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Trout bite still great

December 1, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Trout bite still great

In a photo from Evan D’Alessandro/University of Miami, a spotted seatrout. EVAN D’ALESSANDRO/UNIVERSITY OF NYT
Outdoors
Myrtle Beach-area fishing report: Trout bite continues to be off the charts

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
November 30, 2018 05:55 PM

Updated November 30, 2018 05:56 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: An all-star trio of anglers hit Murrells Inlet Thursday and had a banner day catching and releasing spotted seatrout. Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters hosted Capt. Alex Hrycak of Carolina Fly and Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions aboard his Sea Hunt and, suffice to say, the trout bite was on. “There were a ton of small ones but the bite overall, we hit them non-stop, on both tides,” said Hrycak. “There were multiple times during the day we were all three hooked up.” The epic bite comes after one of the worst stretches of wintry weather in memory right at 11 months ago. “It’s really surprising,” said Hrycak. “Everybody was worried about a trout kill, but there are a ton of trout. You would have thought it wouldn’t be that great of a season, but there are a lot of young fish out there.” The trio of captains started out with a standard catch of a few fish on top-water to start the day. From there, it was all soft plastics, mainly Z Man shrimp and minnow imitations, fished on 1/4 and 1/3-ounce jig heads. Hrycak noted some of the nicer trout came on the soft plastics fished under a popping cork. Hrycak said the trio caught big numbers of trout, keeping several for table fare, and released over 30 fish above the 14-inch minimum size. Several red drum were also receptive to the Z Man artificials, too.

Inshore

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

Comments: After the coldest weather of this autumn, the ocean water temperature has taken a plunge over the past week. Apache Pier reported a water temperature of 57 degrees Thursday afternoon, a full six degrees cooler than one week earlier. There continue to be scattered catches of a variety of species from the pier including whiting, croaker, black drum, weakfish, flounder, bluefish and pompano. With the calendar turning to December, fish activity is about to wind down along the beach. The focus then turns to artificial reefs in the 3-15 mile range, where black sea bass and sheepshead action is picking up. Also look for weakfish and flounder on the reefs.
Offshore

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

Comments: Quality trolling action can be found around areas such as the Winyah Scarp, Georgetown Hole and McMarlen Ledge when conditions allow boats to venture the more than 50 miles to get there. Blackfin tuna and wahoo are the top target for trolling boats with king mackerel and dolphin still a possibility. On bottom fishing trips, look for grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, amberjack, red porgy and grunts. Red snapper are common on the offshore reefs and ledges, but must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: In what seems to be a broken record over the last three months, local rivers are high and either at or near flood stage and slightly falling. The Waccamaw at Conway had just dropped below flood stage, to 10.74 feet at 2:15 p.m. Thursday. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry at was in minor flood stage, at 9.2 feet Thursday at 3 p.m. “Thank God they’re starting to come down a little,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “It’s not looking too hot right now, but sooner or later it will get better.” For anglers itching to get out on the water, try fishing worms on the bottom (lead-lining) for bream and catfish in the Ricefields vicinity, on the south end of the Waccamaw and Pee Dee rivers.

Spotted Seatrout rebound from last year’s cold weather

November 25, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Spotted Seatrout rebound from last year’s cold weather

Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown shows off a spotted seatrout caught Sunday in Winyah Bay. Gregg Holshouser For The Sun News
Outdoors
How trout numbers look nearly a year removed from wintry blast of January 2018

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

November 23, 2018 05:43 PM

Updated November 23, 2018 05:52 PM

It was a pleasant Sunday before Thanksgiving Day, prime time for targeting spotted seatrout along the South Carolina coast, and Capt. Mike McDonald and I couldn’t stand it, we just had to go.

So at mid-morning, McDonald, owner/operator of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown, headed northeast from South Island Ferry and into Winyah Bay, cruising at about 30 mph in the Bulls Bay 2200 center console powered by a 150-horsepower Mercury Optimax.

First, McDonald made a quick stop late in a falling tide at the bay’s jetties to see if sizable black drum were still on hand there, as they had been a few weeks earlier. They weren’t, and we caught only small black drum in the 10-13 inch range.

Time was a-wastin’ and the trout were waiting, so McDonald left the jetties, headed to the north end of the Winyah Bay vicinity, zoomed through a few creeks and pulled up along a Spartina grass bank.

The tide was near dead low, not ideal for trout, but we still caught a few below the minimum size limit of 14 inches over the next hour casting Saltwater Assassin and Matrix plastic paddle-tail grubs on 1/8 and 1/4-ounce jig heads.

Soon, the rising tide started really moving and McDonald found the right spot.

This time, we cast the grubs, set about 2 1/2 feet under popping corks, along a grass bank adjacent to a tidal creek. The bite heated up nicely, and we caught several more trout over the next 30 minutes including one 15-inch keeper. I pulled the hook near the boat on what was clearly the fish of the day. Oh well, another chapter of “the one that got away.”

On the way back to South Island Ferry at mid-afternoon and near high tide, McDonald stopped along an oyster bank in Winyah Bay. We once again worked the grubs on jig heads, minus the floats, and added a few more fish to our tally, including a nice 16-plus inch keeper.

In all, while the bite wasn’t torrid, we wound up catching and releasing double figures of trout along with the two keepers, providing plenty of action on a fine autumn day.
Trout Tally

As the calendar turned to 2018, the Carolinas endured one of the harshest stretches of wintry weather in memory.

Over the 10-day stretch from Dec. 26, 2017 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.

The low temperature dropped below freezing for eight straight days, all but one in the 20s or upper teens. On Jan. 3, the entire Carolina coast was coated with a rare layer snow, sleet and freezing rain.

Spotted seatrout become lethargic and can potentially die when the water temperature is below 45 degrees for a prolonged period of time, and Dr. Joey Ballenger of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reported dead trout, red drum, sheepshead and black drum along with forage fish menhaden and mullet were found in the Charleston area after the cold stretch.

Concern was high that a major kill of spotted seatrout was in store, and authorities in both states reacted accordingly.

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries quickly announced a closure of spotted seatrout for all anglers, both recreational and commercial, through June 15. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have such proclamation authority necessary to immediately close a fishery, but anglers in the Palmetto State were urged by the agency to not target trout and to release any trout caught.

Despite the concerns for the population of trout as the year wore on, the numbers encountered by anglers this fall has been a pleasant surprise.

By all accounts, from the Georgetown County line through Brunswick County, N.C., spotted seatrout are plentiful, especially fish in the 12-13 inch range, just below the minimum size of 14 inches for both North and South Carolina.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, anglers have plenty to be thankful for, including the fact that the winter blast of early 2018 didn’t decimate the population of spotted seatrout as badly had been feared early in the year.

Fishing report Nov 21-23

November 23, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Fishing report Nov 21-23


Maurillo Marquez of Cary, N.C. holds a 21-pound, 12-ounce blackfin tuna, a fish that is now active in offshore waters. Richard Ehrenkaufer
Outdoors
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Blackfin tuna bite is hot in offshore waters

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

November 22, 2018 01:13 PM

Updated November 22, 2018 01:13 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: The torrid trout bite continues in local estuaries with numerous fish being caught from Georgetown to south Brunswick County. By all accounts, spotted seatrout mainly in the 12-13 inch range, just below the minimum size of 14 inches for North and South Carolina, are plentiful. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters had an excellent trip on Monday, also catching a flounder, but the trout were the focal point of the day. “Everywhere we stopped we caught fish,” said Kelly. “We’ve been hammering them – some spots we were catching them every cast.” While floating live shrimp is considered the prime method, artificials are working just fine for the trout. Kelly has used Berkeley Gulp Shrimp and Vudu shrimp, either on a popping cork or jig head. “Anything clear, white or white with chartreuse is working,” said Kelly. Kelly’s crew did harvest 12 keepers on the trip. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a superb trip in the Winyah Bay vicinity and points south, also on Monday. McDonald’s crew caught good numbers of trout, red drum and flounder on plastic grubs, plus a few black drum on cut shrimp. The bite wasn’t quite as good but still decent for McDonald on Wednesday, when a cold front moved through. “It’s been pretty darn good,” said McDonald. “This front spoiled it a little for me (on Wednesday) but I would think it will turn right back on.”
Inshore

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

Comments: Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters out of Murrells Inlet headed out to Belky Bear, about 12 miles east of the inlet, Monday in search of king mackerel, but they weren’t home in 66-degree water. Maples eased over to the adjacent 10-Mile Reef and found black sea bass plentiful, including several keepers over the 13-inch minimum size limit. “We had a ton of throwbacks,” said Maples. The highlight of the trip was an 8-pound flounder caught while fishing for the black sea bass. Action from Grand Strand piers has been slow for spots, but plenty of whiting have been caught. There have also been scattered catches of flounder, bluefish, black drum, weakfish and pompano. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports a water temperature of 63 degrees at the surface and on the bottom Wednesday afternoon.
Offshore

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

Comments: The blackfin tuna bite was excellent Sunday at the McMarlen Ledge, located 58 miles south of Little River Inlet, reports Jeff Martini of Dirty Martini out of Little River. “The McMarlen was on fire, the blackfin were stacked up like crazy,” said Martini. Wahoo are on hand, too, with boats averaging one fish each on Sunday. With the water temperature cooling, grouper are moving inshore, and the bite is on. “Grouper are good from 17 to 32 miles out,” said Martini. “They have moved in. The inshore grouper bite is on.” On bottom fishing trips, also look for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, amberjack, red porgy and grunts. Red snapper are common on the offshore reefs and ledges, but must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway is glad to see some activity after the well-documented flooding in September. “More people have been going,” said Stalvey. “It’s good to see some life.” The top reports Stalvey has seen and heard this week are from the Ricefields vicinity in Georgetown County, which has been producing good catches of bream and catfish, both hitting worms and nightcrawlers on the bottom. The Waccamaw at Conway was a little high at 9.06 feet at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday. The Pee Dee system, however, continues to be in flooding stages, with the Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry at 9.8 feet, in minor flood stage, Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Pee Dee River at Pee Dee continues to be in moderate flood stage.