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Category Archives: Live Great Outdoors Blog

Springlike weather brings fishing surge

February 8, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Springlike weather brings fishing surge


Nathan Richardson of Conway shows off a red drum caught in the Winyah Bay vicinity Wednesday with Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service. Photo courtesy of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Angler activity surges with spring-like weather conditions

By Gregg Holshouser

February 07, 2019 06:13 PM

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

Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown took brothers Nathan and Jacob Richardson of Conway out Wednesday amid spring-like weather conditions. McDonald noted a general water temperature reading of 57 degrees, except right in Winyah Bay’s main channel, which was 49 degrees due to cold freshwater flowing down the rivers. McDonald targeted spotted seatrout to start then changed tactics. “We caught those little fellows (trout) and tried something else,” said McDonald. Red drum were McDonald’s Plan B and the crew caught 25, with most measuring within South Carolina’s 15-23 inch slot limit. “Most were in the slot with 1 or 2 undersize and several over the slot,” said McDonald. The reds were caught on cut shrimp on a Carolina rig along with soft plastics. Capt. Chris Ossman of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters found reds receptive on the flats on an outgoing tide in the Little River vicinity Wednesday. The reds hit Vudu shrimp and Berkeley Gulp shrimp in the shallows on the Intracoastal Waterway in clear water.
Inshore

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

Comments: Nearshore reefs such as Paradise, Pawleys, Jim Caudle, Ron McManus and the newest addition to the Pawleys Reef, the Jessica Perry Memorial Reef, are holding sheepshead and black drum. Fiddler crabs are the go-to bait for sheepshead, and black drum will hit fiddlers and shrimp. Black sea bass numbers are good on the reefs but be aware of the 13-inch minimum size limit. Other possibilities on the reefs are tautog, weakfish and flounder. Micheal Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports very good angler activity this week with the balmy February weather, but only a few smallish whiting have been caught. Wallace noted warm – for February – ocean water temperatures including 55 on the surface and 52 on the bottom Thursday afternoon.
Offshore

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

Comments: Greg Coleman of Greenville headed out on his 30 Sportsman on a calm ocean Wednesday and was joined by Capt. Englis Glover, Capt. Justin Witten and Capt. Adam Goodwin. “We went through five bags of ballyhoo, and had one blackfin (tuna) and one wahoo bite,” said Glover. “There were lots of bonito and barracuda. The ocean was beautiful. Two to 3 miles from the Winyah Scarp the water temperature jumped up six degrees (into the 70s). Everything was perfect except I don’t think the fish were feeding.” On the way in, the crew stopped in the Parking Lot in 105-110 feet of water and, as Glover says, “went to the grocery store,” catching black sea bass, triggerfish, red porgy, vermilion snapper. They also released a 20-plus inch red snapper. Numerous closures remain in effect for reef species in South Atlantic waters. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure is in effect through the month of April. Greater amberjack is closed until March 1, and deep-water blueline tilefish and snowy grouper are closed until May 1. Red snapper are also off-limits indefinitely and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: With water levels trending down, fishing action has ramped up on the Waccamaw River. “Fishing is on fire,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle. “The Waccamaw is (producing) the nicer quality of fish.” Anglers are lead-lining on the bottom with worms to catch bream. Catfish are hitting large shiners, plus cut shad. Crappie are taking medium shiners. Stalvey recommends using crankbaits and shaky heads for bass. The Waccamaw at Conway was at 8.83 feet Thursday at 2 p.m. and trending down.

New Fishing Tour formed

February 2, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on New Fishing Tour formed

Submitted photo
New fishing tour formed on S.C. coast as future of Southern Kingfish Association unclear

By Gregg Holshouser
February 01, 2019 05:05 PM

With the future of the Southern Kingfish Association in doubt, another regional king mackerel tournament series is in the works, this one right here along the Palmetto State coast.

The operators of four tournaments from Murrells Inlet to Charleston have teamed to form the Palmetto Kingfish Tour, which will have its inaugural run later in 2019.

Two years ago, Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center coordinated the establishment of the Kingfish Cup, a series of four tournaments in southeastern North Carolina that left ties with the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) to form that series.

Now, three tournaments based out of Charleston and one in Murrells Inlet, which formerly were part of SKA’s Division 3, are establishing the new tour in South Carolina.

“Many of the divisions in SKA have gone off and done their own thing,” said Chris Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina. “That division just needed a spark. We’ve gotten a lot of (positive) feedback from anglers.”

The tour opens with the Lowcountry Open, with a tour kickoff event scheduled for June 27 followed by fishing on June 29 out of Ripley Light Yacht Club in Charleston.

Hooked on Miracles is next, set for July 13 also out of Ripley Light Yacht Club.

The third event is the James Island Yacht Club King Mackerel and Inshore Tournament, set for July 26-27.

Lawhon and Marlin Quay Marina in Murrells Inlet host the Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shootout, which will be held Sept. 6-7 and culminates the series.

Qualifying boats will be eligible to compete in the Palmetto Kingfish Tour Championship, which will be held Sept. 27-28 in the Charleston-Mount Pleasant area.

Competing boats will head to the James Island Yacht Club in the morning for checkout and return to the weigh station at Saltwater Cowboys on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant in the afternoon.

Palmetto Kingfish Tour Director Ty Holland said the series was in the works regardless of the future of the SKA.

“We were going to do this anyway,” said Holland. “It’s about taking four successful tournaments and making them into a series — trying to bring together under one roof four different tournaments, a tour and a championship.”

Holland noted that a Carolinas championship event could be in the future, with qualifiers from McMullan’s Kingfish Cup from the Tar Heel State competing against qualifiers from the Palmetto Kingfish Tour from the Palmetto State.

“We’ve been working with Brant, and our goal is for us to take what we can build down here and hopefully have a North vs. South championship eventually,” said Holland.

The Palmetto Kingfish Tour plans to be small boat-friendly, with entry levels of $500, $1,500 and $3,000, along with a single-engine division.

“We wanted to make it as affordable for the small guy as we can,” said Lawhon.

Holland added, “we’re trying to make sure the single engine angler has an incentive to fish the tour.”

Nothing official has been announced about the status of the SKA for the 2019 king mackerel tournament season.

The organization’s website stated “No Data Here Yet” under the schedule for all 10 divisions plus the National Championship.

The SKA originated in 1991 and helped firmly establish king mackerel tournament fishing throughout the southeast. The SKA coordinated tournaments from North Carolina to Louisiana and staged a tour championship through 2018.

For more information on the Palmetto Kingfish Tour, email info@thelowcountryopen.com, call 703-231-6275 or visit www.facebook.com/Palmettokingfishtour/.

Seatrout and red drum active

February 1, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Seatrout and red drum active

Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters shows off a red drum he caught Tuesday in the Little River vicinity. Photo courtesy of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Seatrout and red drum are active in area waters

By Gregg Holshouser

January 31, 2019 04:52 PM,

Estuary

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

Comments: Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions was targeting red drum and black drum Tuesday in the creeks of Murrells Inlet, but had a surprise when he hit his fishing spot. “We stumbled across a big school of trout in a redfish hole,” said Connolly. “We were fishing one of my drum spots because it was dead low tide. We had a dead piece of shrimp on the bottom fishing for drum, and my guy caught a 22 1/2-inch trout. We put live shrimp under floats, and caught a trout every throw back. Every trout was 17-23 inches.” Connolly said the jetties are producing trout, red drum and black drum, with tautog a possibility. “I think the sheepshead are starting to work their way offshore,” said Connolly. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters found trout and reds receptive on a Tuesday trip, hitting shallow spots in the Little River vicinity. “We had a great trip using live mud minnows, DOA shrimp (chartreuse) and Gulp Shrimp (white with chartreuse tail),” said Kelly, who noted a water temperature of 46-48 degrees. “(The tide was) low to rising around midday – that’s what we like this time of year.”
Inshore

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

Comments: Look for sheepshead along with black drum on nearshore artificial reefs such as Paradise, Pawleys, Jim Caudle and Ron McManus. Fiddler crabs and clams are the best bet to entice bites from sheepshead, along with black drum, which will also take shrimp. Black sea bass, weakfish, tautog and flounder are also possibilities on the reefs. Lynn Galloway of Apache Pier reported a water temperature of 51 degrees on the surface and bottom Wednesday morning. Galloway noted anglers caught whiting and croaker this week, plus one trout, from the pier.
Offshore

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

Comments: On favorable weather days, trolling has been productive offshore for wahoo and blackfin tuna in the vicinity of spots such as the Georgetown Hole, Winyah Scarp and The Steeples. Numerous closures are in effect for reef species in South Atlantic waters. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure is in effect through the month of April and includes gag grouper, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney. Greater amberjack is closed until March 1, and deep-water blueline tilefish and snowy grouper are closed until May 1. Red snapper are also off-limits indefinitely and must be released. Anglers can target and harvest vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, red porgy and grunts.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: The Waccamaw River is finally down to a reasonable level for fishermen, and some have reaped the benefits over the past week. “There’s a bunch of nice fish being caught on the Waccaamw between Conway and Bucksport,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “They’re lead-lining with red worms for bream.” Stalvey notes the Ricefields area has produced good catches of bream, crappie and catfish. Stalvey also reported good news in the form of bream catches in the Red Bluff and Reaves Ferry areas on the Waccamaw, where the fish kill was “pretty bad” during the recent flooding. Stalvey reports the fish he has seen have been healthy. “The fish that are being caught are very healthy – big, nice bream,” said Stalvey. “I’m glad to see that. You can tell the fish have been eating good.”