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Category Archives: Live Great Outdoors Blog

Weather and fishing heats up

April 27, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Weather and fishing heats up


The Pier at Garden City and the Cherry Grove Pier report Spanish mackerel (pictured) have been caught this week by jiggers. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com
Outdoors
Fishing on the Grand Strand is heating up with warmer weather

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

April 26, 2018 06:50 PM

Updated April 26, 2018 06:50 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: Flounder catches have picked up nicely over the last week, with most fish still under the 15-inch minimum size limit. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway reports the number of keepers in Murrells Inlet has increased a bit, with mud minnows fished on a jig head, Carolina rig or float rig all working. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters has also found good numbers of flounder in the Little River vicinity but keepers have been scarce. Kelly has also used live mud minnows, but reports he has had his best luck for flounder jigging with Berkeley Gulp swimming minnows. Kelly has also caught small trout, black drum and red drum, but did catch and release one 27-inch red. Kelly caught the flounder and trout on a falling tide in the ICW and targeted the drum in shallow creeks on an incoming tide using fresh cut shrimp. Kelly noted a water temperature from 62-65 degrees on a Thursday trip.

Inshore

Look For: Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano.

Comments: The weather, or the wind, has finally stabilized a bit, and anglers have found that Spanish mackerel and bluefish are showing up in good numbers around near-shore artificial reefs such as Paradise Reef (three miles east of Murrells Inlet) and Jim Caudle Reef (three miles south of Little River). Trolling Clark or Drone spoons on No. 1 planers has produced Spanish, plus slow-trolling live bait (if available) will produce fish too. Also look for weakfish, black sea bass and flounder on the structure of the reefs. Spanish have made it to the beach too, as both The Pier at Garden City and the Cherry Grove Pier report they have been caught this week by jiggers, along with bluefish. Plenty of smallish whiting and croaker have also been caught. Pompano should show up at any time, if they aren’t already here. The ocean water temperature was at 63 degrees on the bottom at Cherry Grove Pier at 6 p.m. Thursday, and on a warming trend.

Offshore

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

Comments: The wind appears to have calmed down a bit compared to the last, well, month or two, and that’s good news for boats that want to get in some offshore trolling to land a Carolina Slam of wahoo, dolphin and tuna. Ocean Isle Fishing Center reports that more than a few yellowfin tuna have shown up on the north end of the offshore trolling grounds, from the Blackjack Hole to the Steeples, a fantastic development indeed. There have been occasional good catches of blackfin tuna. The wahoo bite has been the most consistent, and there have been reports of decent catches of dolphin to the south. Specifically, Capt. Buddy Smith of Underdog in Murrells Inlet reports a few Charleston boats landed several dolphin per trip over the past week. With a decent marine forecast in store for Saturday, look for some great catches in the Georgetown Meatfish Slam out of Georgetown Landing Marina. Bottom fishing is producing plenty of vermilion snapper, along with black sea bass, amberjack, grey triggerfish, white grunts and red porgy. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect through April 30, meaning grouper can again be harvested when May arrives on Tuesday. Red snapper are closed indefinitely in the South Atlantic region and must be released.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, crappie, catfish.

Comments: “The fishing’s hot, the weather’s nice, it just lines up like an arrow,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Bream fishing is super with fish hitting crickets or worms equally well in 3-4 feet of water. It’s prime time to target, and hopefully release, bedding bass on local rivers. “They’re in that stage now, where they’re catching a few on the beds, seeing a few on the beds,” said Stalvey. “In the next few days you’ll see a lot of bass in the calm-water areas, anywhere they feel safe at. The top-water action is getting pretty heated.” Stalvey suggests throwing buzz baits or Bang-O-Lures for top-water and wacky-rigged Senkos deep. Stalvey notes catfish action continues to be very good, with fish hitting shad or fresh cut eels.

Flounder return to area estuaries

April 21, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Flounder return to area estuaries


Flounder have arrived in local estuaries, marking the arrival of spring. Submitted photo
Outdoors
Flounder have arrived. What that means for Grand Strand fishing

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

April 20, 2018 06:44 PM

When the flounder bite turns on in the estuaries along the Grand Strand, from Georgetown to Brunswick County, N.C., you can rest assured spring has arrived.

The flounder are biting, thus spring is finally here, after one of the most prolonged winters in recent memory on the East Coast.

Some flounder stay in the estuaries year-round, but the majority head for the ocean for the winter.

Each April, flounder that departed the estuaries for the Atlantic Ocean as the water temperature cooled in late fall return for about seven months of warm weather.

For nearly two decades, the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers Flounder Tournament has been staged in Murrells Inlet to welcome the return of the flounder, and the arrival of spring.

The 17th annual tournament will be held next Saturday, April 28 in the inlet, with a catch.

The minimum size limit for flounder in South Carolina waters increased to 15 inches on July 1, 2017. For a flounder to be weighed into the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers tournament, a flounder must measure 16 inches.

April also marks the occurrence of large bluefish in local waters, and the club includes a bluefish division in the tournament for an extra $5 fee.

The Captains Meeting for the event will be held at the Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet on Friday at 5:30 p.m., with fishing set for the next morning with lines in at 6 a.m. The weigh-in is set for 3-5 p.m. next Saturday at Crazy Sister Marina.

The grand prize of the tournament is $1,500 for the largest flounder weighed in.

The 17th annual tournament is dedicated to the late Ken Buys, a prominent club member who passed away in 2017.

For more information, call Ed Skowysz at 843-450-8218 or Chick McDaniel at 843-651-2076.
Meatfish Slam

Another rite of spring is the arrival of dolphin in the offshore waters, typically in late April.

When dolphin arrive from the south and east, the three components of an offshore Carolina meatfish slam – wahoo, tuna and dolphin – will be present, thus the name of the Georgetown Meatfish Slam.

The 10th annual slam will be held next Friday and Saturday (April 27-28) out of Georgetown Landing Marina. The public is invited to the weigh-in both days, with scales opening at 3 p.m. and closing at 7 p.m.

The Captains Meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. For more information, call 843-546-1776.
SALTT No. 5

The 5th event of the Student Angler League Tournament Trail was staged last Saturday out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown.

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

Conway Middle School claimed the top two spots in the red drum division, led by Ashton Rouhselang and Lance Cooper with 6.68 pounds, including big fish honors. Donovan Harris fished solo and weighed in 4.26 pounds to finish in second place.

Noah Payne and Kadyn Kellahan of Andrew High School finished third in the red drum division with 3.30 pounds.

Bennett Lawshe and Matt Caines of Waccamaw High School won the bass division with 13.10 pounds including big fish honors.

Wade Kelly of Waccamaw Middle School and partner Michael Paglio of Waccamaw High School took second with 10.71 pounds despite fishing only six of eight hours allowed.

Jackson Denny of Carolina Forest High School also fished solo, but finished third in the bass division with 10.03 pounds.

The sixth and final trail will be held on May 5 out of the Campbell Marine Complex, an event that will determine the winners in all four divisions for the 2017-18 school year.

For more information, visit www.salttfishing.com.

High winds hamper fishing

April 20, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on High winds hamper fishing


A redfish (pictured is an over-slot redfish that was caught and released) was devoured by a larger bluefish in shallow water in the Myrtle Beach area this week. Contributed photo
Latest News
Relentless wind continues to hamper fishing; monster bluefish devours hooked redfish

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

Updated April 19, 2018 07:23 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: For anglers along the Carolina coast, it’s been a spring to forget, at least in terms of windy conditions. “You can count on one hand the number of days we’ve had winds under 15 mph since the big freeze in early January,” said Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown. In the Georgetown/Winyah Bay area, the wind piles waves up on the banks, washing pluff mud into the water. “It muddies that water up,” said McDonald. “The water’s real muddy right now.” On a Thursday trip, facing stiff westerly winds at 15-20 mph to go with the muddy water, McDonald produced a few red drum in the area south of Georgetown. Capt. Jason Burton of Murrells Inlet Fishing Charters wound up with a whale of a fishing tale on Wednesday, with pictures to back it up. Burton’s crew was fishing in three feet of water in the inlet when one angler hooked up with an undersized red drum. As the 13-14 inch red neared the boat, it was attacked and devoured by a huge bluefish. Suddenly the shallow creek was alive with the thrashing bluefish, which was now hooked. The blue was boated and wound up weighing just over 11 pounds. On a windy day, Burton’s crew also caught 15 flounder including three keepers over South Carolina’s minimum size limit of 15 inches.
Inshore
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Look For: Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano.

Comments: “Brutal, just brutal,” said Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in describing the windy weather and sea conditions of late. Just after bluefish and Spanish mackerel arrived in the inshore waters about a week ago, the wind kicked in again with a vengeance and anglers haven’t been able to get out into the ocean. When conditions permit, the near-shore reefs are holding plenty of bluefish and black sea bass along with Spanish, weakfish and flounder. The wind has also been a pain for pier anglers, who have been catching mainly whiting, croaker, bluefish and a few flounder. When conditions calm down, look for Spanish and pompano to show up along the beach. The water temperature at mid-afternoon Thursday at the Cherry Grove Pier was 63 degrees at the surface and on the bottom.

Offshore

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

Comments: There was a brief and slight respite from the wind last weekend, and numerous boats made it offshore to reap the benefits of mid-April trolling. The Underdog out of Murrells Inlet, captained by Buddy Smith and owned by Capt. Shawn Thomas, had a solid day that was typical of the catches last Saturday, with four wahoo and a blackfin tuna. The wahoo ranged from 20-45 pounds while the blackfin was a nice one, at 20 pounds. Smith fished in 68-degree water in depths of 170-350 feet in the vicinity of the McMarlen ledge to catch his fish. Smith has received word of good catches of dolphin off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., and expects them to join the offshore party at any time. “It should be a matter of a couple weeks when the dolphin really show up,” said Smith. “The next couple weeks should be good.” The wind has hampered the bottom fishing too, but when conditions permit, there are plenty of vermilion snapper, black sea bass, amberjack, grey triggerfish, white grunts and red porgy available. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect through April 30. Red snapper are closed indefinitely in the South Atlantic region and must be released.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, crappie, catfish.

Comments: With the water temperature moving up to near the 65-degree mark, fishing has been excellent on local rivers. Catfish action has been superb both on rod and reel and bush hooks, with cut eel a prime bait. Channel, flathead and blue cats have been caught in good numbers, with a 58-pound flathead landed by Bradley Rabon the largest reported by Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Crappie continue to be active, hitting small shiners and beetle spins. “They’re staged up in bedding areas in shallow water in the back of creeks or creek mouths,” said Stalvey. Bream are hitting crickets and worms in 3-4 feet of water. Bass are hitting top-water lures or Senkos rigged either Texas or wacky style.