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Local fishing community suffers another loss

September 22, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Local fishing community suffers another loss

The late Capt. Harry Evans and his daughters Madi Luzzi of Spokane, Wash., (left) and Kate Evans of Murrells Inlet (right) at Marlin Quay Marina. Submitted photo
‘He was always willing to teach’: Fisherman who hosted TV show on Strand dies at 60

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

September 21, 2018 04:04 PM

Capt. Harry Evans, a true pioneer of saltwater fishing in the Myrtle Beach area, passed away on Sunday from an extended illness.

A native of Florence, Evans, 60, was a charter captain who specialized in mackerel and nearshore fishing, winning championships in numerous king mackerel tournaments, but he dabbled in all types of area fishing from the salt-marsh creeks to the blue water of the Gulf Stream.

In the early 1980s, when Gulf Stream Marina was a bustling fishing spot before Marlin Quay Marina was built on the same site, Evans began establishing his niche as an avid fisherman on the Murrells Inlet fishing scene.

But Evans really made a name for himself by hosting the first saltwater fishing television show to originate from the Grand Strand.

Beginning in 1998 after he retired from landscaping, Evans brought his easy-going, informative style of fishing for species such as red drum, spotted seatrout and king mackerel, among many others, to television markets in South Carolina and other states.

“One of the best things about Harry is he was always willing to teach,” said Chris Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina, where Evans based his Southern Saltwater Charters business. “He taught so many people so much, there are so many people he touched in the fishing industry. He taught me a lot, especially about kingfishing. He just loved to fish.”

Capt. Perrin Wood was Evans’ partner in the Southern Saltwater Charters venture, and remembered his love of entertaining and teaching on his charter trips.

“Harry loved fishing as much as anyone here but he was really big on teaching and having kids and people on the water with him,” said Wood. “He was very detailed oriented with the charters. It’s all about the experience.”

Evans’ fiancé, Sara Ross, and daughters Kate Evans of Murrells Inlet and Madi Luzzi of Spokane Wash., are planning a celebration of life to be held at Marlin Quay Marina, with the date to be announced, and Evans’ family and friends plan to honor him in multiple ways.

“We’re going to put a plaque at the Marshwalk in his name and coordinate with (the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources) to figure out what we can do going forward to design an artificial reef in his name, anywhere from 5 to 30 miles out,” said Wood. “Whatever it takes to keep the Harry Evans name going on.”

Wood will operate Southern Saltwater Charters in Evans’ absence.

“I will continue to operate out of Marlin Quay going forward,” said Wood. “His is a name that will go on and on forever.”

Evans’ family requests donations be made to Murrells Inlet 2020, 4124 Hwy. 17 Business, PO Box 1357, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 for a plaque in his remembrance or to Agape Hospice, 3938 Hwy. 17, Murrells Inlet, SC, 29576.
Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shootout

With no set time for lines in for the 4th annual Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shootout, Capt. Robby Remson and crew aboard Long Run/Carolina Hook and Line Company opted for a very early start for the 4th annual Southern Kingfish Association-sanctioned tournament on Sept. 8 out of Marlin Quay Marina in Murrells Inlet.

With designs on leaving well before daylight on tournament day, the crew caught bait the day before and left it in bait pens overnight. When they arrived at the dock at the Marshwalk in the pre-dawn hours, they discovered all their mullet had died, but they still had live menhaden and bluefish in the live well.

As they were preparing to leave the dock, crew member Caleb Hartley noticed a lone mullet hanging around in the lights around the dock.

“Caleb said, ‘I’m going to net this mullet’ “ recalled Remson.

And he did with a cast net, and added the 14-15 inch mullet to the live well.

With Remson’s partner, Greg Christopher, and his son, Stephen, also aboard, the four-man crew headed offshore, arriving at a spot south of Murrells Inlet in 65 feet of water near daybreak. They deployed menhaden and bluefish and began slow-trolling the baits from the 33-foot Onslow Bay powered by triple Mercury 350 Verados.

The dawn bite was strong and Remson said the crew “caught 3-4 kings right away, but nothing very big.”

“After we caught the first couple fish, Caleb put that mullet in the prop wash,” said Remson. “It was bigger than I like to fish with, but it wasn’t out there a minute and that’s the bait that fish wanted.”

The fish hit right at 8 a.m., and they knew they had a good one. A while later, Hartley was on the rod and worked the fish to the stern of the boat. Remson applied the gaff and Hartley grabbed the tail to help lift the large king into the boat.

The 37.7-pound smoker king wound up being the winner at the weigh-in, and Remson was glad Hartley insisted on catching, then using, the mullet for bait.

“Credit to Caleb for catching that one bait, and credit him for wanted to fish with it,” said Remson. “If it had been up to me I would have kept fishing with blues and menhaden.”

The crew weighed in the largest king, had the top three-fish aggregate at 75 pounds and won the tournament-within-a-tournament levels to earn $33,800. They plan to fish in the 2018 SKA Championship, which is scheduled to be held at Morehead City, N.C. Nov. 8-11.

Chris Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina noted the field for the tournament was 80 boats, the largest of the three tournaments in SKA’s Division Four (South Carolina) this year.

For more results on the tournament and the SKA Championship, visit
Hunting Closures

Due to the extreme high river level and widespread flooding following Hurricane Florence, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has declared a temporary closure for hunting within the Pee Dee and Waccamaw river drainage systems on all game species.

The flooding has created potential for exploitation of game species that are deprived of their normal escape routes and confined to small areas of high ground.

The closure went into effect on Wednesday and will continue 10 days until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28. The closure is for all game species excluding alligator, dove, teal, Canada geese, hogs and coyotes.

S.C. DNR will continue to monitor flooded areas to adjust the closure zones and timeframes as conditions change. Any changes will be posted on the SCDNR website.

Visit for exact details of the closure.
SALTT Fundraiser

The inaugural Waccamaw River Youth Fishing tournament hosted by Jess White of Chasin Limits and the Pee Dee Bassmasters was held Sept. 8 out of Bucksport Marina.

Over $2,000 in prizes were awarded to the top three places in the middle school and high school divisions.

Tim Richardson and Gerald Kelly of Spring Hill won the High School Division with an aggregate of 9.87 pounds. Piercen Lynch and Nate Ansay of South Florence were second with 8.27 pounds followed by Jordan and Jacob Thompkins of Calvary Christian with 7.31 pounds.

In the Middle School Division, Tanner Schultz and Karson Grubbs of Airport won with an aggregate of 6.05 pounds followed by Mason and Will Hardee of Conway with 5.85 pounds.

The proceeds of the tournament benefitted the Student Angler League Tournament Trail (SALTT).

The SALTT officially begins with the first tournament on Oct. 20, after the opener was postponed by Hurricane Florence on Sept. 15. Other fall SALTT events are set for Oct. 20 and Dec. 1. All SALTT tournaments are held out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex on the Sampit River in Georgetown.

For more information, visit or contact Poston at 843-902-4274.

The late Capt. Harry Evans and Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters cruise just off the beach. Wood plans to take over the business out of Marlin Quay Marina in Evans absence. Submitted photo

Flood waters pose threat when fishing

September 21, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Flood waters pose threat when fishing

Fall red drum action is kicking off in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Gregg Holshouser For The Sun News
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Saltwater action strong, rivers pose dangerous threat

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

September 20, 2018 02:56 PM

Updated September 20, 2018 02:56 PM

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

Comments: Hurricane Florence’s rains had barely moved out of the area on Tuesday when Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River headed out to investigate what was happening in the storm’s aftermath. The returns were good. “I went out today to check and it was really good,” said Kelly, who caught and released red drum and spotted seatrout. “I caught the reds on finger mullet but switched to Vudu shrimp and that worked too. We caught one on a top-water mirrolure. There’s plenty of bait, the only change I saw in fishing was the really large shrimp in the creek have filtered out. The smaller shrimp are still in the creek. The water was really dirty.” Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Charters checked out the action in Murrells Inlet earlier this week. “It was pretty good for the amount of time I spent fishing,” said Connolly. “If you thought there was a lot of bait before the storm, you ought to see the bait that’s out there now. I did catch a few nice shrimp in the net catching mullet. I caught a few nice reds, one just shy of 23, one over 24 inches and a couple of flounder (16-17 inches). Just went out to see what the heck was going on with an (upcoming) trip.” Connolly caught and released all the fish on live and dead mullet, plus noted the water temperature was down to 79 after sitting at 82 before the storm. Epic flooding is far from ideal for Winyah Bay, which is the recipient of water from five rivers on the the coastal plains of North and South Carolina and is the second-largest watershed on the East Coast. “All that flood water you’ve been seeing is coming through Winyah Bay, simple as that,” said Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service. “It means they’re going to have a lot more freshwater, cooler water to swim around in.” McDonald pointed out a silver lining, though. “But the fish still gotta eat,” he said.

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

Comments: Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters went out on The Pier at Garden City Wednesday to check out conditions in the surf zone and near the beach. He loved what he observed. “I saw miles and miles of mullet moving south along the beach, with sharks, Spanish, kings and possibly tarpon crashing on them,” said Wood. “Fishing’s going to be real hot right now. Things get real active this time of year.” Mark Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina sees the bait on the beach as a very good sign. “The big female kings head toward the beach by late September and early October, and that’s when the king bite on the beach is excellent. In October, I’ve caught them 100 yards off the pier. Just follow the bait.” Also look for red drum on the bottom feeding under the schools of bait. Live or hard-bottom areas near the beach, along with near-shore artificial reefs will hold a variety of species as the fall run commences, including weakfish, black sea bass, flounder and bull red drum. The bull reds are in spawning mode and can be found at area jetties and the channels of inlets, hence one of their many nicknames – channel bass. The slot limit for red drum in South Carolina is 15-23 inches. All the spawning fish measure over the slot and must be released, carefully, to help preserve the future of the species. With the bait marching southward down the beach, Grand Strand piers are producing Spanish and king mackerel, bluefish, along with whiting, pompano, red drum, black drum and, soon, spots.

Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, king mackerel, sailfish, barracuda, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: Mark Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina points out that the wahoo bite had been solid to very good before Hurricane Florence, and expects that trend to continue as fall weather becomes entrenched. “Right before the hurricane the wahoo bite was getting real good,” said Lawhon. “Look for the wahoo and tuna to really turn on here.” Trolling boats in areas such as the Georgetown Hole, Winyah Scarp and Black Jack Hole can also expect to see scattered dolphin along with king mackerel, barracuda and bonito. Fish move around during a hurricane, notably reef fish. It will be interesting to see what has taken up residence on live-bottom areas, ledges and artificial reefs when boats get back to spots in depths of 60-120 feet. Wise anglers will be prepared to catch grouper that have taken up residence, plus bottom-fishing staples such as vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, amberjack, red porgy and white grunts. Don’t be surprised to encounter more species uncommon to local reefs, perhaps queen triggerfish, African pompano, yellowtail snapper or mutton snapper. Red snapper must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: With all-time record flooding occurring on the Waccamaw and other area rivers, anglers are advised to stay off the water until the flood waters recede. Any boaters who must be on the rivers or the Intracoastal Waterway should beware of floating debris and above all else navigate at idle speed, especially around residences and structures that are undergoing flooding. Wakes can easily cause further, unnecessary damage to the properties. “It’s rough, I hate it for everybody in North Carolina and down here in South Carolina,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle, who has spent his recent days helping friends and family with property along the Waccamaw prepare for the flooding. “It’s a mess. I’m going to say a month to a month-and-a-half for it to get back to normal.”

Memorial reef established

September 8, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Memorial reef established

The late Jessica Hill-Doehner with her children, Liam, Bella and Aden, on the banks of Murrells Inlet behind Belin United Methodist Church. Submitted photo
Late owner of Perry’s Bait and Tackle to be honored with special dedication

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

September 07, 2018 07:32 PM

As the owner/operator of Perry’s Bait and Tackle, Jessica Hill-Doehner was totally immersed in the fishing scene in Murrells Inlet and the near-shore waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Nearly a year after she was murdered, the community has come together to support Hill-Doehner’s three surviving children and to establish an artificial reef in her honor.

A more fitting tribute could not be found for Hill-Doehner, who was well-known in the inlet for her willingness to help visitors and residents alike with fishing accessories and expert salt-water fishing advice.

Hill-Doehner’s ex-husband, Eric Justin Perry was charged with her murder last September and remains incarcerated in the Georgetown County Detention Center awaiting trial.

Hill-Doehner was instrumental in having an artificial reef established in the memory of her then father-in-law, Winston Perry. Winston Perry, the founder of Perry’s Bait and Tackle and Eric Perry’s father, passed away in January 2010.

Just five months later, in June, 2010, Hill-Doehner had accomplished that feat when the Winston Perry Memorial Reef was placed on the ocean floor at the Paradise Reef site located three miles east of the Murrells Inlet jetties.

Now, it’s Hill’s turn to be honored.

Claire Collins, now the manager of Perry’s Bait and Tackle, is leading the charge of coordinating the reef campaign in Hill-Doehner’s name.

Collins, 23, befriended Hill-Doehner on fishing trips in Murrells Inlet and took over management of the bait and tackle shop.

“Jessica was steady always doing for others rather than for herself,” said Collins. “It is very appropriate to do something for her.

“What an amazing tribute it is to have a reef in the ocean in her name, with the marine life, which was something she loved. I don’t think anyone could deserve it more.”

Collins also is coordinating an annual fundraiser, with the second annual event scheduled for Nov. 10 at Perry’s.

The first event solely supported Hill-Doehner’s surviving children, Liam, Bella and Aden, and this time the proceeds will be split between the Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown Counties and Jessica Hill-Doehner’s reef fund.

The event will feature barbecue provided by Smokin’ Sumthin’ BBQ, live music, a silent auction featuring donated charter fishing trips, and raffle tickets. Guest speakers will include Sen. Stephen Goldfinch and a representative of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Marine Artificial Reef Program.

The event will also feature face painting, a bouncy house, photo booth, and a Jessica favorite, a rig-tying expo.

“This is very much a kid-friendly event,” said Collins. “It’s going to be really great.”

A year ago, the community came out to the event, enabling $14,000 to be raised for Hill-Doehner’s children.

“It’s a good opportunity to bring everyone in the fishing community together,” said Collins. “It’s about supporting a cause that deserves to be supported. It really is a beautiful thing.”

A fund is set up at Bank of America to benefit Hill-Doehner’s children. For those wishing to earmark contributions to Hill-Doehner’s reef fund, Collins suggests writing “reef fund” in the memo on checks.

Donations also can be made at Perry’s Bait and Tackle, located at 3965 Hwy. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, SC, 29576. Call 843-651-2896 for more information.

“We’re doing this for Jessica’s children, but we’re also doing it for Jessica,” said Collins. “She touched a lot of people. A lot of people loved Jessica.”

Claire Collins, manager of Perry’s Bait and Tackle, is helping support the children of her late friend, Jessica Hill-Doehner, and raise funds for a reef in Hill-Doehner’s honor. Submitted photo