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Category Archives: Live Great Outdoors Blog

Cold weather chills fishing.

December 8, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Cold weather chills fishing.


Dennis Caruso tosses a line from the Myrtle Beach State Park Pier earlier this year. Janet Blackmon Morgan jblackmon@thesunnews.com
Outdoors
Fishing report: Late autumn cold front puts chill on fishing activity

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

UPDATED December 07, 2017 08:55 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: Well, it was great while it lasted. Right on cue with the arrival of December, the superb autumn weather of the last few weeks was swept aside by a cold front Wednesday, sending temperatures and angler activity plummeting. Before the front, fishing was fantastic, especially for spotted seatrout and black drum. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown caught 14 trout, all above the 14-inch minimum size limit, along with several red drum on a Sunday trip in Winyah Bay. McDonald noted a water temperature of 59 degrees, but trending down. All of the fish were caught on plastic grubs. On the north end, Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters ran a trip on Monday and caught four species — trout, black drum, sheepshead and red drum. The trout were most numerous, and Kelly caught them floating shrimp along the ledges of the Intracoastal Waterway in Little River on a falling tide. Kelly caught some of the fish, mainly black drum, on live shrimp presented on the bottom on jig heads.
Inshore

Look For: Weakfish, black sea bass, whiting, croaker, black drum, bluefish.

Comments: Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet hit the beach, that is hard-bottom areas in the ocean north of the inlet, on back-to-back trips Tuesday and Wednesday. Maples found plenty of weakfish holding in the area with numerous nice whiting mixed in. The near-shore artificial reefs such as Paradise and Jim Caudle are producing good numbers of black sea bass, plus weakfish and flounder. The number of keeper black sea bass on hand above the 13-inch minimum size limit should increase with the decrease in water temperature. Ronnie Goodwin of the Cherry Grove Pier reports whiting and croaker were the top catch before the cold front arrived, although most fish were small. Goodwin also noted an occasional black drum in the 10-inch range has been caught, plus a few bluefish. Goodwin observed a water temperature of 60 degrees Wednesday afternoon, but by Thursday at 3 p.m. had dropped to 59 degrees on the surface and 58 on the bottom. Don’t expect the 60-degree water temperature mark to be reached again along the beach until March or April.
Offshore

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

Comments: On Sunday, Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters took advantage of good seas to troll an area just north of the Georgetown Hole. The crew finished the day with six wahoo including a 55-pounder, six blackfin tuna including a 20-pounder, four kings including a 35-pounder, and one dolphin. For an extra thrill, the crew released a sizable sailfish. Carey observed a water temperature of 79 degrees in the vicinity. “I’ve never seen the water that warm out there in December,” said Carey. The largest wahoo was caught on a high-speed trolling lure and two hit rigged mullet on a downrigger. The rest of the fish hit trolled ballyhoo, most combined with Bluewater Candy skirts. The additional weekend of the red snapper mini-season is set for Friday through Sunday (Dec. 8-10) for recreational anglers, with seas looking rough but fishable. The limit is one red snapper per person per day with no minimum size limit. Bottom fishing is excellent for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grouper, red snapper, triggerfish, porgy and white grunts especially in depths over 100 feet. The greater amberjack fishery is closed to harvest for recreational anglers until March 2018. Also, cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Crappie, bream, bass, catfish.

Comments: “I’m not sure what this weather’s going to do, but it’s been good up until today,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway on Wednesday. The rivers, especially the Pee Dee system, have been low, with the Little Pee Dee at 3.79 feet Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Galivants Ferry. “I’m kind of glad we’re getting some rain to raise the levels up a little bit,” Stalvey said. Stalvey pointed to excellent crappie fishing as fall turns into winter, with fish hitting minnows, jigs and beetle spins. Lead-lining on the bottom with nightcrawlers or red worms is the preferred method for catching bream, with Stalvey recommending a two-hook rig. Stalvey reports great bass action, as a five-bass limit of over 14 pounds won the Pee Dee Bassmasters’ monthly tournament out of Bucksport. Stalvey said crankbaits, Texas-rigged worms and craw baits working well.

Nicer weather brings out the fish

December 2, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Nicer weather brings out the fish


Gene Ward of Conway lands a pin fish on the pier at Myrtle Beach State Park. Myrtle Beach residents and visitors can find a natural retreat at Myrtle Beach State Park where guests have access to the beach, fishing pier, a lush maritime Forest and many other attractions. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com
Outdoors
Fishing report: Tranquil seas producing potential for great offshore action

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

November 30, 2017 04:18 PM

UPDATED December 01, 2017 06:36 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service has been known to downplay his catches, so it is of note when the captain says “It’s been kind of good.” McDonald had a couple stellar days this week on Winyah Bay, catching numerous spotted seatrout on plastic grubs on 1/8 or 1/4-ounce jig heads. “It doesn’t seem to make any difference what color,” said McDonald, who noted a water temperature of 55-57 degrees. On the Wednesday trip, McDonald’s crew also caught five red drum, including three keepers within the 15- to 23-inch slot limit, also on grubs. McDonald said the trout ranged up to 18 inches in size. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River took a trio of old fishing buddies out Tuesday and had great success on a rising tide with trout and black drum. The crew caught the black drum on live shrimp fished on the bottom on a 1/4-ounce jig head. The trout were landed on live shrimp fished on adjustable-depth torpedo floats. The crew also caught flounder on Vudu shrimp. “Fishing’s been excellent,” said Kelly. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet had a super catch of a dozen trout and six black drum while floating live shrimp in the creeks of the inlet earlier this week.
Inshore

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

Comments: There is still activity in the surf line as December arrives. “It was real active last weekend with a lot of little stuff,” said Steve Gann of Cherry Grove Pier. On into the week, catches of whiting, croaker and pompano have come in off the pier plus a few keeper flounder. While most of the whiting have been small, there have been some bull whiting caught. Gann noted an ocean water temperature of 60 degrees Wednesday afternoon. Maples ventured out to a hard-bottom area off Surfside Beach and found weakfish active. “The weakfish are still thick as thieves,” said Maples. Artificial reefs such as Paradise and Jim Caudle are holding numerous black sea bass, most under the 13-inch minimum size limit with a few keepers, plus weakfish and flounder.
Offshore

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

Comments: Jeff Martini of Mid-Town Bistro in North Myrtle Beach and his crew aboard Dirty Martini headed out 70 nautical miles to the 100/400 area Tuesday, riding on slick seas. The crew found 77-degree water, a mix of blue and green, and plenty of bait stacked from the bottom to the middle of the water column. They also found wahoo, and caught eight ranging in size from 30 to 60 pounds, plus a 20-pound king mackerel and a dolphin. Martini noted they trolled ballyhoo, with purple/blue skirts the hot color. Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters out of Murrells Inlet hit the Winyah Scarp on Tuesday, and came home with five wahoo and 10 blackfin tuna. Capt. Shane Bashor of Side Kick Charters headed out to 80 feet of water in the Parking Lot vicinity earlier this week for a full-day combo trip. First, Bashor trolled to produce 10 king mackerel and several bonito before switching to the bottom. The bottom fishing was very productive as his crew caught a pair of gag grouper in the 17-18 pound range, released a pair of red snapper plus caught numerous vermilion snapper, black sea bass and white grunts. The Greater amberjack fishery is closed to harvest for recreational anglers and will remained closed until March 2018. Also, cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.

Comments: The rivers remain low and fishing success is high. The Waccamaw River at Conway continues to make good tides, with a water level reading of 6.47 feet on a rising tide at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry remains low, at 3.82 feet Wednesday at 6 p.m. Bream catches have been good, lead-lining worms on the bottom. Crappie catches are superb with fish hitting crappie minnows around brush or other structure in creek mouths and lakes. Catfish are hitting cut eels, mullet or live bream.

Rough seas mean another opportunity

December 2, 2017 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Rough seas mean another opportunity

image: red snapper
After rough seas wiped out most of the six-day red snapper mini-season held the first two weekends in November, recreational fishermen are getting one more shot at the species in 2017 Contributed photo
Outdoors
NOAA Fisheries gives anglers an unexpected early Christmas gift

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

December 01, 2017 06:29 PM

UPDATED December 01, 2017 06:34 PM

Consider it an early gift from NOAA Fisheries to recreational anglers in the South Atlantic region.

After rough seas wiped out most of the six-day red snapper mini-season held the first two weekends in November, recreational fishermen are getting one more shot at the species in 2017.

The species will be open for harvest once again for another three-day weekend, Dec. 8-10, in South Atlantic waters with the bag limit of one fish per person per day with no minimum size limit remaining the same.

When the original red snapper mini-season was scheduled, a catch limit of 29,656 fish was set. As of mid-November, preliminary estimates showed the limit was not met, thanks in large part to rough seas.

Harvest projections indicated the additional three-day opening would not result in the total harvest exceeding the catch limit.

Information and data provided by recreational fishermen through the new pilot electronic reporting project MyFishCount.com were considered by NOAA Fisheries in extending the mini-season for another three days.

For Capt. Shane Bashor of Sidekick Charters in Murrells Inlet, the first two weekends of red snapper fishing were typical of so many charter, party and private boats along the Southeast coast – one good day of fishing was followed by five days of rough seas which canceled trips offshore to bottom spots where red snapper can be found.

On Nov. 3, opening day of the mini-season, Bashor and crew caught and released three small red snapper, but moved to another spot and landed a pair in the 15-pound range. Bashor was fishing in depths of 110 to 130 feet.

“I’m glad (the season’s being re-opened) because there weren’t many good weather days,” said Bashor. “I suspect it was bad weather in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, too.”

Bashor had two scheduled trips blown out during the second weekend of the mini-season, revenue-making trips he hopes to make up next weekend during a time of year when they are few and far between.

“I’m trying to get some trips together,” said Bashor. “I’m just hoping the weather holds. That’s always the catch this time of year – weather problems.”