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Sharks offshore Murrells Inlet

May 25, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Sharks offshore Murrells Inlet


A large shark thrashes off the gunwale of the boat Painkiller on Wednesday offshore of Murrells Inlet. Submitted photo
Outdoors
Grand Strand Fishing: Bait ball produces large shark, nice cobia off the coast

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
May 24, 2018 05:51 PM

Updated May 24, 2018 07:34 PM
Estuary

Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, bluefish, sheepshead

Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters had a solid outing on Thursday, highlighted by a four-pound flounder that measured about 22 inches. Kelly netted finger mullet and found that red drum and flounder preferred them over mud minnows. Kelly presented the mullet on 1/4-ounce jig heads and said the best action was on a falling tide. Kelly has also caught black drum and noted a water temperature in the lower to mid 70s. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle reports the black drum bite has been on in Murrells Inlet. Flounder, red drum and bluefish are also being caught in the inlet plus a few spotted seatrout. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service had a decent day on Tuesday in the Winyah Bay vicinity, producing three reds and two trout. McDonald noted that bait – menhaden and mullet but not shrimp – is plentiful in the bay. “It’s thick, you can walk on it,” said McDonald, who observed a water temperature in the 76-77 degree range. “You can get any size mullet you want.”

Inshore

Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, cobia, weakfish, spadefish, flounder, whiting, pompano, croaker, black drum

Comments: May is the month for migrating cobia along the Carolina coast, affording anglers an opportunity to catch a sizable, tasty, hard-fighting fish close to the beach. Case in point, the latest edition of Dr. Jason Rosenberg’s Wednesday Fishing With Friends expedition aboard his 32-foot Contender, Painkiller. The crew, with Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing at the helm, originally had designs to head out to the Georgetown Hole to troll for dolphin, tuna and wahoo. But the seas were too dicey and they turned around after an hour. A good ways before reaching the Murrells Inlet sea buoy, the crew noticed a bait ball and quickly jigged up some pinfish. They deployed the pinfish to the bottom near the bait ball and hooked up with a sizable shark. As the shark, in the 150-pound range, neared the boat a curious cobia appeared to check out the commotion. The cobia ate when a pinfish was pitched to it, and the battle was on about the time the shark broke off. After a spirited battle, the cobia, which wound up weighing 42-pounds, was gaffed and brought aboard. On the near-shore reefs, look for black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, weakfish and flounder, plus be on the lookout for a cobia to show up around the boat. Along the beach, Richard O’Leary of 14th Ave. Pier in Myrtle Beach reports whiting, croaker, black drum and pompano are being caught, plus sharks are roaming the pilings. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports a spot run has picked up in intensity over the last few days, with whiting, blues and Spanish mackerel also available. The water temperature Thursday at midday at the Cherry Grove Pier was 76 degrees on the surface, 73 on the bottom.

Offshore

Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, barracuda, yellowfin tuna, grouper, amberjack, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, red porgy, triggerfish, white grunts.

Comments: The 51st annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament is underway with the first day of fishing on Thursday, and 51 of the 59 boats registered for the tournament were fishing. The boats can fish two of three days, Thursday through Saturday. As of 5 p.m., the fleet had released five blue marlin, five sailfish and one white marlin, plus two boats were reportedly hooked up with billfish. Aside from the tournament, trolling has been very productive of late for dolphin and blackfin tuna with a few wahoo mixed in. As for bottom fishing, ledges and hard bottom areas are producing black sea bass, vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish, red porgy, white grunts, amberjack and grouper, especially scamp. Red snapper can also be found on the reefs, but must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: “For once all the river levels are right and the fishing cannot get much better,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “It’s amazed me the fish I’ve seen this week.” Action for bream, bass and catfish has been very good. “Bream are hitting crickets and worms, popping bugs and beetle spins on the sides of the rivers, in coves and in lakes off the river,” said Stalvey. Bass action is best early and late in the day. Lures working best, according to Stalvey, include Baby Brush Hogs, Senkos and top-water Bang-O-Lures. Catfish action is very good on cut eels or most any cut bait, and bream.


The crew of Painkiller out of Murrells Inlet shows off the 42-pound cobia they landed on Wednesday. Submitted photo

51st Annual Georgetown Bluefish Tournament

May 19, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on 51st Annual Georgetown Bluefish Tournament


The docks will be full next Thursday through Saturday at Georgetown Landing Marina for the 51st annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament. The crowd last May for the 50th annual tournament is shown here. South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
Outdoors
Why this iconic Grand Strand fishing tournament will have its hands full this year

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

May 18, 2018 05:11 PM

A year after the big one – the 50th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament – this venerable tournament heads into its next half-century.

Of course, for a tournament that is the oldest billfish tournament in the state of South Carolina and one of the oldest along the East Coast, they all are big ones.

Ironically, the field of boats competing in the 51st annual tournament, which is set for fishing next Thursday through Saturday (May 24-26) out of Georgetown Landing Marina, will likely be larger than last year’s historic event.

A year ago, unfavorable weather put a damper on the number of boats competing and the field wound up at 44 boats.

After the number of boats in last week’s South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series opener at Bohicket Marina was up, the trend is continuing for Georgetown.

“I’m trying to figure out where I’m going to put 57 boats,” Ed Keelin, Operations Manager of Georgetown Landing Marina, said with a laugh on Thursday. “I’m prepared for a few more boats to show up. All the tournaments are way up in their numbers. I guess with the way the economy is running more boats are participating, more are showing up.”

The public is invited to the weigh-ins at Georgetown Landing Marina on all three days of fishing.

“The boats should start coming in about 5 p.m.,” said Keelin. “We’ve got plenty of beer, plenty of drinks, plenty of T-shirts.”

The crowd can expect to see the meatfish species – wahoo, tuna, dolphin – weighed in, but if a blue marlin is brought to the scales, watch out.

“If they find out a blue marlin’s coming in, all of a sudden the crowd triples,” said Keelin.

The federal minimum size for a blue marlin to be harvested is 99 inches, measured from fork of the tail to tip of the lower jaw.

In S.C. Governor’s Cup events, though, a blue marlin must measure 105 inches to be brought to the dock. If the fish is short, the offending boat would be penalized 600 points.

There will be a group of boats that call Georgetown Landing Marina their home port competing in the tournament, including Beach House, Big Kahuna, Big Sky, Bruno, Christy II, Mirage, Miss Wy, Nauti Girl and Rascal.

One man has been right there with the tournament every step of the way.

Jim Johnston, owner of Blue Sky, has competed in all 50 tournaments and is gearing up to start on another half-century of blue-water fishing in the event.

Johnston was the angler on the first blue marlin ever caught in the tournament, a 216-pounder brought aboard Bonanza, a 23-foot Formula, in 1969.

In 1974, Johnston and his longtime fishing buddy, Bony Peace, won the tournament aboard Jackpot, a 31-foot Bertram. Then Johnston made it back-to-back victories in 1975 aboard Sugar Tango.

Mister Pete won the series opener, the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament, last Saturday after releasing four blue marlin, good for 2,400 points.

Full Pull was second after releasing two blue marlin, two sailfish and one white marlin, for 1,900 points. Artemis was third with three blue marlin releases, good for 1,800 points.
SALTT finale

The final event of the 2017-18 school year in the Student Angler League Tournament Trail was held on May 6 out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown.

The trail is open to middle school and high school anglers targeting red drum and largemouth bass in separate categories.

Ashton Rouhselang and Lance Cooper of Conway Middle School claimed first place in the Red Drum Division with an aggregate of 6.61 pounds including the largest red drum at 3.82 pounds.

Wyatt Moore fished solo with his dad at the helm and finished second with an aggregate of 4.81 pounds. Noah Payne and Kadyn Kellahan of Andrews High School finished third with 4.26 pounds.

Charlie Holmes and Briggs Causey of Conway High School won first place in the Bass Division with an aggregate of 9.86 pounds.

Marshall Sasser and Kel Owens of Georgetown High School took second place, right on the heels of the winners with 9.84 pounds.

Andrew Ackerman and Jeremy Owens, also of Georgetown High School, finished third with 9.69 pounds.

St. James High School angler Andrew Vereen weighed in the lunker bass, a 3.90-pounder.

With the six SALTT events completed, the trail champions were honored.

Payne and Kellahan won the High School Redfish Division with a cumulative weight of 27.00 pounds while Rouhselang and Cooper won the Middle School Redfish Division with a weight of 28.48 pounds.

Bennett Lawshe and Matt Caines of Waccamaw High School captured the High School Bass Division with a cumulative weight of 36.24 pounds while Oliver Bomar and Conner Strickland of Georgetown Middle School won the Middle School Bass Division with 23.59 pounds.

SALTT founder and coordinator Coach Rayburn Poston is pleased with the progress of his student trail with the completion of its fourth season.

“I’m grateful to see a high retention rate each year along with the addition of new members,” said Poston. “The kids were already talking about next season.”
If you go

What: 51st annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament.

Where: Georgetown Landing Marina, Georgetown.

Fishing Days:Thursday through Saturday (May 24-26), scales open 5 p.m. each day, open to the public.

Information:www.GeorgetownLandingMarina.com; 843-546-1776.

Blue Marlin Biting

May 19, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Blue Marlin Biting


Blue marlin are among the species biting offshore recently. The Sun News file photo
Outdoors
What fishermen are finding as offshore trolling action remains torrid

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

May 18, 2018 04:47 PM

Estuary

Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, bluefish, sheepshead.

Comments: A little over a decade ago, the South Carolina legislature enacted the first-ever limits on black drum in Palmetto State waters. The original slot limit of 14-27 inches and daily bag limit of five fish per person are still in place, and it shows. “It seems like the last 3-4 years the black drum fishing has been incredible,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River. While the flounder fishing and red drum fishing have tapered off a bit this week for Kelly, the black drum bite has continued to be very good, with fish hitting fresh cut shrimp or blue crab quarters. Plenty of bluefish also have been available, wanted or not. “It seems like there’s a bunch of blues around anywhere you’re fishing for flounder or reds,” said Kelly, who noted a water temperature in the low 70s in Little River Inlet close to the ocean, but in the upper 70s back into the Intracoastal Waterway. Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions has caught red drum and flounder in Murrells Inlet. “I’ve caught the reds on fresh cut mullet at low tide,” said Connolly. “”(The flounder), there’s a lot of small fish still,” said Connolly. South Carolina’s flounder limits include a 15-inch minimum size limit and daily bag limits of 10 per person and 20 per boat.

Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, weakfish, spadefish, flounder, whiting, pompano, croaker, black drum

Comments: Blues and Spanish mackerel continue to be the hot species in the near-shore waters and they can be found in the vicinity of near-shore artificial reefs, near inlet passes, along the beach and from Grand Strand Fishing Piers. Connolly got into some of the Spanish mackerel action early this week near Paradise Reef, located three miles east of Murrells Inlet. Connolly trolled mackerel trees on a No. 1 planer and caught 10 Spanish in one hour. “It was a pretty good bite for a while,” Connolly said. Slow-trolling live menhaden, mullet or blues can also produce Spanish near the reefs, and possibly a shot at king mackerel or cobia. Be on the lookout for inquisitive cobia while fishing the artificial reefs. Another popular species to target in May on the reefs is spadefish, which prefer cannonball jellyfish. Also look for weakfish, black sea bass, bluefish and flounder on the reefs. The Spanish and bluefish action has been good on the piers, also. “They’ve been doing really well with them,” said Wick Fisher of the Cherry Grove Pier. Also look for whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum and flounder off the piers. The surface water temperature at Apache Pier was 72 degrees Thursday at midday.
Offshore

Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, barracuda, yellowfin tuna, grouper, amberjack, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, red porgy, triggerfish, white grunts.

Comments: It’s mid-May, and the offshore waters are producing some awesome catches on trolling trips. Capt. Buddy Smith and crew aboard Underdog out of Murrells Inlet produced 20 dolphin up to 18 pounds, two blackfin tuna and released a blue marlin in the 225-250 pound range last Saturday. Smith says the tuna were caught near the break and the dolphin offshore of the break. “If you have a weed line or flying fish you might find (dolphin) on the break, and there’s been some wahoo on the break,” said Smith. “The blue marlin bite is 50 fathoms and on out.” Trolling on the break can also produce king mackerel, barracuda and bonito. Don’t forget about the bottom fishing, either. Ledges and hard bottom areas in depths of 100 feet and deeper are producing black sea bass, vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish, red porgy, white grunts, amberjack and grouper, especially scamp. Red snapper are also inhabiting the reefs, but must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: “We really are in the summertime mode,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Summertime mode means the bream are hitting crickets and worms in 2-4 feet of water on all the local rivers, including the Little Pee Dee, Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw and the ICW. Stalvey also notes crappie are taking the crickets and worms as well. Summertime mode also means bass are hitting top-water lures such as buzz baits and Bang-O-Lures plus wacky-rigged Senkos early and late in the day. Stalvey called catfish action “amazing,” with fish taking live bream, cut eel and frozen shad. Stalvey noted the Little Pee Dee remains low, with rain needed. “This storm has the weather people scratching their heads,” said Stalvey. “The Little Pee Dee is about to dry up if we don’t get some water soon.”