Captain Mike McDonald throws a cast net to catch menhaden to use for bait in Winyah Bay, Georgetown. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews
June 22, 2017 5:22 PM
Rain has brought water temps down, but anglers having little trouble reeling ‘em in
By Gregg HolshouserEstuary
Look For: Black drum, red drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, sheepshead.
Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown found a rain-cooled water temperature of 78 degrees Thursday in Winyah Bay. “The rain has cooled it down from the 80s,” said McDonald. “We’ve got a lot of fresh water in here right now.” Still, McDonald’s customers caught a few red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout and flounder on a Thursday morning trip. McDonald produced the trout and flounder on artificial grubs and the black and red drum on cut shrimp. On a Monday trip, McDonald produced trout, red drum and black drum. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters has found trout responsive on a falling tide in the Little River vicinity. “On the falling tide every morning, we’ve caught a nice mess of trout,” said Kelly, who has used live shrimp on a popping cork. Kelly has also produced black drum, red drum and flounder. “The flounder fishing has not been super great (with) a lot of short fish,” said Kelly. “But fishing’s been good, I cannot complain.”
Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, spadefish, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, sheepshead, red drum.
Comments: Rainy and stormy weather has kept some boats from heading out into the Atlantic this week, but Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters slipped out between rain showers Thursday morning and saw a pleasant sight at Paradise Reef, located three miles east of Murrells Inlet. “It was calm and like glass when I got out there,” said Maples. “Spanish were jumping all over the place out there.” The size of the fish was nice, as Maples used a jigfish lure to catch three Spanish, the smallest a 22-incher. Also look for spadefish, flounder, black sea bass, weakfish and sharks on the near-shore reefs. Kings can be found around bait from the beach on out, but head to spots in 50-plus feet of water to find good numbers of fish. The Spring King Mackerel Tournament, staged by the Grand Strand Fishing Rodeo, was held last Saturday and Sunday on two piers this year, the Cherry Grove Pier and Myrtle Beach State Park Pier. There were no kings caught by the 43 competing anglers and a drawing was to be held to determine the winners. The piers are producing scattered catches of Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, flounder, sheepshead and red drum. Scott Skrzydlinski of Cherry Grove Pier reported a water temperature reading of 80 degrees surface and 77 degrees bottom at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, sailfish, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, white grunts, red porgy, black sea bass, grouper and amberjack.
Comments: Dolphin catches are becoming more scattered and sailfish releases more common for trolling boats on the offshore waters. Blackfin tuna are around, and if a school is encountered and willing to bite, catches can be good. A few wahoo are also being landed. Bottom fishing is very good for vermilion snapper, triggerfish, white grunts, red porgy, black sea bass, grouper and amberjack. Best catches are in depths of 90-plus feet. Cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Red snapper must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.
Comments: It’s been a rainy week, but the Waccamaw and Little Pee Dee rivers remain in good fishing shape. The Waccamaw at Conway was making good tides and at 7.85 feet at 1:15 p.m. Thursday while the Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was 5.44 feet at 4 p.m. “The rivers haven’t been affected much at all,” said Ronald ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Thank God this rain didn’t mess things up. I had one (customer) who limited out in no time (on bream) on the big Pee Dee.” It’s summertime fishing as usual for bream, with fish hitting crickets (or worms) floated in 2-4 feet of water off the banks. Catfish action is good on live bait (black salties, bream) or cut bait (eels, mullet, shad). Stalvey says bass are hitting top-water lures, senkos and frogs.
Coleman Bess, Shaun Bess and Haslin Rogers celebrate their win last Saturday in the 8th annual Murrells Inlet Rotary Flounder Tournament at Crazy Sister Marina. Contributed photo
June 16, 2017 5:30 PM
Bess, partners go old school, reel in Murrells Inlet Flounder tourney title
By Gregg HolshouserThe time-tested method of fishing for flounder in Murrells Inlet paid off for Shaun Bess and his two fishing partners in the 8th annual Murrells Inlet Rotary Flounder Tournament held last Saturday.
Going back decades, fishermen have been a fixture on the inlet, puttering along at a snail’s pace in small boats, slow-trolling bottom rigs with live mud minnows for bait.
That is just what Bess, his 17-year-old son Coleman, a rising senior at St. James High School, and fishing buddy Haslin Rogers did to win the tournament — along with nearly $2,000 in prize money.
The trio fished in a 15-foot McKee Craft in the one-day tournament, and went to a spot that is also proven its worth over time — the Charlie Cut area.
“It was basically a beautiful day, the tide had just started falling and we started picking up some fish,” recalled Bess. “All three of us were catching some good fish. We were just out there trolling around and sure enough I caught a good one. I just reeled him in, netted him and put him in the box.”
After measuring the fish at 22 inches on his cooler, Bess felt like they were in the running.
“I was thinking we all had a couple good fish, ‘Man, we have a chance, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to place,’” said Bess. “I really didn’t think it would win but knew it was a good fish based on prior tournaments.”
Late in the afternoon at the weigh-in at Crazy Sister Marina, the three-man crew learned their flounder weighed 3.43 pounds and was the largest caught among the 74 anglers fishing in the tournament. The $1,000 first prize for biggest flounder was theirs, in addition to winning the tournament-within-a-tournament (TWT) categories for biggest flounder and heaviest three-fish aggregate.
“It was awesome,” said Bess, owner-operator of Bess Landscaping in Murrells Inlet. “I just thought somebody would bring in a 5-plus pound fish.”
Aside from the prize money, Bess, who was sponsored in the event by Sons of Zorn, a landscape supply company, was happy to fish in and win the tournament with his two best fishing buddies.
“Haslin and I are pretty solid fishing partners,” said Bess. “We really just enjoy fishing together. We had Coleman in the boat this time. It was awesome having him out there with us.”
Jeff Heise finished second with a three-fish aggregate of 6.45 pounds. Mike Brady took third place with a 3.13-pound flounder.
David Strickland was fourth with a 2.39-pounder and Robert Hoops took fifth with a 2.31-pounder.
Bess won the TWT three-fish aggregate of 7.43 pounds and the largest flounder TWT with the 3.43-pounder.
The top Youth Angler was seven-year-old Wyatt Stiles with a 2.69-pound flounder and 11-year-old Cameron Lee was second with a 2.62-pounder.
The 9th annual Meatfish Slam was held last weekend out of Georgetown Landing Marina after being postponed from its original dates in late April.
Capt. Todd Bruner of the charter boat Bruno, a 42-foot Bertram, and his crew won the $5,000 first-place prize with an aggregate of 63.1 pounds.
The winner was determined by the heaviest aggregate weight of the largest wahoo, dolphin and tuna caught by each participating boat, and Bruno was the only boat to weigh in all three.
The Bruno crew boated a 41.8-pound wahoo, the key to their victory, a 13-pound dolphin and an 8.3-pound tuna. The wahoo was the largest weighed in.
“The wahoo is always the kicker in this tournament,” said Ed Keelin of Georgetown Landing Marina.
The top Youth Angler was Kaylee Thomas, who caught the 41.8-pound wahoo aboard Bruno. The top Lady Angler was Madison Scimanico who caught a 15.5-pound dolphin.
Bruno also won the tournament-within-a-tournament categories for aggregate weight, Big Dog aggregate and largest wahoo. Pain Killer was second in both aggregate categories with 41.4 pounds while Georgi Girl caught the second-largest wahoo, a 23.4-pounder.
Pain Killer caught the largest dolphin, a 23.4-pounder followed by Earl E Bird with a 15.6-pounder.
Pain Killer also weighed in the largest tuna — a 17.7-pound blackfin — followed by Earl E. Bird and its catch of a 15.6-pound blackfin.
Jolly Mon Classic
A field of 250 boats was expected to fish in the Yellowfin/Yamaha Jolly Mon King Classic Saturday and Sunday out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.
Competing boats can fish one of the two days in the tournament which is the first event in the inaugural Kingfish Cup series. The tournament is not part of the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) schedule of tournaments this year.
Other events in the Kingfish Cup are the Got ‘Em On Classic (July 7-9), the Fall Brawl King Classic (Oct. 13-15) and the Rumble in the Jungle (Oct. 20-22).
Fishing is being done on Pier 14 and 2nd Avenue Pier after about five or six sharks were seen in a school of fish at 63 Avenue North in Myrtle Beach on June 13. Janet Blackmon Morgan email@example.com
June 15, 2017 7:31 PM
Fishing report: Flounder, black drum offer anglers plenty options in local estuaries
By Gregg HolshouserEstuary
Look For: Flounder, spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, sheepshead, bluefish.
Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters reports fishing is very good in the estuaries in the Little River area. “We’ve had some great trips the last few days,” said Kelly, who has fished the Sunset Beach, Little River Inlet and Dunn Sound areas. Kelly has caught smaller spotted seatrout on live shrimp on popping corks and used top-water lures such as Mirrolures to land larger trout. Kelly has used live shrimp on a 1/4-ounce jig head to catch black drum and flounder, and cut mullet on the same jig head to target red drum. Flounder have also been receptive to Berkeley Gulp Shrimp and Shad (pearl white). Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a solid trip on Wednesday catching red drum and croaker while floating cut shrimp in Winyah Bay. McDonald noted a water temperature of 78 degrees on the trip. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters has had solid success with flounder and black drum this week in Murrells Inlet.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, flounder, black sea bass, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, flounder, black drum, red drum.
Comments: Kings were very active on the mid-range bottom spots such as Belky Bear and the Jungle early this week, but catches slowed in the last few days. The slow-down is temporary though, and look for concentrations of kings in depths of 50 feet and beyond, hitting slow-trolled live bait such as menhaden or dead bait such as cigar minnows. Don’t be mistaken though, kings can be found anywhere from the beach on out where baitfish is prevalent. Maples of Reel Salty Charters has had best success on down-riggers. The near-shore bottom spots are holding spadefish, weakfish, black sea bass and flounder. “There are some good size flounder showing up,” said Maples, who caught a 3.8-pounder on Monday. There have been scattered catches of several species on Grand Strand piers including whiting, croaker, spots, blues, Spanish mackerel, flounder, pompano and the occasional black or red drum. Scott Skrzydlinski of Cherry Grove Pier reported a surface water temperature of 80 degrees with a bottom temperature of 79 late Thursday afternoon. Cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released.
Look For: Dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, grouper, amberjack, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts.
Comments: As we get deeper into June, dolphin are becoming more scattered, as is expected at this time. “The dolphin are kind of sporadic,” said Ed Keelin, general manager of Georgetown Landing Marina. “If you find them you can get them good but it’s kind of spotty.” A few tuna and wahoo have accented the catches for trolling boats. “I think the wahoo and some dolphin have pushed into that shallower water,” said Keelin. “You should be be able to catch some scattered in with the kings in 90 feet of water.” Look for sailfish encounters to be on the rise. Bottom fishing is very good at present, especially in depths of 90 feet and beyond. Look for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, amberjack and grouper. Red snapper must be released in the South Atlantic region. Cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released.
Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.
Comments: The Little Pee Dee River has dropped to a very fishable level and the bream-fishing fanatics have taken advantage this week. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was at 4.54 feet Thursday, and anglers have been catching limits of bream, including bluegill, warmouth and shellcracker. Look for fish in 2-4 feet of water along the banks, with most anglers floating crickets and some using worms. “The fishing’s been really good,” said Ronald Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “The Waccamaw, the Little Pee Dee, Black River, Ricefields, they’re all on fire right now.” Stalvey was actually glad – for the Little Pee Dee’s sake – to see rain in the forecast. “I’m kinda glad we’re getting the rain,” said Stalvey. “The Little Pee Dee was falling so fast it was going to dry up.” Stalvey also said catfish activity is very good with fish hitting a variety of bait including eels, black salties and goldfish