Call Us Monday - Saturday 9 am to 5 pm EST

843.353.2258

Category Archives: Live Great Outdoors Blog

Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel are here

April 13, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel are here


Bluefish, Spanish mackerel showing up in near-shore waters

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

April 12, 2018 05:52 PM

Updated April 12, 2018 05:52 PM
Estuary

Look For: Red drum, black drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, sheepshead.

Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters put a productive trip in the books on Wednesday in the Little River vicinity. “I found a hole with a bunch of spottails and black drum in it,” said Kelly. “We probably caught 20-plus fish, (ranging from) 17-26 inches.” Kelly started by offering Berkeley Gulp baits and mud minnows on 1/4-ounce jig heads, but with little luck. “I switched to fresh cut shrimp and they went to chewing,” said Kelly. “It seems like they were more into scent, being lazy. If you had some soft shell crab (for bait) you’d probably have some really good luck.” Kelly reports catches of flounder are starting up in Cherry Grove Inlet, but most fish are under the 15-inch minimum size limit. Last Saturday, Kelly’s crew caught and released a 7.5-pound spotted seatrout, caught on a mud minnow in the ICW. Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions had success with red drum in Murrells Inlet on Tuesday, fishing in chilly 56-58 degree water. By Thursday at midday, at dead low tide, Connolly observed a water temperature of 61.5 degrees. Connolly reports plenty of flounder in the 14-inch range are being caught in the inlet, with the occasional keeper above the 15-inch minimum size limit.
Inshore
Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more.

Look For: Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker.

Comments: Connolly and his O-Fish-Al Expeditions crew had a very active trip and saw a new arrival on Thursday at Paradise Reef, three miles east of Murrells Inlet. “Some Spanish are starting to show up,” said Connolly. “We caught a ton of bluefish and a stud weakfish that made the leader board at MIFC (Murrells Inlet Fishing Center). We were catching blues on jigs and I had foul hooked a blue. Fifteen feet under the boat, I saw a big gray, yellow back, and two weakfish in the 5-7 pound range were trying to eat my bluefish off my jig. My client dropped a mud minnow down on a jig and caught the weakfish.” The weakfish weight 5.5 pounds. Connolly also noted numerous black sea bass were caught on the trip, most around 12 inches but a handful just a hair under the 13-inch minimum size limit. The ocean water temperature along the beach is on the verge of topping the 60-degree mark for good. Ronnie Goodwin of Cherry Grove Pier reported a surface water temperature of 62 degrees Thursday at 4 p.m., a day after a reading of 59 was recorded. Goodwin reports bluefish and flounder have made a showing on the pier this week, plus the regular whiting and croaker. A few of the flounder measured 14 inches, just under the 15-inch minimum size limit. “They’re catching a decent whiting here and there,” Goodwin said.

Offshore

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

Comments: The South Carolina Wahoo series was on fire earlier this week, topped by a 105.5-pound smoker weighed in by Trae Everett and the crew of Reelist out of St. Helena. Renegade out of Mt. Pleasant weighed in an 88.3-pounder last Friday. Both of those boats still have one fishing day to declare in the tournament which concludes Sunday. With the wahoo bite on, trolling boats are also after blackfin tuna and dolphin. With warmer weather and water on tap, the number and size of dolphin will increase in the next 2-3 weeks as the species moves in from the south and southeast. Bottom, or reef fishing has been excellent, especially in depths of 90 feet and beyond. Look for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, amberjack, grey triggerfish, white grunts and red porgy. Only a few more weeks remain in the annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure, which is in effect through April 30. Red snapper are closed indefinitely in the South Atlantic region and must be released.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, , bass, crappie, catfish.

Comments: The weather finally turned nice at mid-week, and the action on the rivers has been excellent. “There’s been a lot, a lot of fish caught,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Crappie, bream, quite a few bass. Everything’s still pulling up shallow to spawn. Most of your nicer fish are being caught in 3-4 feet of water.” Bream action is very good in that 3-4 feet range with fish hitting both crickets and worms. “I’ve been seeing some nice, big bream,” said Stalvey. Bass are in spawning mode and are hitting senkos, trick worms, craw-type baits and diving crank baits.

New red drum limits being considered

April 7, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on New red drum limits being considered


New limits on red drum fishing appear imminent, S.C. Wahoo Series picks up

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

April 06, 2018 05:05 PM

Updated April 06, 2018 05:10 PM

Both bodies of the South Carolina Legislature are in near-unanimous agreement that new, more restrictive laws are needed to protect the Palmetto State’s population of red drum, but there are simultaneous bills under consideration by the two bodies, with one difference.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved its version of the bill by a 106-1 vote.

The House version includes a ban on gigging of red drum to go with a reduction in the daily bag limit from three fish per person per day to two, and a first-time boat limit of six red drum per day.

The Senate version, approved in mid-February by a 40-0 vote, includes the same reduction in the bag limit and the new boat limit but does not include the ban on gigging of red drum.
Breaking News

Be the first to know when big news breaks

With the Senate and the House in agreement that the reduction in bag limit is needed, Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina Executive Director Scott Whitaker is optimistic some version of the bill will be passed during the current legislative session.

“Both pieces of legislation have passed through their respective bodies by an overwhelming majority vote and made the important cross over date for legislation to proceed,” said Whitaker on Friday morning. “Everyone in the General Assembly that we have spoken with understands the importance of this action and to their credit, no one we are aware of has any opposition to change.

“We believe they will come to a consensus on the two versions and that we will see much needed new regulations on red drum very shortly.”

If a version of the bills is passed it would become law upon being signed by Gov. Henry McMaster.
S.C. Wahoo Series

After a March to forget weather-wise, the S.C. Wahoo Series got rolling when April arrived on Easter Sunday.

Just over half the field of 128 boats, 65 to be exact, took advantage of decent seas on Sunday and Monday to make the lengthy run offshore to target wahoo, and there were plenty of nice fish weighed in.

“There had been a lot of sitting around, but there was a lot going on for a few days,” said series director Marc Pincus.

The tournament format allows competing boats to fish two days and weigh in one wahoo per day during the event, which opened on Feb. 2 and runs through April 15.

The heaviest cumulative weight of two wahoo determines the winner.

LIQRBOX out of Charleston, headed by Charlie Aimar, weighed in the largest wahoo yet on Monday at Toler’s Cove Marina, an 87.1-pounder.

That fish paired well with the 61.8-pounder the crew weighed on March 24, giving them the top two-fish aggregate thus far at 148.9 pounds.

Monday was quite a day at Georgetown Landing Marina, one of three weigh-in spots for the series, with three wahoo over 75 pounds weighed in.

Leading the way was Jason Johnson of Conway and his crew aboard Kings Full, which weighed in an 85.5-pounder, good for the second-largest wahoo overall with one day still to fish.

My Boat, headed by Derrick Blanton of Murrells Inlet, weighed in its first fish, an 84.1-pounder, the event’s third largest wahoo thus far.

Jess Fisher and crew of Deal Maker out of Murrells Inlet weighed in a 75.7-pounder Monday, then on Wednesday completed their run in the series with their second wahoo, a 53.0-pounder.

Pincus said 25 boats declared fishing days on Friday, but numerous boats still must declare fishing days before the series concludes.

April heats up the fishing

April 6, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on April heats up the fishing


Fishing improving off Grand Strand coast as water temperatures increase

By Gregg Holshouser

For the Sun News

April 05, 2018 05:33 PM

Estuary

Look For: Red drum, black drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, sheepshead.

Comments: April has arrived, and fishing, as usual this time of year, is on an upswing. “We’re not breaking records but fishing is improving,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters. “The air temperature and water temperature has improved.” Kelly has focused on the Intracoastal Waterway’s main channels in the Little River area this week and has had success with red drum and black drum, using mud minnows on popping corks along with mud minnows, cut shrimp and Gulp shrimp fished on a 1/4-ounce jig heads on the bottom. On Thursday, Kelly’s crew caught red drum, black drum and one flounder under South Carolina’s minimum size limit of 15 inches. Flounder catches are poised to take off at any time, with decent catches of the flatfish already reported in areas such as Cherry Grove Inlet and Murrells Inlet.
Inshore

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

Comments: Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters headed out on a charter earlier this week in search of the elusive 13-inch keeper black sea bass, at least on near-shore bottom spots. Maples started out at Paradise Reef, three miles east of Murrells Inlet, and then hit the 10-Mile Reef, also east of the inlet. He found black sea bass, but no keepers (along with a few weakfish at Paradise Reef). Eventually, Maples wound up going out to depths of 70 feet to find keeper black sea bass and caught plenty in the 13-14 inch range plus a large 2.5-pounder. Maples also noted his customers caught numerous bluefish at the 10-Mile Reef, a sign of good things to come. “We caught a ton of bluefish, so I would say within a week we should be seeing Spanish (mackerel),” said Maples. “They come up with those blues – it’s got to be time.” Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reported a water temperature of 59 degrees Thursday morning, a day after it had topped out at the 60-degree mark but dropped back into the 50s overnight. Wallace reports small whiting and croaker continue to be the main catch in the surf.
Offshore

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

Comments: The seas finally calmed enough Sunday and Monday for numerous boats to get offshore to see what trolling action held in store. Most boats were targeting wahoo and competing in the S.C. Wahoo Series, and the monsters of the mackerel family were receptive. Capt. Buddy Smith was among the crew of Jeff Drake’s The Law, which used its first of two fishing days allowed in the series on Sunday. Smith reported the crew went two of three on wahoo bites and came in early to weigh in a 71.6-pounder. The crew fished the south side of the Winyah Scarp and also caught one blackfin tuna and one king mackerel. “The water temperature was 69.5 degrees, a little on the cool side,” said Smith. “There was a little bit of mid-level bait, (but) no flying fish.” A few dolphin have been caught but the real push from the south is likely a few weeks away. Bottom fishing is very good for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, amberjack, grey triggerfish, white grunts and red porgy, especially in depths of 90 feet and beyond. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect through April 30. Also, red snapper are closed indefinitely in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, , bass, crappie, catfish.

Comments: The water temperature has made a nice jump over the last week, up to the lower-to-mid 60s, and the fish are responding. Bream action is on a definite upswing. “A lot of bream on crickets and worms, 3-4 feet deep,” said Ronald ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Some are still lead-lining (with worms on the bottom), but the fish are pulling up (to shallower water).” April is the season for bedding bass in coastal South Carolina, but it’s not quite prime time. “It’s iffy – we’ve got some fish on the beds, some are roaming around searching,” said Stalvey, who recommends throwing Texas-rigged style baits or topwater for bass. Catfish catches are excellent with bream and shad currently serving as prime baits.