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Category Archives: Live Great Outdoors Blog

Dolphin Game Fish has arrived

May 3, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Dolphin Game Fish has arrived

Grand Strand Fishing Report: First it was mackerel, now the dolphin game fish has arrived

By Gregg Holshouser
May 02, 2019 05:57 PM


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

Comments: Much of the focus has been on the torrid action for Spanish and king mackerel in the Atlantic Ocean this week, but the action is also hot in local estuaries. May is one of the best months for flounder along the Grand Strand, with action the best in the Pawleys, Murrells and Cherry Grove inlets. Mud minnows are the top live bait available and will work on Carolina rigs or jig heads, casting or slow-trolling. Casting plastic grubs on jig heads will also catch flounder. Numbers of bluefish in the inlets are very high. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters has worked the area around the Little River jetties this week. “There’s a lot of action, a lot of blues out there,” said Kelly. His clients have cast silver spoons to catch plenty of bluefish with some Spanish mackerel mixed in. Kelly has also produced flounder, spotted seatrout, red drum and black drum this week.

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

Comments: Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters has enjoyed quite a start to king mackerel season, but was still amazed at what he saw near Belky Bear in 45-50 feet of water Wednesday. “I looked down and there were literally hundreds of kings 15 feet down, right under us,” said Maples. “My fish finder was lit up. We just sat there and watched them. It was amazing.” When Maples started slow-trolling cigar minnows, he could only get one line out and had already caught two kings. The fish were just over the 24-inch minimum size, though, and were released. He moved farther out to about 55 feet of water to find a larger grade of kings in the 10-pound range. “We caught our limit of six in 30-40 minutes,” said Maples. Spanish mackerel action continues to be very good at the near-shore artificial reefs and around inlets such as Little River and Murrells Inlet. The mackerel action is excellent near the beach, too, as the first reported king mackerel catch of the spring off a Grand Strand pier came on the Cherry Grove Pier Wednesday. Veteran angler Charlie Love caught the king, a 21-pound, 12-ounce specimen. Both Cherry Grove and Apache piers report good catches of Spanish mackerel and bluefish. The piers are also producing scattered catches of whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum and weakfish, with sheepshead hanging around the pilings. Maples also noted jelly balls are common, and with the water temperature in the lower to mid 70s, spadefish season is at hand on the near-shore artificial reefs.

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

Comments: Dolphin arrived in the offshore waters in superb numbers this week, and the trolling action doesn’t get much better off the South Carolina coast. With tranquil seas in the offing, numerous boats made the run to the break and landed double-digit numbers of the colorful game fish. Scattered wahoo and blackfin tuna are also available, and Carolina offshore slams (dolphin, wahoo, tuna) have been common. Capt. Shane Bashor of Side Kick Charters in Murrells Inlet split a trip Wednesday between trolling and bottom fishing, and came home with a varied catch. Bashor’s crew caught dolphin and a mako shark while trolling in the vicinity of the Georgetown Hole, and then hit the bottom in depths of 120 feet to catch red hind (strawberry grouper), vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grunts, triggerfish and red porgy. The strawberry grouper weighed nearly five pounds, for a species that typically weighs about a pound. “There’s a lot going on,” said Bashor. “That’s two pretty unusual (catches) in the same day.” When May arrived on Wednesday, the shallow-water grouper spawning season closure ended, and those species were again available for harvest in the Southeast region. For anglers targeting grouper in the last few days, red snapper have been more common, but alas, red snapper must be released in the Southeast region.

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: “The freshwater is getting better and better by the day,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey. “The rivers are still high but they’re all out of flood stage and the water is falling everywhere. When everything gets out of the banks it will be even better.” The Little Pee Dee is known for big bream, and it is currently producing bream and morgans. “They’re catching big ones deep in the woods, in the back creeks,” said Stalvey, who also notes the Bucksport and Ricefields vicinities are producing good catches of bream in 2-4 feet of water. Catfish continue to hit eels and live bream, along with other cut bait such as shad or mullet. Stalvey says bass action remains good but the size of the fish has tapered off. Stalvey recommends using Senkos or any type of Texas-rigged craw bait, buzz baits or any type of surface bait.

Remembering a fishing buddy

April 27, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Remembering a fishing buddy

‘We’ll have to go on without him’: A day of fishing with the Springs brothers smiling down

By Gregg Holshouser
April 26, 2019 06:43 PM

Charlie Nash remembers old fishing buddy who passed away recently

A recent trip to the Dr. Holmes B. Springs Jr. Reef held even more sentimental value to Charlie Nash on that day, as another Springs fishing buddy of his, Dr. Springs’ brother, Wilson Springs, died in April. With an impending front and sharp increase in wind speed in the forecast, Charlie Nash knew the window of fishing opportunity would be relatively small on this Thursday morning.

But the lure of one of Nash’s favorite pastimes of spring, trolling for migrating Spanish mackerel, was just too much.

At mid-morning in late April, Nash and I grabbed the planer rods and mackerel tree rods and headed out of Inlet Harbour aboard Nash’s 23-foot Sea Hunt.

Within 15 minutes, Nash had cleared the Murrells Inlet jetties, headed east and arrived at our destination — Paradise Reef, or Three-Mile Reef, located — yes — three miles east of the inlet.

The wind was blowing 5-10 out of the southwest with manageable 1-2 foot waves as we approached the reef, with three other boats on the scene.

Nash slowed down as we approached the reef, which is Permitted Area 09 in the South Carolina Marine Artificial Reef Program and consists of several individual reefs within the permitted area.

One of those reefs — the Dr. Holmes B. Springs Jr. Reef — was put in place in 2003 in honor of a deceased fishing buddy of Nash. Dr. Springs was a well-known physician in Myrtle Beach and served on the Myrtle Beach City Council in the 1960s and 70s who passed away in 2005.

The reef held even more sentimental value to Nash on this day, as another Springs family fishing buddy of his, Dr. Springs’ brother, Wilson Springs, passed away on April 16 at the age of 91.

As Nash and the Springs brothers had done on so many Spanish mackerel trolling excursions in years gone by, we settled in at a trolling speed of about 1100 rpm and motored around the reef.

We deployed a pair of rods with No. 1 planers and 10-foot leaders tipped by Drone spoons on each side of the stern. A center flat line with a four-hook mackerel tree tipped by a silver Clark spoon was set well back to complete the simple trolling spread.

After 20 minutes of little action in depths of around 35 feet, Nash made two moves. He switched to a No. 2 planer on one of the rods to get the Drone spoon deeper and turned on beach music from The Surf 94.9 to get the fish in gear.

Within minutes, the No. 2 planer rod bounced sharply and then eased up, signaling a bite. Nash designated me as the angler of the day, and I quickly cranked in a nice Spanish in the 17-18 inch range.

“They just can’t stand that beach music,” said Nash, clapping and singing along.

With the ice broken, the bites came regularly, most on the No. 2 planer rod and just a few on the mackerel tree.

Later, chaos ensued after we spotted Spanish mackerel ripping into baitfish on the surface a few hundred yards southwest of the reef’s lone buoy. Four fish were hooked up at once, a Spanish on each planer rod and a pair of bluefish on the mackerel tree rig.

With nearly a dozen sizable Spanish ranging from 15 to 20 inches in the box, the Springs brothers were smiling down on Charlie, their old fishing buddy.

At midday, the southwest wind kicked into high gear, as expected. The Atlantic went from a pretty shade of green with tranquil 1-2 foot rollers to an angry sea of whitecaps in a matter of 30 minutes and we joined the other boats in high-tailing it to the safe haven between the jetties.

After some meticulous fileting and with the filets on ice, Nash relaxed and reflected on losing his friend, Wilson Springs, who established H.B. Springs Company with another brother, Albert Springs. Together, they managed the business for over 50 years.

“This past week I lost a great friend,” said Nash. “If you only had one friend in life, you’d want it to be somebody like Wilson “Teedie” Springs. What a great American, a great friend he was to everyone in Horry County. The Springs family has just been a big part of what happened in Myrtle Beach.

“I met (Teedie) 20 years ago when I moved to Inlet Harbour and we became very close friends. We fished together every Thursday and sometimes on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday for that matter. We always ate fish together on Thursday night. We just had a wonderful time. Myrtle Beach has really lost one of its leading citizens — Wilson “Teedie” Springs. We’ll have to go on without him.”

Spring fishing in full swing

April 26, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Spring fishing in full swing

Flounder are increasing in numbers and size in local estuaries and inshore, marking the arrival of spring. Submitted photo
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Spring is in full swing, which means more and bigger fish

By Gregg Holshouser
April 25, 2019 05:43 PM


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

Comments: The April flounder bite is ramping up with a steady increase in number and size of fish in local estuaries. Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions notes plenty of undersized flounder but more keepers at or above the 15-inch minimum size limit in Murrells Inlet this week. The flatfish are active on the north end, too. “The flounder fishing in Cherry Grove is really good,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River. Connolly notes “tons of blues” are biting in Murrells Inlet along with black drum, plus red drum. Kelly has also had success with red drum this week. Kelly notes Atlantic sharpnose sharks have shown up for the season at the Little River jetties.

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

Comments: King mackerel continue to be caught on bottom spots in 50-60 feet of water such as Belky Bear and the Jungle, but don’t be surprised to find them at near-shore artificial reefs 3-5 miles out. Spanish mackerel continue to be caught at the near-shore reefs and are making more of a showing along the beach. “Everybody’s ripping the Spanish at the reef and around the jetties,” said Connolly. Troll mackerel trees on No. 1 planers or cast jig fish or Big Nic’s Spanish candy at the reefs, which are also holding nice weakfish and plenty of bluefish.

Scott Shelton of Apache Pier reports good action for whiting, Spanish mackerel and bluefish this week. “They’re catching a lot of Spanish out here, jigging, but no kings yet,” said Shelton, who personally caught a 1-pound, 11-ounce bull whiting Wednesday. Pompano have made a good showing this week, with Grand Strand piers also producing plenty of bluefish plus scattered spots, flounder and black drum. Shelton reported a water temperature of 66 degrees Thursday morning. Hot spots in the surf are producing pompano and whiting.

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

Comments: Chris Lawhon, Capt. Alex Hrycak and crew out of Murrells Inlet fished the S.C. Wahoo Series on Wednesday and landed nine wahoo out of 12 bites. Trey Jordan, Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey and crew headed out on Jordan’s Sea Pro for a full day of offshore fishing on Tuesday. The crew made the 70-mile run to the SW Banks and caught a pair of wahoo, one 30-pounder and another just over 40. The crew also landed a few little tunny in the 10-15 pound range. One the way back in, they stopped for some bottom fishing action and added vermilion snapper and black sea bass to the box. Bottom fishing is excellent, with triggerfish, porgy, amberjack and grouper all available. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure ends on Tuesday, with recreational anglers once again able to harvest grouper starting on Wednesday, May 1. Plenty of red snapper are available on the reefs, but must be released in the Southeast region.

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: The rivers remain high, but springtime fishing action is in full swing regardless. “The bream, bass and catfish have been amazing,” said Stalvey, of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Bream are hitting crickets the best right now in 2-4 feet. Fish the tree line where the caterpillars are falling.” Stalvey says catfish action has been excellent. “Eels have been the ticket for those,” said Stalvey. “They’ve been catching the fool out of them.” Stalvey notes that some bass are still bedding and recommends using Senko worms, Texas-rigged worms or top-water lures. Both Pee Dee rivers remain high, and Stalvey says the best areas to fish are the Waccamaw and the Ricefields area.

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