we’re trying to make sure the single engine angler has an incentive to fish the tour.”

Nothing official has been announced about the status of the SKA for the 2019 king mackerel tournament season.

The organization’s website stated “No Data Here Yet” under the schedule for all 10 divisions plus the National Championship.

The SKA originated in 1991 and helped firmly establish king mackerel tournament fishing throughout the southeast. The SKA coordinated tournaments from North Carolina to Louisiana and staged a tour championship through 2018.

For more information on the Palmetto Kingfish Tour, email info@thelowcountryopen.com, call 703-231-6275 or visit www.facebook.com/Palmettokingfishtour/.

Seatrout and red drum active

February 1, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Seatrout and red drum active

Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters shows off a red drum he caught Tuesday in the Little River vicinity. Photo courtesy of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Seatrout and red drum are active in area waters

By Gregg Holshouser

January 31, 2019 04:52 PM,

Estuary

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

Comments: Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions was targeting red drum and black drum Tuesday in the creeks of Murrells Inlet, but had a surprise when he hit his fishing spot. “We stumbled across a big school of trout in a redfish hole,” said Connolly. “We were fishing one of my drum spots because it was dead low tide. We had a dead piece of shrimp on the bottom fishing for drum, and my guy caught a 22 1/2-inch trout. We put live shrimp under floats, and caught a trout every throw back. Every trout was 17-23 inches.” Connolly said the jetties are producing trout, red drum and black drum, with tautog a possibility. “I think the sheepshead are starting to work their way offshore,” said Connolly. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters found trout and reds receptive on a Tuesday trip, hitting shallow spots in the Little River vicinity. “We had a great trip using live mud minnows, DOA shrimp (chartreuse) and Gulp Shrimp (white with chartreuse tail),” said Kelly, who noted a water temperature of 46-48 degrees. “(The tide was) low to rising around midday – that’s what we like this time of year.”
Inshore

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

Comments: Look for sheepshead along with black drum on nearshore artificial reefs such as Paradise, Pawleys, Jim Caudle and Ron McManus. Fiddler crabs and clams are the best bet to entice bites from sheepshead, along with black drum, which will also take shrimp. Black sea bass, weakfish, tautog and flounder are also possibilities on the reefs. Lynn Galloway of Apache Pier reported a water temperature of 51 degrees on the surface and bottom Wednesday morning. Galloway noted anglers caught whiting and croaker this week, plus one trout, from the pier.
Offshore

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

Comments: On favorable weather days, trolling has been productive offshore for wahoo and blackfin tuna in the vicinity of spots such as the Georgetown Hole, Winyah Scarp and The Steeples. Numerous closures are in effect for reef species in South Atlantic waters. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure is in effect through the month of April and includes gag grouper, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney. Greater amberjack is closed until March 1, and deep-water blueline tilefish and snowy grouper are closed until May 1. Red snapper are also off-limits indefinitely and must be released. Anglers can target and harvest vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, red porgy and grunts.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: The Waccamaw River is finally down to a reasonable level for fishermen, and some have reaped the benefits over the past week. “There’s a bunch of nice fish being caught on the Waccaamw between Conway and Bucksport,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “They’re lead-lining with red worms for bream.” Stalvey notes the Ricefields area has produced good catches of bream, crappie and catfish. Stalvey also reported good news in the form of bream catches in the Red Bluff and Reaves Ferry areas on the Waccamaw, where the fish kill was “pretty bad” during the recent flooding. Stalvey reports the fish he has seen have been healthy. “The fish that are being caught are very healthy – big, nice bream,” said Stalvey. “I’m glad to see that. You can tell the fish have been eating good.”

Seatrout catch defies cold weather

January 25, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Seatrout catch defies cold weather

Photo courtesy O-Fish-Al Expeditions
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Trout, reds remain active after coldest weather of winter

By Gregg Holshouser
January 24, 2019 06:50 PM,

Estuary

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

Comments: The coldest weather of the winter rolled through early this week, but it wasn’t enough to halt the action of spotted seatrout. Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions in Murrells Inlet found trout receptive on Wednesday at the jetties and in the creeks. Connolly was fishing with Jeff Bogdanski of Pawleys Island along with Mike Kachman of YAK Outdoor Guides, and the trio hit the jetties first. “As soon as we started fishing, we started catching fish,” said Connolly. “We got pushed back into the creeks (by rough conditions) and we caught fish there but they were small. There are definitely still plenty of fish around. That cold snap didn’t seem to have any effect.” Connolly, who noted an early water temperature of 48 degrees and 50 in the afternoon, had one definite suggestion for bait. “Live shrimp is the way to go if you can get your hands on them,” said Connolly, who also reported black drum and red drum are hitting dead shrimp fished on the bottom in the creeks. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service found trout receptive last Saturday before the cold weather moved in, fishing in the Winyah Bay vicinity. “We caught a bunch of little trout, a lot of them right on the verge of being keepers,” said McDonald, who used soft plastics to catch them. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters had success with red drum on both Sunday and Wednesday in the Little River vicinity. On Sunday, Kelly and company floated live mullet at the jetties to entice the reds. Then on Wednesday, the reds were cooperative on the low tide. “The reds are in super shallow water right now,” said Kelly. “They’re in puddles trying to get away from not only fishermen, but dolphin. They are on high alert.”
Inshore

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

Comments: This week has either been cold and windy or just plain windy, limiting opportunities for anglers to get to the near-shore artificial reefs. January and February are prime months to find sheepshead, along with black drum, on reefs such as Paradise, Pawleys, Jim Caudle and Ron McManus. Fiddler crabs and clams are the bait of choice for the tricky sheepshead, plus black drum. Also look for black sea bass, weakfish, tautog and flounder on the reefs. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reported the ocean water temperature remains above the 50-degree mark, with a reading of 51 degrees at midday on Thursday. Wallace reports small whiting have been caught this week, plus one 17-inch flounder.
Offshore

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

Comments: It’s been a breezy and rough week in the offshore waters, and boats have overwhelmingly stayed at the dock. When conditions permit, trolling is producing wahoo and blackfin tuna. There are numerous reef species that cannot presently be harvested in South Atlantic waters, but plenty more that can. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure is in effect through the month of April and includes gag grouper, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney. Greater amberjack is closed until March 1, and deep-water blueline tilefish and snowy grouper are closed until May 1. Of course, red snapper are off-limits indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region and must be released. The good news is there are plenty of tasty reef species such as vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, red porgy and grunts that are available for harvest.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey reports three Conway anglers hit the Ricefields vicinity on the lower Waccamaw River about a week ago and came home with a nice mess of fish. “The best area is the Ricefields, where you’re getting good tides,” said Stalvey. The trio caught bream lead-lining two hook rigs with red worms and nightcrawlers, crappie floating medium shiners and catfish on large shiners. “These were very thick, healthy fish,” said Stalvey. “It’s nice to see some good fish. Hopefully the Waccamaw will keep on a consistent fall. It ought to be right in another 2-3 weeks.”