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Category Archives: Live Great Outdoors Blog

Spanish Mackerel are back!

July 14, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Spanish Mackerel are back!

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Dennis Caruso tosses a line during a recent visit to the Myrtle Beach State Park Pier. Janet Blackmon Morgan jblackmon@thesunnews.com
Outdoors
July 13, 2017 6:37 PM
Improved conditions lure Spanish mackerel back to the area, much to anglers’ delight

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

Estuary

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

Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown produced a solid catch of nine red drum on a Wednesday trip in the Winyah Bay vicinity, and one surprise – an 8.5-pound sheepshead. On Monday, it was more drum action for McDonald as his crew caught eight reds and four black drum while floating cut shrimp and finger mullet. Two of the reds were over the 15- to 23-inch slot limit, measuring 24.5 and 26 inches. On the north end, Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Charters said “it’s been a roller coaster ride of fishing this week.” Catches were slim for much of the week for Kelly, until Thursday. Kelly found good action on a rising tide in the Little River area, starting early in the day by catching spotted seatrout on top-water lures such as a Zara Spook. They switched to live shrimp on popping corks and, as Kelly said, “wore the trout out,” including a four-pounder. At high tide, Kelly switched to live bait on 1/4-ounce jig heads, jerk shad and Gulp shrimp to catch flounder and more trout. Kelly also noted large menhaden can be found for bait, and are producing bull reds at the Little River Inlet.
Inshore

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

Comments: After a long windy stretch, sea conditions improved this week along the beach and in the near-shore waters, and so did the fishing. Spanish mackerel catches have been very good, especially in the vicinity of the near-shore artificial reefs such as Paradise, Jim Caudle and Ron McManus. Megan Maples of Reel Salty Charters reports a super catch of Spanish while trolling jigfish on Thursday at Paradise Reef, located three miles east of Murrells Inlet. The Reel Salty crew kept 14 Spanish in the 15-20 inch range, plus caught a 20-plus inch weakfish and a sizable bluefish. South Carolina’s new flounder minimum size limit of 15 inches had an impact on the trip, as the crew caught as many as 10 flounder that measured over 14 inches, though all under the 15-inch mark were released. Spadefish have also made a good showing on the near-shore reefs this week. Morgan Marohl of Cherry Grove Pier reports improved action this week with catches of black drum and red drum in the morning and whiting, croaker and pompano in the afternoon. Marohl reported a water temperature of 84 degrees both on the surface and at the bottom late afternoon Thursday.
Offshore

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

Comments: Trolling can still produce some very solid trips in the heat of summer, as Underdog out of Murrells Inlet proved earlier this week. Underdog caught a variety of species including nine blackfin tuna, a pair of dolphin, three king mackerel, a wahoo and an amberjack. There was also plenty of action from barracuda on the trip. Sailfish action is also excellent especially in the Gulf Stream, with scattered fish closer in. Bottom fishing continues to be excellent on bottom spots in depths of 90 feet and beyond. Look for plenty of action from vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, amberjack and grouper. Scamp and gag are the most common grouper species encountered. 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 rivers are in great shape and the catches reflected it this week. Gage Fortson of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle reported a 7-pound largemouth bass was caught on a Bang-O-Lure from the Waccamaw River near Conway earlier this week. River Squires, also of Stalvey’s, reports a 40.6-pound catfish was landed near Conway Marina at the mouth of Kingston Lake. Also, Stalvey’s reported a very nice mess of bream landed from the Little Pee Dee including a big 1.3-pounder. “That was a slab,” said Fortson. Look for bream in 1-4 feet of water on the banks, hitting crickets, red worms or popping bugs.

Megadock Billfishing Tournament held

July 8, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Megadock Billfishing Tournament held

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Blue Sky, owned by Greg Smith of Pawleys Island, is the leader after two days of the Megadock Billfishing Tournament held this weekend out of Charleston City Marina. Cameron Rhodes South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
Outdoors
July 07, 2017 6:37 PM
Local entry Blue Sky gets off to good start in Megadock Billfishing Tournament

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

A little field of boats found plenty of billfish action during the first two days of fishing in the Megadock Billfishing Tournament out of Charleston City Marina.

The tournament is the fourth of five legs in the 2017 South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series.

A surprisingly small field of 19 boats, perhaps due to a sporty marine forecast, released 57 sailfish and 10 blue marlin Thursday and Friday. Twelve of the boats fished both days, leaving seven boats to head out for the final day of fishing on Saturday.

In a field dominated by Charleston-area boats, a Pawleys Island/Georgetown-based entry sat atop the leaderboard after Friday’s offshore action.

Owned by Greg Smith of Pawleys Island, Blue Sky turned in two superb days of fishing to take the unofficial lead with 2,600 points.

On Thursday the Blue Sky crew released one blue marlin (600 points) and four sailfish (200 points each) to compile 1,400 points. On Friday, it was a sailfish bonanza as Blue Sky released six for 1,200 more points.

Gryphon, the Governor’s Cup leader heading into the tournament with 3,675 points, was in second place with 2,200 points. Hammertime was third with 1,800 points.

The final tournament in the series is the Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament, set for July 19-22.
CATT Event

The father-son duo of Timmy and River Squires won the Carolina Anglers Team Trail (CATT) Waccamaw River Summer Qualifier No. 3 last Saturday out of Bucksport Marina.

The Squires weighed in a hefty five-bass limit of 16.72 pounds to earn over $2,100 in the tournament.

The Squires’ big fish was a 5.04-pounder which hit a floating white worm in the Kingston Lake area off the Waccamaw River in Conway said River Squires, an 18-year-old 2017 graduate of Conway High School.

Second place went to Eric Freeman and Cal Marsh with an aggregate of 13.47 pounds. Freeman caught the big fish of the tournament, a 6.20-pounder.

Ronnie Watts and Kevin Pridgen were third with 12.90 pounds followed by Lucas Williams and Charles Purvis in fourth with 12.38 pounds.
Conway Bassmasters Tournament

The Conway Bassmasters Annual River Fest Bass Tournament will be held Saturday out of Bucksport Marina.

Entry fee is $120 per two-person team, with one adult (18 years or older) required to be on each boat. Guaranteed first-place prize money is $1,400. For more information, call Chris Jones at 843-333-8010.

Fishing affected by the heat

July 7, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Fishing affected by the heat

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Fishermen line the public fishing dock at Cherry Grove Park at 53rd Avenue North in North Myrtle Beach. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews.com
Outdoors
July 06, 2017 6:31 PM
Sweltering heat, rough seas make fishing hard to come by on area estuaries, inshore

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

Estuary

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

Comments: “It’s been a little slow, I think the heat and humidity has slowed the bite down,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Charters in Little River. “We’re still catching fish but we’re not getting the same size or numbers.” Kelly continues to target spotted seatrout on top-water lures at daybreak with some success. Later in the day, it’s been black drum, small trout and a few slot red drum hitting finger mullet, shrimp and Berkely Gulp baits. “There’s a lot of pinfish, a lot of bait stealers out there,” said Kelly. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a solid trip on Wednesday in the Winyah Bay vicinity. McDonald’s crew caught 12 red drum, six black drum and four spotted seatrout while floating cut shrimp on grass banks and on oyster beds. McDonald noted a balmy water temperature in the mid-to-upper 80s Wednesday and Thursday. Anglers are reminded South Carolina’s new flounder limits are in effect, with a minimum size limit of 15 inches, a daily bag limit of 10 fish per person and a daily boat limit of 20.
Inshore

Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, spadefish, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, sheepshead and red drum.
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Comments: It’s been a windy and rough week, not exactly what anglers were looking for during the week of the Fourth of July. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters out of Murrells Inlet found a good flounder bite on Paradise Reef, located three miles east of the inlet, early in the week. “Since then it’s been few and far between,” said Maples. Maples has also found weakfish and mainly undersized black sea bass (13-inch minimum size) on the reef in 3- to 5-foot seas. “It was doable but I didn’t want to go any further out,” Maples said. It’s been a week of heavy surf and muddy water along the beach, meaning scattered catches on Grand Strand piers. Scott Skrzydlinski of Cherry Grove Pier reports decent catches of black drum, whiting and croaker but very few blues and Spanish mackerel thanks to the muddy conditions. Skrzydlinski has also seen catches of small pompano and spadefish. The ocean water temperature at Cherry Grove Pier was 80 degrees on the surface at 4:50 p.m. Thursday, and 78 degrees on the bottom.
Offshore

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

Comments: Bottom fishing is very good on bottom spots in depths of 90 feet and beyond, headed by vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, amberjack and grouper. Scamp and gag are the most common grouper species encountered. King mackerel can be found literally anywhere there is bait from the beach to the Gulf Stream, but the best bet is on spots in depths of 50-70 feet. Sailfish action is at a peak in the vicinity of the Gulf Stream, but don’t be surprised to find sails 35-40 miles out in areas such as the Parking Lot. There have been scattered catches of blackfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo by trolling boats. 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 river levels are very good, with the Waccamaw at Conway reading 7.01 feet at 3:15 p.m. Thursday while the Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was at 5.88 at 3 p.m. “The rivers look very good,” said Ronald ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “I’m seeing a lot, a lot, of fish. Bream still, and a lot of catfish.” Most anglers are floating crickets along the banks in 1-4 feet of water for bream. Catfish will hit a variety of baits including black salties, cut eel, cut shad and cut mullet. The heat is on temperature-wise, so bass action is best early and late in the day.