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Category Archives: Live Great Outdoors Blog

Nicer weather brings out the fish

December 2, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Nicer weather brings out the fish


Gene Ward of Conway lands a pin fish on the pier at Myrtle Beach State Park. Myrtle Beach residents and visitors can find a natural retreat at Myrtle Beach State Park where guests have access to the beach, fishing pier, a lush maritime Forest and many other attractions. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com
Outdoors
Fishing report: Tranquil seas producing potential for great offshore action

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

November 30, 2017 04:18 PM

UPDATED December 01, 2017 06:36 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service has been known to downplay his catches, so it is of note when the captain says “It’s been kind of good.” McDonald had a couple stellar days this week on Winyah Bay, catching numerous spotted seatrout on plastic grubs on 1/8 or 1/4-ounce jig heads. “It doesn’t seem to make any difference what color,” said McDonald, who noted a water temperature of 55-57 degrees. On the Wednesday trip, McDonald’s crew also caught five red drum, including three keepers within the 15- to 23-inch slot limit, also on grubs. McDonald said the trout ranged up to 18 inches in size. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River took a trio of old fishing buddies out Tuesday and had great success on a rising tide with trout and black drum. The crew caught the black drum on live shrimp fished on the bottom on a 1/4-ounce jig head. The trout were landed on live shrimp fished on adjustable-depth torpedo floats. The crew also caught flounder on Vudu shrimp. “Fishing’s been excellent,” said Kelly. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet had a super catch of a dozen trout and six black drum while floating live shrimp in the creeks of the inlet earlier this week.
Inshore

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

Comments: There is still activity in the surf line as December arrives. “It was real active last weekend with a lot of little stuff,” said Steve Gann of Cherry Grove Pier. On into the week, catches of whiting, croaker and pompano have come in off the pier plus a few keeper flounder. While most of the whiting have been small, there have been some bull whiting caught. Gann noted an ocean water temperature of 60 degrees Wednesday afternoon. Maples ventured out to a hard-bottom area off Surfside Beach and found weakfish active. “The weakfish are still thick as thieves,” said Maples. Artificial reefs such as Paradise and Jim Caudle are holding numerous black sea bass, most under the 13-inch minimum size limit with a few keepers, plus weakfish and flounder.
Offshore

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

Comments: Jeff Martini of Mid-Town Bistro in North Myrtle Beach and his crew aboard Dirty Martini headed out 70 nautical miles to the 100/400 area Tuesday, riding on slick seas. The crew found 77-degree water, a mix of blue and green, and plenty of bait stacked from the bottom to the middle of the water column. They also found wahoo, and caught eight ranging in size from 30 to 60 pounds, plus a 20-pound king mackerel and a dolphin. Martini noted they trolled ballyhoo, with purple/blue skirts the hot color. Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters out of Murrells Inlet hit the Winyah Scarp on Tuesday, and came home with five wahoo and 10 blackfin tuna. Capt. Shane Bashor of Side Kick Charters headed out to 80 feet of water in the Parking Lot vicinity earlier this week for a full-day combo trip. First, Bashor trolled to produce 10 king mackerel and several bonito before switching to the bottom. The bottom fishing was very productive as his crew caught a pair of gag grouper in the 17-18 pound range, released a pair of red snapper plus caught numerous vermilion snapper, black sea bass and white grunts. The Greater amberjack fishery is closed to harvest for recreational anglers and will remained closed until March 2018. Also, cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.

Comments: The rivers remain low and fishing success is high. The Waccamaw River at Conway continues to make good tides, with a water level reading of 6.47 feet on a rising tide at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry remains low, at 3.82 feet Wednesday at 6 p.m. Bream catches have been good, lead-lining worms on the bottom. Crappie catches are superb with fish hitting crappie minnows around brush or other structure in creek mouths and lakes. Catfish are hitting cut eels, mullet or live bream.

Rough seas mean another opportunity

December 2, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Rough seas mean another opportunity

image: red snapper
After rough seas wiped out most of the six-day red snapper mini-season held the first two weekends in November, recreational fishermen are getting one more shot at the species in 2017 Contributed photo
Outdoors
NOAA Fisheries gives anglers an unexpected early Christmas gift

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

December 01, 2017 06:29 PM

UPDATED December 01, 2017 06:34 PM

Consider it an early gift from NOAA Fisheries to recreational anglers in the South Atlantic region.

After rough seas wiped out most of the six-day red snapper mini-season held the first two weekends in November, recreational fishermen are getting one more shot at the species in 2017.

The species will be open for harvest once again for another three-day weekend, Dec. 8-10, in South Atlantic waters with the bag limit of one fish per person per day with no minimum size limit remaining the same.

When the original red snapper mini-season was scheduled, a catch limit of 29,656 fish was set. As of mid-November, preliminary estimates showed the limit was not met, thanks in large part to rough seas.

Harvest projections indicated the additional three-day opening would not result in the total harvest exceeding the catch limit.

Information and data provided by recreational fishermen through the new pilot electronic reporting project MyFishCount.com were considered by NOAA Fisheries in extending the mini-season for another three days.

For Capt. Shane Bashor of Sidekick Charters in Murrells Inlet, the first two weekends of red snapper fishing were typical of so many charter, party and private boats along the Southeast coast – one good day of fishing was followed by five days of rough seas which canceled trips offshore to bottom spots where red snapper can be found.

On Nov. 3, opening day of the mini-season, Bashor and crew caught and released three small red snapper, but moved to another spot and landed a pair in the 15-pound range. Bashor was fishing in depths of 110 to 130 feet.

“I’m glad (the season’s being re-opened) because there weren’t many good weather days,” said Bashor. “I suspect it was bad weather in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, too.”

Bashor had two scheduled trips blown out during the second weekend of the mini-season, revenue-making trips he hopes to make up next weekend during a time of year when they are few and far between.

“I’m trying to get some trips together,” said Bashor. “I’m just hoping the weather holds. That’s always the catch this time of year – weather problems.”

Trout, Drum catches are up

November 25, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Trout, Drum catches are up

Kathy Willens AP
Outdoors
Trout, black drum catches are hot in local estuaries

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

November 24, 2017 04:54 PM

Estuary

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

Comments: From Georgetown to Brunswick County, N.C., the spotted seatrout bite is on fire in local inlets, bays, rivers and sounds, with plenty of black drum plus a few flounder and red drum mixed in. Floated live shrimp or plastic grubs on 1/4- or 1/8-ounce jig heads will catch the trout, along with topwater lures particularly early in the day. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters has had good success with trout in the Little River vicinity, mainly along the Intracoastal Waterway. Kelly has also noted superb fishing for black drum this fall. “Last year we caught a lot of undersized black drum, just under 14 inches,” recalled Kelly. “Now those black drum are perfect size, from 15-20 inches.” Live shrimp fished on the bottom are the best bet for black drum, Kelly said. “They really want live shrimp – you put a live shrimp on the bottom, they’re eating it up,” said Kelly, who noted a water temperature reading of 56-57 degrees. “They’re all over the place, docks, ledges, oyster beds.” Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has used plastic grubs to target trout in the Winyah Bay area, with plenty of success on fish up to 18 inches. “We’ve been catching 20-25 trout each day,” said McDonald, who reported a water temperature of 55 to 57 degrees. “They’re feeding good right now.” McDonald suggests hitting areas near the ocean such as jetties and the mouth of inlets to find bigger trout. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters had a super trip in Murrells Inlet early in the week, catching over 20 trout, two black drum and numerous flounder on live shrimp.
Inshore

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

Comments: Most of the fishing activity of late has been focused at area jetties and inside the inlets, but there are still fish to be found in the near-shore waters. Specifically, the artificial reefs are holding numerous black sea bass, most under the 13-inch minimum size limit with a few keepers. Look for the number of keepers to be on the rise as the water temperature continues to drop. The reefs are also holding some weakfish and flounder. The near-shore hard-bottom areas are holding big numbers of weakfish, with a few black sea bass and flounder. Action has dwindled this week near the surfline, reports Ronnie Goodwin of the Cherry Grove Pier. “It’s just been mostly small stuff this week,” said Goodwin. Small whiting, croaker, blues and perch have been the top catch with some undersized black drum (14-27 inch slot limit) starting to show up. Goodwin noted a water temperature reading of 61 degrees on the surface and bottom at the pier, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Offshore

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

Comments: Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center (OIFC.com) reports that the majority of kings have moved out to depths of 65-80 feet of water. McMullan says look for grouper roaming the rock piles and ledges under the kings, in the same depths. Bottom fishing is also producing vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy and white grunts on out to depths over 100 feet. The Greater amberjack fishery was closed to harvest for recreational anglers on Oct. 31 and will remained closed until March, 2018. Also, cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. McMullan says trolling can produce wahoo and blackfin tuna especially inshore of the break in 140 to 180 feet of water.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.

Comments: Rain has been scarce of late and local rivers are definitely on the low side. The Waccamaw River at Conway was making very good tides, with a water level reading of 7.02 feet on a rising tide at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry continues to be low, at 4.09 feet Wednesday at 1 p.m. Lead-lining with worms is now the preferred tactic to find bream in the rivers. As usual in late autumn, crappie action has picked up nicely with fish hitting crappie minnows around brush or other structure in creek mouths and lakes. Use cut eels, mullet or live bream to catch catfish.