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Flood waters pose threat when fishing

September 21, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Flood waters pose threat when fishing


Fall red drum action is kicking off in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Gregg Holshouser For The Sun News
Outdoors
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Saltwater action strong, rivers pose dangerous threat

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

September 20, 2018 02:56 PM

Updated September 20, 2018 02:56 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: Hurricane Florence’s rains had barely moved out of the area on Tuesday when Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River headed out to investigate what was happening in the storm’s aftermath. The returns were good. “I went out today to check and it was really good,” said Kelly, who caught and released red drum and spotted seatrout. “I caught the reds on finger mullet but switched to Vudu shrimp and that worked too. We caught one on a top-water mirrolure. There’s plenty of bait, the only change I saw in fishing was the really large shrimp in the creek have filtered out. The smaller shrimp are still in the creek. The water was really dirty.” Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Charters checked out the action in Murrells Inlet earlier this week. “It was pretty good for the amount of time I spent fishing,” said Connolly. “If you thought there was a lot of bait before the storm, you ought to see the bait that’s out there now. I did catch a few nice shrimp in the net catching mullet. I caught a few nice reds, one just shy of 23, one over 24 inches and a couple of flounder (16-17 inches). Just went out to see what the heck was going on with an (upcoming) trip.” Connolly caught and released all the fish on live and dead mullet, plus noted the water temperature was down to 79 after sitting at 82 before the storm. Epic flooding is far from ideal for Winyah Bay, which is the recipient of water from five rivers on the the coastal plains of North and South Carolina and is the second-largest watershed on the East Coast. “All that flood water you’ve been seeing is coming through Winyah Bay, simple as that,” said Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service. “It means they’re going to have a lot more freshwater, cooler water to swim around in.” McDonald pointed out a silver lining, though. “But the fish still gotta eat,” he said.
Inshore

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

Comments: Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters went out on The Pier at Garden City Wednesday to check out conditions in the surf zone and near the beach. He loved what he observed. “I saw miles and miles of mullet moving south along the beach, with sharks, Spanish, kings and possibly tarpon crashing on them,” said Wood. “Fishing’s going to be real hot right now. Things get real active this time of year.” Mark Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina sees the bait on the beach as a very good sign. “The big female kings head toward the beach by late September and early October, and that’s when the king bite on the beach is excellent. In October, I’ve caught them 100 yards off the pier. Just follow the bait.” Also look for red drum on the bottom feeding under the schools of bait. Live or hard-bottom areas near the beach, along with near-shore artificial reefs will hold a variety of species as the fall run commences, including weakfish, black sea bass, flounder and bull red drum. The bull reds are in spawning mode and can be found at area jetties and the channels of inlets, hence one of their many nicknames – channel bass. The slot limit for red drum in South Carolina is 15-23 inches. All the spawning fish measure over the slot and must be released, carefully, to help preserve the future of the species. With the bait marching southward down the beach, Grand Strand piers are producing Spanish and king mackerel, bluefish, along with whiting, pompano, red drum, black drum and, soon, spots.
Offshore

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

Comments: Mark Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina points out that the wahoo bite had been solid to very good before Hurricane Florence, and expects that trend to continue as fall weather becomes entrenched. “Right before the hurricane the wahoo bite was getting real good,” said Lawhon. “Look for the wahoo and tuna to really turn on here.” Trolling boats in areas such as the Georgetown Hole, Winyah Scarp and Black Jack Hole can also expect to see scattered dolphin along with king mackerel, barracuda and bonito. Fish move around during a hurricane, notably reef fish. It will be interesting to see what has taken up residence on live-bottom areas, ledges and artificial reefs when boats get back to spots in depths of 60-120 feet. Wise anglers will be prepared to catch grouper that have taken up residence, plus bottom-fishing staples such as vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, amberjack, red porgy and white grunts. Don’t be surprised to encounter more species uncommon to local reefs, perhaps queen triggerfish, African pompano, yellowtail snapper or mutton snapper. Red snapper must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: With all-time record flooding occurring on the Waccamaw and other area rivers, anglers are advised to stay off the water until the flood waters recede. Any boaters who must be on the rivers or the Intracoastal Waterway should beware of floating debris and above all else navigate at idle speed, especially around residences and structures that are undergoing flooding. Wakes can easily cause further, unnecessary damage to the properties. “It’s rough, I hate it for everybody in North Carolina and down here in South Carolina,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle, who has spent his recent days helping friends and family with property along the Waccamaw prepare for the flooding. “It’s a mess. I’m going to say a month to a month-and-a-half for it to get back to normal.”

Memorial reef established

September 8, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Memorial reef established


The late Jessica Hill-Doehner with her children, Liam, Bella and Aden, on the banks of Murrells Inlet behind Belin United Methodist Church. Submitted photo
Outdoors
Late owner of Perry’s Bait and Tackle to be honored with special dedication

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

September 07, 2018 07:32 PM

As the owner/operator of Perry’s Bait and Tackle, Jessica Hill-Doehner was totally immersed in the fishing scene in Murrells Inlet and the near-shore waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Nearly a year after she was murdered, the community has come together to support Hill-Doehner’s three surviving children and to establish an artificial reef in her honor.

A more fitting tribute could not be found for Hill-Doehner, who was well-known in the inlet for her willingness to help visitors and residents alike with fishing accessories and expert salt-water fishing advice.

Hill-Doehner’s ex-husband, Eric Justin Perry was charged with her murder last September and remains incarcerated in the Georgetown County Detention Center awaiting trial.

Hill-Doehner was instrumental in having an artificial reef established in the memory of her then father-in-law, Winston Perry. Winston Perry, the founder of Perry’s Bait and Tackle and Eric Perry’s father, passed away in January 2010.

Just five months later, in June, 2010, Hill-Doehner had accomplished that feat when the Winston Perry Memorial Reef was placed on the ocean floor at the Paradise Reef site located three miles east of the Murrells Inlet jetties.

Now, it’s Hill’s turn to be honored.

Claire Collins, now the manager of Perry’s Bait and Tackle, is leading the charge of coordinating the reef campaign in Hill-Doehner’s name.

Collins, 23, befriended Hill-Doehner on fishing trips in Murrells Inlet and took over management of the bait and tackle shop.

“Jessica was steady always doing for others rather than for herself,” said Collins. “It is very appropriate to do something for her.

“What an amazing tribute it is to have a reef in the ocean in her name, with the marine life, which was something she loved. I don’t think anyone could deserve it more.”

Collins also is coordinating an annual fundraiser, with the second annual event scheduled for Nov. 10 at Perry’s.

The first event solely supported Hill-Doehner’s surviving children, Liam, Bella and Aden, and this time the proceeds will be split between the Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown Counties and Jessica Hill-Doehner’s reef fund.

The event will feature barbecue provided by Smokin’ Sumthin’ BBQ, live music, a silent auction featuring donated charter fishing trips, and raffle tickets. Guest speakers will include Sen. Stephen Goldfinch and a representative of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Marine Artificial Reef Program.

The event will also feature face painting, a bouncy house, photo booth, and a Jessica favorite, a rig-tying expo.

“This is very much a kid-friendly event,” said Collins. “It’s going to be really great.”

A year ago, the community came out to the event, enabling $14,000 to be raised for Hill-Doehner’s children.

“It’s a good opportunity to bring everyone in the fishing community together,” said Collins. “It’s about supporting a cause that deserves to be supported. It really is a beautiful thing.”

A fund is set up at Bank of America to benefit Hill-Doehner’s children. For those wishing to earmark contributions to Hill-Doehner’s reef fund, Collins suggests writing “reef fund” in the memo on checks.

Donations also can be made at Perry’s Bait and Tackle, located at 3965 Hwy. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, SC, 29576. Call 843-651-2896 for more information.

“We’re doing this for Jessica’s children, but we’re also doing it for Jessica,” said Collins. “She touched a lot of people. A lot of people loved Jessica.”


Claire Collins, manager of Perry’s Bait and Tackle, is helping support the children of her late friend, Jessica Hill-Doehner, and raise funds for a reef in Hill-Doehner’s honor. Submitted photo

Sharks thwart catches

September 7, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Sharks thwart catches


Ed Keelin of Georgetown Landing Marina shows off a nice flounder caught last weekend in the Georgetown vicinity. Georgetown Landing Marina
Latest News
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Blacktip sharks thwart anglers’ red drum catches

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

September 06, 2018 07:27 PM

Estuary

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

Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown was on a solid red drum bite two days in a row earlier this week, but they got interrupted. “We were catching nice spottails until the sharks came in and ran us off them,” said McDonald. “We had two over slot size (15-23 inches) cut off by sharks on two different days – blacktips. I was about to get the net under the fish and the sharks came up and fought us for them.” McDonald also has caught flounder, black drum, ladyfish and juvenile cobia and grouper this week. Capt. Lin Fore of Lowcountry Expeditions in Georgetown has caught reds, sheepshead and tripletail this week. Where was Fore catching the tripletail? “Somewhere between Myrtle Beach and McClellanville,” he said with a laugh. Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions has caught reds both under and over the slot in Murrells Inlet this week on live and cut mullet on the bottom. “The incoming tide has been great and the fish are really hungry during this pre-spawn time,” said Connolly. Connolly also has observed “some really nice shrimp starting to show up” in the creeks. “Once the water temperatures drop back into the 70s, we should see a big increase in (spotted seatrout) activity,” Connolly said.

Inshore

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

Comments: September is known to kick off prime fall pier fishing along the Grand Strand, but as of Wednesday, the ocean water temperature at the Cherry Grove Pier was still 86 degrees. Balmy water aside, Michael Wallace of the pier reports increased activity from blues and Spanish mackerel this week. “It starting to pick up on the end,” said Wallace. “They’ve been catching blues and Spanish in pretty good numbers.” Wallace also notes a good number of mostly small whiting and some pompano have also been caught. Spots such as Paradise Reef, 10-Mile Reef and Belkie Bear, plus other spots in depths of 30-60 feet are holding Spanish and king mackerel. Artificial reefs such as Paradise, Jim Caudle and Ron McManus are producing spadefish, flounder, black sea bass and weakfish with Spanish and kings also in the vicinity. Sea conditions look great for the 2018 Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shoot Out, based out of Marlin Quay Marina and Murrells Inlet, with the Captains Meeting Friday evening and fishing set for Saturday. Call 843-651-4444 for more information.
Offshore

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

Comments: Wahoo and blackfin tuna plus a few dolphin are available along the break from areas such as the Georgetown Hole, Winyah Scarp and Black Jack Hole. Of course, sailfish and possibly blue marlin are also occasionally encountered. Bottom fishing is very good for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, red porgy, amberjack and grouper, especially scamp. Red snapper are also being caught but must be released in the South Atlantic Region.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: The action is slow on local rivers, says Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway, for the anglers but not the fish. Stalvey also notes water levels on the rivers are very low. “The water levels are low, even the North Santee,” said Stalvey. “Technically, the fish don’t have anywhere to go. The quality of fish I’ve seen has been amazing. People need to go.” Look for bream hitting crickets and worms in 1-4 feet of water, plus catfish taking eels and bream. With the water temperature still in the mid-80s, bass are hitting top-water lures. With the calendar reading September, crappie action has picked up. “The crappie are starting to take crappie shiners, and crappie jigs are working too,” said Stalvey.