Brewer Cannon shows off a flounder while Capt. Mark Allison of Palmetto Kids Fishing Camp looks on. Captain Smiley Fishing Charters
How a local sea captain’s efforts are producing responsible fishermen of tomorrow
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
July 20, 2018 05:45 PM Updated July 20, 2018 05:55 PM
Capt. Patrick Kelly’s summer camp vision has come to fruition.
A year ago, Kelly, owner/operator of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River, had the idea of founding a camp designed to teach youngsters the intricacies of boating and fishing, and respecting the environment along the Carolina coast.
So last summer Kelly invited about a dozen youngsters on a fishing trip that was essentially a test run for his fishing camp concept.
“We took that group of kids out to see how we’d do it, then we organized it this winter and put it together,” said Kelly. “It’s definitely in the building phase – there’s been an extreme amount of interest in this.”
This summer, Kelly’s Palmetto Kids Fishing Camp for ages 9 to 17 was born, based out of Cricket Cove Marina.
Kelly and his group of captains, all who have completed South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Fishing Instructor certification, finished the fifth of six sessions of the camp this week.
“I love it,” said Kelly. “I’ve been in the charter business for 18 years and this has by far been the highlight of my fishing charter business. I thought it was about taking people to catch as many fish as possible. I think taking these kids out has been the most humbling and rewarding experience to me. I can’t wait to do it again next summer.”
Kelly still has one session of camp left this summer, set for August 7-10.
Each session consists of four-hour trips each morning for four straight days (7-11 a.m. Tuesday through Friday).
Kelly’s classroom is the saltwater estuaries around Little River and southern Brunswick County, N.C., including areas such as the Intracoastal Waterway, Dunn Sound and Tubbs Inlet.
One of the main focuses is to teach camp attendees the intricacies of catching fish such as red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum and flounder.
Campers learn much more, though, as they receive expert instruction on subjects such as fish identification, knot tying, basic boating rules and safety and catching bait with a cast net.
In the age where it can be difficult to pry youngsters away from smart phones, computers or video games, Kelly’s camp offers an excellent diversion.
“I took a kid last week, his father said he had a bad addiction to video games and it was hard to get him to do anything,” said Kelly. “He caught his first fish at the camp – he caught a bunch of fish. Now he’s hooked on fishing.
“I think we can make a difference in getting kids off the computers, off the video games and get them outside.”
The marine environment on the entire globe is being threatened by trash in the water – especially the massive amount of plastic that makes its way into the waterways.
Disposing of trash in an ethical manner and helping clean up the waterways are key points Kelly and his cohorts drive home with the youngsters.
“We try to pick up trash on every day of camp but on the last day, we take an extra 45 minutes and pick up trash,” said Kelly. “We tell them, you’ve got to give to get. It’s funny, it seems like on the last day we have the best fishing. You take care of (the environment), it’ll take care of you.”
For more information on the Palmetto Kids Fishing Camp visit www.captainsmileyfishingcharters.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-361-7445.
S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
The fifth and final stop in the 2018 series is under way with the Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament out of The Marina at Edisto Beach.
The tournament opened on Thursday with all 36 boats declaring a fishing day. The field had a fantastic day with sailfish, releasing 64 with two blue marlin also released.
Only two of the 36 boats, DayMaker and El Tejano, opted to fish during what wound up being a deluge of rain on Friday. The remaining 34 boats will fish their second day on Saturday, the final day of fishing in the tournament and the series.
Syked Out released eight sailfish for 1600 points on Thursday and holds the lead entering Saturday’s final day of fishing. Lady S and Reel Passion are tied for second place with 1,000 points.
The series is finishing with a flurry, with tournaments on back-to-back weekends.
A week ago, Georgetown Landing Marina entry Rascal held the lead with 1,100 points entering the final day of fishing last Saturday in the Megadock Billfishing Tournament at City Marina in Charleston.
But, while Rascal added one sailfish release to finish with 1,300 points, the crew of Man Cave released four sailfish to earn the victory with 1,800 points.
Sara Gressette, wife of Man Cave owner/captain Billy Gressette, was the superstar angler of the tournament, serving as the angler on all seven billfish (one blue marlin, six sailfish) the crew released.
Two boats will be in a battle on the final day to earn the title of top boat in the overall series standings. In unofficial point totals, Mister Pete enters the final day with 6,475 points ahead of Sportin’ Life with 6,075.
Dr. Jason Rosenberg, Ruby Rosenberg, Capt. Jay Sconyers, Lainey Rosenberg and Zachary Rosenberg show off their mackerel catch from Wednesday aboard Painkiller out of Murrells Inlet. Courtesy Dr. Jason Rosenberg
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Rain hasn’t hampered fishing in ocean or rivers
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
July 19, 2018 06:12 PM
Look For: Flounder, black drum, red drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, ladyfish, bluefish, tarpon.
Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has had a few productive trips this week in the Winyah Bay vicinity. On Monday, McDonald’s crew caught five flounder including four keepers over the 15-inch minimum size limit, plus a few red drum and spotted seatrout. On Thursday, McDonald produced six reds, two flounder, two trout and two ladyfish, all caught on finger mullet. “There are plenty of mullet out there,” said McDonald, “and fishing’s been better than it was the last few weeks.” Look for tarpon roaming Winyah Bay and estuaries to the south. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters has endured a rainy week in the Little River vicinity, but has caught plenty of red drum and black drum, along with flounder. On Thursday, Kelly found reds in “super shallow water” in the creeks, but they were easily spooked. Kelly has caught the reds and flounder on live finger mullet while live shrimp are working for the black drum. An angler on one of Kelly’s other boats caught a 7-pound flounder. “It’s been a wet week, but it didn’t seem to interrupt the fishing,” said Kelly.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: Dr. Jason Rosenberg’s typical Wednesday Fishing with Friends aboard his 32-foot Contender, Painkiller, had a bit of a twist this week – it was Wednesday Fishing with Family. Rosenberg and Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing were joined by Rosenberg’s two daughters, Lainey and Ruby, and son, Zachary, and slow-trolling cigar minnows for mackerel was on the docket. Lainey Rosenberg, 14, was the angler of the day, first catching a lunker 5 1/2-pound Spanish mackerel near Belky Bear, then capping the day with a 35-pound king mackerel near Buoy City. Lainey fought the king for 45 minutes on a Penn 4500 spinning reel, before Sconyers gaffed the smoker and pulled it aboard. Also on the quick trip, Ruby caught her first king mackerel and Zachary also caught a king, both in the 10-pound range. “It was an amazing fish for an amazing kid with a very small fishing rod,” said Dr. Rosenberg, “and we made it home just before the storms. It was the perfect day.” On the near-shore artificial reefs, look for spadefish, flounder, black sea bass and weakfish, with Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia also roaming the vicinity around the reefs. Sharks are also on the reefs, including some big ones. Morgan Marohl of the Cherry Grove Pier reported a balmy water temperature reading of 86 degrees Thursday afternoon. Marohl reports whiting, croaker, black drum, spadefish and a few tripletail have been caught off the pier this week, but no kings and few Spanish mackerel.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: Boats trolling inshore of the break on live bottom areas in 80-100 feet of water have had scattered catches of king mackerel, barracuda, dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna and even a few sailfish. Further out, near the break (the Continental Shelf) and beyond, dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, sailfish and blue marlin are in the trolling mix, with yellowfin tuna a possibility. Bottom fishing continues to be excellent for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack, with best action in depths over 100 feet. Anglers are catching plenty of red snapper but the species cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: “Fishing’s been phenomenal,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Thank God we did get some rain because the rivers were about to dry up. The river levels are right, right now.” Stalvey said bream are hitting crickets and worms “shallow and deep.” Catfish action remains good on fresh eel and live bream, both on bush hooks and by rod-and-reel. “The top-water bite has been amazing lately (for bass),” said Stalvey, who suggests using buzz baits and Bang-O-Lures.
Lainey Rosenberg of Pawleys Island displays a 35-pound king mackerel and 5 1/2-pound Spanish mackerel she caught Wednesday aboard Painkiller out of Murrells Inlet. Courtesy Dr. Jason Rosenberg
Zachary Rosenberg shows off a red snapper caught aboard Painkiller out of Murrells Inlet. Dr. Jason Rosenberg Submitted photo
Here’s the latest on the 2018 red snapper open fishing season
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
July 13, 2018 05:06 PM
Yes, Carolina anglers, there will be an open season for the harvest of red snapper in the South Atlantic region in 2018.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council announced Friday word had been received from NOAA Fisheries that Snapper Grouper Amendment 43 has been approved, which opens the door for a red snapper season at some point in 2018 for both recreational and commercial fishermen.
The red snapper season will likely take place sometime in the month of August, with the announcement of the exact dates upcoming.
For the recreational sector, the bag limit for red snapper will be one fish per person per day with no minimum size limit. The recreational season will be open on weekends only (Friday through Sunday), with the number of weekend openings and exact dates still to be determined.
For the commercial sector, a 75-pound trip limit (gutted weight) with no minimum size limit will be in place. The commercial season will close when the commercial Annual Catch Limit (ACL) is met or projected to be met.
The total ACL for red snapper during the mini-season will be 42,510 fish, with 29,656 fish allocated to the recreational sector.
In the meantime, red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
The fourth leg of the series is well underway out of City Marina in Charleston where the Megadock Billfishing Tournament is being held.
The Megadock has lived up to its reputation as a sailfish bonanza as 30 sailfish, three blue marlin and two white marlin had been released through Friday’s fishing action. The field of 24 boats is eligible to fish two of three days, with the final day of fishing upcoming on Saturday.
The crew of Rascal, with a home port of Georgetown Landing Marina, had an outstanding opening day of the tournament, compiling 1,100 points to sit atop the leaderboard.
Rascal started the opening day with a bang, releasing the first billfish of the tournament, a white marlin at 8:22 a.m. The crew then released four sailfish the rest of the day. Rascal took Friday off and is set to go for the win on Saturday.
Artemis and Man Cave are tied for second with 1,000 points apiece.
Only two boats (Reel Passion and Miss Magnolia) out of the field of 24 have fished out and are not eligible to fish on Saturday.
On Friday, the 13th no less, two boats, Miss Wy and Blue Sky, were struck by lightning according to the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Facebook page, but no one was injured.