Eight-year-old Brayden McMullan shows off the 67.9-pound wahoo he weighed in on April 14 after a day of fishing with Team OIFC in the South Carolina Wahoo Series. McMullan was named the top junior angler in the series for the catch. Submitted photo
Why the 10th annual Meatfish Slam is commencing at just the right time
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
April 27, 2018 06:35 PM
Updated April 27, 2018 07:48 PM
After an absolutely horrendous stretch of windy weather in late winter and early spring – virtually February through most of April – area fishermen have finally caught a break.
The wind is cooperating this weekend for boats to get offshore for the fantastic big-game trolling action late April offers, just in time for the 10th annual Meatfish Slam out of Georgetown Landing Marina.
With the way the spring has unfolded, Saturday will serve as a kickoff of sorts for the offshore trolling season.
The Meatfish Slam was scheduled for Friday and Saturday, with competing boats able to fish one of the two days and targeting wahoo, tuna and dolphin.
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But with Saturday’s offshore marine forecast calling for 2-4 foot seas with a northwesterly breeze, all 23 boats passed on Friday and will be fishing on Saturday.
“Weather-wise it’s just kept every boat at the dock,” said Ed Keelin, General Manager of Georgetown Landing Marina. “As terrible as the spring has been for wind I don’t think anybody’s been fun-fishing yet. Hopefully tomorrow will be a good day, they can have some fun and go catch some fish.”
With the South Carolina Wahoo Series winding up earlier this week after its two month-plus run, the focus will turn to catching a Carolina Meatfish Slam. The heaviest aggregate of one wahoo, one tuna and one dolphin will earn the top prize of $5,000 in the tournament.
While wahoo and blackfin tuna have been commonly caught in recent weeks when boats could get offshore, dolphin catches have been sporadic. In short, while wahoo and blackfin tuna are available throughout the winter and early spring, dolphin are migrating from points south and have yet to arrive en masse.
“They’ve been catching (dolphin) in the Bahamas and the (Florida) Keys but they ought to be there,” said Keelin. “When they come they will be traveling the (western) edge of the Gulf Stream.”
Keelin projects the western edge of the Gulf Stream could be at least 60 miles offshore Saturday.
Lines-in time is at 7 a.m., lines out is 3 p.m. and the scales at Georgetown Landing Marina close at 7 p.m. The first boat to weigh in all three targeted species (wahoo, tuna, dolphin) will earn $1,000.
For more information, call the marina at 843-546-1776.
S.C. Wahoo Series
Despite very few fishable days due to the aforementioned relentless windy conditions, an amazing number of large wahoo were caught in the series, which ran from Feb. 2 through April 15, plus the Hilton Head Harbor Wahoo Shootout which concluded last Saturday.
Georgetown Landing Marina was one of three weigh-in sites for the series.
“A lot of good fish got weighed in across the dock, and that proves (wahoo) are out there even in the winter,” said Keelin.
The big buzz on the docks was created by a 105.5-pound wahoo landed by Reelist out of St. Helena, but Renegade of Mt. Pleasant was the series winner with an aggregate of 156.9 pounds for two wahoo weighing 88.3 and 68.6 pounds. LIQRBOX of Charleston was second with an aggregate of 148.9 pounds.
The Kings Full crew of Conway, led by Jason Johnson, put wahoo weighing 85.5 and 60.1 pounds on the scales at Georgetown Landing, good for an aggregate of 145.6 pounds and third place.
Reelist paired the 105.5-pounder with a 36.5-pounder to finish fourth with a 142.0-pound aggregate.
Nonsense, led by Owen Johnson of Georgetown, finished in fifth with a 139.3-pound aggregate including a whopping 92.6-pounder.
The McMullan crew of Team OIFC out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center claimed sixth place with an aggregate of 130.9 pounds.
Eight-year-old Brayden McMullan was the top junior angler in the series for landing one of Team OIFC’s two wahoo, a 67.9-pounder.
Eight-year-old Brayden McMullan shows off the 67.9-pound wahoo he weighed in on April 14 at Georgetown Landing Marina after a day of fishing with Team OIFC in the South Carolina Wahoo Series. McMullan was named the top junior angler in the series for the catch. Submitted photo
The Pier at Garden City and the Cherry Grove Pier report Spanish mackerel (pictured) have been caught this week by jiggers. Jason Lee email@example.com
Fishing on the Grand Strand is heating up with warmer weather
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
April 26, 2018 06:50 PM
Updated April 26, 2018 06:50 PM
Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, bluefish, spotted seatrout, sheepshead.
Comments: Flounder catches have picked up nicely over the last week, with most fish still under the 15-inch minimum size limit. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway reports the number of keepers in Murrells Inlet has increased a bit, with mud minnows fished on a jig head, Carolina rig or float rig all working. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters has also found good numbers of flounder in the Little River vicinity but keepers have been scarce. Kelly has also used live mud minnows, but reports he has had his best luck for flounder jigging with Berkeley Gulp swimming minnows. Kelly has also caught small trout, black drum and red drum, but did catch and release one 27-inch red. Kelly caught the flounder and trout on a falling tide in the ICW and targeted the drum in shallow creeks on an incoming tide using fresh cut shrimp. Kelly noted a water temperature from 62-65 degrees on a Thursday trip.
Look For: Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano.
Comments: The weather, or the wind, has finally stabilized a bit, and anglers have found that Spanish mackerel and bluefish are showing up in good numbers around near-shore artificial reefs such as Paradise Reef (three miles east of Murrells Inlet) and Jim Caudle Reef (three miles south of Little River). Trolling Clark or Drone spoons on No. 1 planers has produced Spanish, plus slow-trolling live bait (if available) will produce fish too. Also look for weakfish, black sea bass and flounder on the structure of the reefs. Spanish have made it to the beach too, as both The Pier at Garden City and the Cherry Grove Pier report they have been caught this week by jiggers, along with bluefish. Plenty of smallish whiting and croaker have also been caught. Pompano should show up at any time, if they aren’t already here. The ocean water temperature was at 63 degrees on the bottom at Cherry Grove Pier at 6 p.m. Thursday, and on a warming trend.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy, black sea bass, grunts.
Comments: The wind appears to have calmed down a bit compared to the last, well, month or two, and that’s good news for boats that want to get in some offshore trolling to land a Carolina Slam of wahoo, dolphin and tuna. Ocean Isle Fishing Center reports that more than a few yellowfin tuna have shown up on the north end of the offshore trolling grounds, from the Blackjack Hole to the Steeples, a fantastic development indeed. There have been occasional good catches of blackfin tuna. The wahoo bite has been the most consistent, and there have been reports of decent catches of dolphin to the south. Specifically, Capt. Buddy Smith of Underdog in Murrells Inlet reports a few Charleston boats landed several dolphin per trip over the past week. With a decent marine forecast in store for Saturday, look for some great catches in the Georgetown Meatfish Slam out of Georgetown Landing Marina. Bottom fishing is producing plenty of vermilion snapper, along with black sea bass, amberjack, grey triggerfish, white grunts and red porgy. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect through April 30, meaning grouper can again be harvested when May arrives on Tuesday. Red snapper are closed indefinitely in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Look For: Bream, bass, crappie, catfish.
Comments: “The fishing’s hot, the weather’s nice, it just lines up like an arrow,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Bream fishing is super with fish hitting crickets or worms equally well in 3-4 feet of water. It’s prime time to target, and hopefully release, bedding bass on local rivers. “They’re in that stage now, where they’re catching a few on the beds, seeing a few on the beds,” said Stalvey. “In the next few days you’ll see a lot of bass in the calm-water areas, anywhere they feel safe at. The top-water action is getting pretty heated.” Stalvey suggests throwing buzz baits or Bang-O-Lures for top-water and wacky-rigged Senkos deep. Stalvey notes catfish action continues to be very good, with fish hitting shad or fresh cut eels.
Flounder have arrived in local estuaries, marking the arrival of spring. Submitted photo
Flounder have arrived. What that means for Grand Strand fishing
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
April 20, 2018 06:44 PM
When the flounder bite turns on in the estuaries along the Grand Strand, from Georgetown to Brunswick County, N.C., you can rest assured spring has arrived.
The flounder are biting, thus spring is finally here, after one of the most prolonged winters in recent memory on the East Coast.
Some flounder stay in the estuaries year-round, but the majority head for the ocean for the winter.
Each April, flounder that departed the estuaries for the Atlantic Ocean as the water temperature cooled in late fall return for about seven months of warm weather.
For nearly two decades, the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers Flounder Tournament has been staged in Murrells Inlet to welcome the return of the flounder, and the arrival of spring.
The 17th annual tournament will be held next Saturday, April 28 in the inlet, with a catch.
The minimum size limit for flounder in South Carolina waters increased to 15 inches on July 1, 2017. For a flounder to be weighed into the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers tournament, a flounder must measure 16 inches.
April also marks the occurrence of large bluefish in local waters, and the club includes a bluefish division in the tournament for an extra $5 fee.
The Captains Meeting for the event will be held at the Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet on Friday at 5:30 p.m., with fishing set for the next morning with lines in at 6 a.m. The weigh-in is set for 3-5 p.m. next Saturday at Crazy Sister Marina.
The grand prize of the tournament is $1,500 for the largest flounder weighed in.
The 17th annual tournament is dedicated to the late Ken Buys, a prominent club member who passed away in 2017.
For more information, call Ed Skowysz at 843-450-8218 or Chick McDaniel at 843-651-2076.
Another rite of spring is the arrival of dolphin in the offshore waters, typically in late April.
When dolphin arrive from the south and east, the three components of an offshore Carolina meatfish slam – wahoo, tuna and dolphin – will be present, thus the name of the Georgetown Meatfish Slam.
The 10th annual slam will be held next Friday and Saturday (April 27-28) out of Georgetown Landing Marina. The public is invited to the weigh-in both days, with scales opening at 3 p.m. and closing at 7 p.m.
The Captains Meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. For more information, call 843-546-1776.
SALTT No. 5
The 5th event of the Student Angler League Tournament Trail was staged last Saturday out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown.
The trail is open to middle and high school anglers targeting red drum and largemouth bass in separate categories.
Conway Middle School claimed the top two spots in the red drum division, led by Ashton Rouhselang and Lance Cooper with 6.68 pounds, including big fish honors. Donovan Harris fished solo and weighed in 4.26 pounds to finish in second place.
Noah Payne and Kadyn Kellahan of Andrew High School finished third in the red drum division with 3.30 pounds.
Bennett Lawshe and Matt Caines of Waccamaw High School won the bass division with 13.10 pounds including big fish honors.
Wade Kelly of Waccamaw Middle School and partner Michael Paglio of Waccamaw High School took second with 10.71 pounds despite fishing only six of eight hours allowed.
Jackson Denny of Carolina Forest High School also fished solo, but finished third in the bass division with 10.03 pounds.
The sixth and final trail will be held on May 5 out of the Campbell Marine Complex, an event that will determine the winners in all four divisions for the 2017-18 school year.
For more information, visit www.salttfishing.com.