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Category Archives: Live Great Outdoors Blog

Fall fishing begins

September 23, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Fall fishing begins

image: fishing boatPhotospin.com

Fall fishing begins, conditions allow boats to get offshore without hurricane effects

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

September 22, 2017 2:33 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: The IFA Redfish Tour returns to Georgetown this weekend with the second and final stop in the tour’s Atlantic Division to be staged at the Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex, located on U.S. 17 on the Sampit River. The registration and captains meeting will be held Friday starting at 5 p.m. with the weigh-in beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday. Anglers competing in the tournament will be targeting red drum that measure within South Carolina’s slot limit of 15 to 23 inches. Plenty of reds are available out there, from juveniles as small as 10 inches to the big bulls that range from 30 to 40-plus inches in length. The fall run of the bulls is just getting underway with the big spawners being caught near area jetties and along the channels of inlets such as Little River Inlet and Winyah Bay. The bulls are also on hand on near-shore hard-bottom spots in the Atlantic. Anglers are urged to catch these fish quickly with beefed up tackle and release them carefully, being sure they are revived before letting them go. These fish represent the red drum’s future in South Carolina waters and should be handled delicately to ensure their survival. Area jetties are currently producing reds, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead and flounder.
Inshore

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

Comments: Edgar Stephens was the man of the day during the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Pier King Tournament on Saturday. Stephens landed king mackerel weighing 24 and 23 pounds, two ounces off the Cherry Grove Pier to win the tournament. Stephens’ kings, which were caught on bluefish 30 minutes apart, were the only two caught in the tournament. Otherwise, fall has officially arrived, meaning red drum, weakfish and black sea bass are the species to target on near-shore hard-bottom areas and artificial reefs. But in the wake of the hurricane train, don’t forget some monster spadefish have taken up residence on many of the near-shore reefs. Weakfish are a staple fish in the autumn, and the fish have started to show. “They’re not really, really thick yet but they’re there,” said Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters, who has landed weakfish and red drum on hard-bottom areas south of Myrtle Beach this week. Catches of king mackerel were hit or miss this week at areas such as the 10-Mile Reef and Belky Bear. Maples fished the area and found dirty water. “The (water) color just isn’t right,” said Maples. Scott Skrzydlinski of Cherry Grove Pier reports a nice variety of species were landed early in the week off the pier including whiting, croaker, black drum, red drum, flounder, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Skrzydlinski also noted good numbers of sheepshead were caught from the pilings early in the week. The surface water temperature at the pier at 4:55 p.m. Thursday was 81 degrees on the surface and 79 on the bottom.
Offshore

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

Comments: At mid-week, conditions were finally suitable for boats to get offshore after the effects of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose. Trolling was hit or miss, but some boats had good catches of wahoo, dolphin and blackfin tuna. The 100/400 area was good for the Dirty Martini on Wednesday, with Jeff Martini’s crew landing four wahoo, four blackfin tuna, two dolphin and a king mackerel. Martini, owner/operator of Mid-Town Bistro in North Myrtle Beach, reported blue 81-degree water and plentiful baby flying fish in the vicinity, in 170 feet of water. Bottom fishing should be very good this fall, especially after the parade of hurricanes ends, hopefully soon. Look for grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, red porgy, triggerfish and amberjack on bottom spots in depths of 90-130 feet of water. Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing out of Murrells Inlet produced a super catch of vermilion snapper, triggerfish, black sea bass and amberjack on a Thursday trip. Anglers should be aware that cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Also, red snapper must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.

Comments: The water remains high on local rivers. The Waccamaw River is still near minor flood stage, at 10.57 feet as of 4:15 p.m. Thursday in Conway, but was forecast to recede. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was at 7.73 feet at 4 p.m. Thursday and receding. Areas farther down the rivers such as the Ricefields are good to fish in high water. Bream are hitting crickets fished deep, with bass taking top-water lures such as buzzbaits, frogs and spinnerbaits. Catfish will take fresh, cut eels, plus cut bait such as mullet, menhaden or shad.

Hurricane has impact on local fishing

September 16, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Hurricane has impact on local fishing

image: gregg holshouser
Red drum (above) and black drum have been the hottest species in the near-shore waters following the effects of Hurricane Irma early in the week, with fish caught from Grand Strand piers, the surf, area jetties and near-shore hard-bottom areas. Submitted photo
Outdoors
How Hurricane Irma’s effects are slowing fishing action locally

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

September 15, 2017 6:52 PM

When a major hurricane blows through, it takes a good while for ocean conditions to return to normal, even if the center of the storm passes hundreds of miles to the west, like Hurricane Irma did on Monday.

Irma made its mark in the history books for devastating the Florida Keys and causing significant damage on a northward trek through the entire length of the Florida peninsula.

Locally, the wind field and bands from the massive storm created gusts to over 50 mph, with the persistent east-northeast wind churning up massive waves that obliterated beach re-nourishment projects on the south end of the Grand Strand and caused some coastal flooding at high tide on Monday.

Conditions quickly settled starting on Tuesday after the storm wound down, but anglers have found out fishing is far from normal.

Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet specializes in near-shore fishing in the Atlantic, and had his first charter post-Irma on Friday.

Maples headed to Paradise Reef, located 3 miles east of the inlet. The reef had been producing large Spanish mackerel along with flounder and weakfish for Maples prior to the storm’s passage.

“The water is kind of greenish, but not clear,” said Maples. “You can tell it’s still kind of churned up. The water is green, just not it’s normal color of green.”

Bait is plentiful, however, Maples said.

“There’s plenty of mullet in the creeks (in the inlet) and mullet and pogys (menhaden) along the beach,” said Maples.

Maples loaded up his live well with numerous finger mullet and headed to Paradise Reef Friday morning. He went through the same routine he did prior to the storm of live-chumming finger mullet to get the Spanish active and to the surface, but to no avail.

“We couldn’t get the Spanish to come up,” said Maples. “I saw schools of fish on the fish finder, and we dumped hundreds of mullet out, but nothing.”

Maples also dropped finger mullet to the bottom in search of flounder and weakfish.

“We were sitting on our normal flounder spot, but we caught no flounder, and wound up catching black sea bass and one (16-inch weakfish),” said Maples. “We even stayed a little longer than normal trying to get them going. We’re all trying to figure out what the heck is going on out there.”

Now, according to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Jose is expected to pass between Bermuda and the Carolinas this weekend, bringing increasing waves and winds to local near-shore waters on the storm’s periphery.

Early next week, the wind and seas will begin a decreasing trend as Jose pulls away to the Northeast. Then, look for the much-anticipated excellent fall fishing to finally kick in by the middle of next week.

For now, red drum and black drum are providing the best near-shore action, with fish being caught at area jetties, in the surf, on near-shore hard-bottom areas and from Grand Strand piers the last few days.
Red Snapper

Irma also blew out the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting scheduled for last Monday in Charleston.

The meeting has been rescheduled for Sept. 25-29 at the same venue – the Town and Country Inn located at 2008 Savannah Highway in Charleston.

On Monday, Sept. 25, the council will consider an emergency action to allow a limited fishing season in 2017 for red snapper for the recreational and commercial sectors in the South Atlantic region.

The public can comment on the red snapper issue before the council on Sept. 25. Public comment is also currently being accepted online at http://safmc.net/2017-september-council-meeting/.

Amendment 43, which considers options for managing red snapper in 2018 and future years, is also on the SAFMC agenda for the meeting.
Lee Conner

Members of the Murrells Inlet fishing community are mourning the loss of Capt. Lee Conner, who passed away on Sept. 7 at the age of 58.

Conner, a 1976 graduate of Socastee High School, operated area private boats such as the Mind Set, Ashley B and Large Time beginning in the 1980s.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at Burroughs Funeral Home in Murrells Inlet. The family will receive friends beginning at noon.

Memorial contributions in Conner’s name can be made to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL, 33607 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 39105.

Meeting on legislation rescheduled in lieu of hurricane

September 16, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Meeting on legislation rescheduled in lieu of hurricane

image: red snapper
On Monday, Sept. 25, the council will consider an emergency action to allow a limited fishing season in 2017 for red snapper for the recreational and commercial sectors in the South Atlantic region. TNS
Outdoors

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

September 15, 2017 5:50 PM

Irma also blew out the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting scheduled for last Monday in Charleston.

The meeting has been rescheduled for Sept. 25-29 at the same venue – the Town and Country Inn located at 2008 Savannah Highway in Charleston.

On Monday, Sept. 25, the council will consider an emergency action to allow a limited fishing season in 2017 for red snapper for the recreational and commercial sectors in the South Atlantic region.

The public can comment on the red snapper issue before the council on Sept. 25. Public comment is also currently being accepted online at http://safmc.net/2017-september-council-meeting/.

Amendment 43, which considers options for managing red snapper in 2018 and future years, is also on the SAFMC agenda for the meeting.

Gregg Holshouser: wholshouser@sc.rr.com