Here are the winners from the Grand Strand student angler competition
By Gregg Holshouser
April 05, 2019 08:49 PM
Mother Nature finally smiled upon the young anglers of the Student Angler League Tournament Trail last Saturday during the 2018-19 season finale.
After five events were affected by a mix of cold fronts and even tropical systems, awesome conditions greeted the SALTT teams last Saturday morning at the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown.
“We were finally blessed with calm south winds and (temperatures in the) upper 60s with sunshine,” said Rayburn Poston, the SALTT founder and director. “The wind picked up around noon but most teams already had their fish by then and were culling.”
The SALTT features divisions for red drum and largemouth bass with middle and high school anglers competing against each other in six tournaments during each school year.
In the season-finale, the Trail 6 and overall winners were determined for each division.
Middle School Redfish Division: Cubby Weaver of Georgetown Middle School won with 1 fish at 4.02 pounds, which also won the Big Fish award. St James Middle’s Colin Dunman and Reagan Kidd took second with 1 fish at 2.04 pounds.
High School Redfish Division: Ashton Rouhselang (Conway Middle School) and Lance Cooper (Conway High School) won with 2 fish at 7.43 pounds. Carolina Forest High School’s Christa Edmonds was second with 2 fish at 7.20 pounds including the Big Fish of 4.14 pounds. Andrew High School’s Dylan Skipper and Walker McKenzie were third with 2 fish at 3.48 pounds.
Middle School Bass Division: Conway Middle School’s Cody Wilder and Dalton Williams were the winners with 5 fish at 7.76 pounds. Loris Middle School’s Gavin Porter took second with 5 fish at 6.99 pounds. Third place went to Rosemary Middle School’s Gavin Lynch and Maddox Cooper with 1 fish at 3.49 pounds that also took Big Fish.
High School Bass Division: Andrew Ackerman and Jeremy Owens of Georgetown High School won with 5 fish at 8.69 pounds including the Big Fish at 2.22 pounds. Bomar Oliver of Georgetown High School was second 4 fish at 6.17 pounds followed by Austin Winburn and Chandler Brown of Conway High School in third with 5 fish at 5.94 pounds.
The Trail Champions were determined by the best four weights from the six SALTT events. Points Champions were determined by the highest number of points accumulated from placing in each tourney.
Trail and Point Champions
Middle School Redfish Division: Donavan Harris (Conway Middle School ) and Wyatt Moore (Whittemore Park Middle) won both the Trail Championship and Points Championship for the division. “Donavan and Wyatt did not bring a fish in Saturday but had done well enough to still win the trail,” said Poston.
High School Redfish Division: Rouhselang and Cooper won the Trail Championship while Skipper and McKenzie won the Points Championship for the division. “Ashton and Lance dominated the spring events to come from behind in the last tourney to take the title,” said Poston.
Middle School Bass Division: Porter won both the Trail Championship and Points Championship for the division. “Gavin fished solo all year and was first or second every tournament,” said Poston.
High School Bass Division: Winburn and Brown won the Trail Championship while Ackerman and Owens won the Points Championship for the division. “Austin and Chandler had their worst day on Saturday but held the lead to win the trail,” said Poston.
Saturday’s event marked a milestone for Poston’s SALTT, as the fifth season of the tournament trail came to a close.
The trail has become well known as a great learning experience for young anglers, teaching the intricacies of fishing for their favorite species and also respect for the resource with the all-release format.
“When we started SALTT, only Conway and Waccamaw had a fishing club, so it’s been great to see each year that more schools are fishing with us and starting clubs,” said Poston. “It takes a community effort to keep this going from the support of adult fish clubs, schools, partners or sponsors and media outlets.”
During the next SALTT season, the 2019-2020 school year, elementary school students will be able to compete on the trail for the first time.
“We’ve only got 4 seniors so we should not only have a lot of kids returning , but by starting the elementary division, we will grow from within,” said Poston.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Waccamaw Chapter of Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina will stage its annual fundraising banquet at Sunnyside Plantation, a perfect setting under mossy oak trees overlooking Murrells Inlet.
The event, dubbed the chapter’s Celebrating Conservation Banquet and Auction, will be held Saturday evening, from 6-10 p.m.
On a national scale, Coastal Conservation Association was originally established as the Gulf Coast Conservation Association in Texas in 1977 to try to halt commercial netting that was damaging populations of spotted seatrout and red drum.
In 1986, CCA South Carolina became the first state chapter established on the East Coast.
In the past 33 years, CCA SC has been a leader as a watchdog on fisheries laws and issues, and on the water boosting the marine environment in numerous ways.
CCA SC teams with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources on projects that have an impact locally such as the South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement (SCORE) program and the establishment and enhancement of artificial reefs in the Atlantic Ocean.
The SCORE program involves establishing strategic new oyster reefs in estuaries along the S.C. coast, including Murrells Inlet and Winyah Bay.
The banquet begins at 6 p.m. with a social hour during which attendees can enjoy drinks, bid on silent-auction items and enter raffles.
After dinner, the night is capped by a live auction, which will feature various hunting and fishing trips among other items.
Tickets are $75 for individuals, $100 for couples and include a year’s membership to CCA. For more information, contact Chris Hawley at 843-455-0371 or Andy Ricks at 843-250-0841.
Georgetown will be buzzing with an assortment of activity next week when the Bassmaster Elite Series comes to town combining with the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival.
The Elite Series is Bassmaster’s top circuit, and the competition will be fierce on the rivers surrounding Georgetown’s Winyah Bay, from the Ashley and Cooper at Charleston to the Sampit, Black, Pee Dee and Waccamaw feeding into the bay.
Georgetown has hosted a Bassmaster event at the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex annually starting in 2015, including an Elite Series tournament in 2016, and Georgetown County Administrator Sel Hemingway is fired up about this one
“Every time we announce another Bassmaster tournament, people ask me ‘Is this the big one?’ “ said Hemingway. “Now I finally get to tell them again, ‘Yep, this is the big one. This is the one you’ve been waiting for.’ “
Fishing will take place four straight days, next Thursday through Sunday, with the boat launches at 7 a.m. and weigh-ins beginning at 3:15 p.m. each day. The launches and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Georgetown and the Carroll Campbell Complex has proven to be a top venue for Bassmaster tournaments. In 2016, the Elite Series drew one of the largest crowds – over 27,000 – in the history of the series.
The Winyah Bay Heritage Festival is a celebration of outdoors-related activities historically available in the Georgetown area, predominantly hunting and fishing.
Attendees can check out a wide range of outdoors-related arts and crafts including hand-carved duck decoys.
The festival, set for April 13-14 at the Campbell Marine Complex, will feature activities for kids, the S.C. Duck Calling Championships, retriever trials and sheep-herding demonstrations.
The Georgetown Business Association is staging its free Bass Weekend Music Series, including concerts by Collin Ray and the Josh Brannon Band on April 12 and Jason Michael Carroll on April 13. The concerts will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at Francis Marion Park, located at the corner of Front and Broad Streets.
For more information, visit www.gtcounty.org or the Georgetown County, S.C. page on Facebook.
Brightin Baxley and Christopher Karavan of Conway show off a 5.5-pound sheepshead caught Saturday while fishing with Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service. Photo courtesy of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Monster wahoo are being landed, including 87-pounder
By Gregg Holshouser
April 04, 2019 06:15 PM
Look For: Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments: “We’ve had some really good action on reds the last several days and there’s still a lot of small trout around,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Inshore Charters, who has mainly fished the Intracoastal Waterway and deep channels in the Little River area. Gulp baits and Vudu shrimp have produced the trout while live mud minnows on popping corks have worked for the red drum. Kelly hasn’t targeted flounder this week, but with the water temperature right at 60 degrees, he knows the spring flounder bite is about to take off in estuaries such as Cherry Grove and Murrells Inlet. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service produced two nice sheepshead over 5 pounds, one black drum and one red drum on a quick trip last Saturday and then caught five black drum and one redfish on a Wednesday trip, both in the Georgetown’s Winyah Bay area. McDonald, who was using cut shrimp for bait, noted a water temperature of 57 degrees in the channel near the jetties and in the bay on Wednesday.
Look For: Black sea bass, sheepshead, black drum, flounder, weakfish, whiting.
Comments: The ocean water temperature has flirted with the 60-degree mark after a big setback on a cold Tuesday, and a few pelagics have shown up. “A few Spanish have been caught out there,” said Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters. “They’re starting to inch their way in here.” Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reported a few bluefish have been caught this week, with the water temperature at 60 degrees on the surface and 59 on the bottom Thursday afternoon. “It won’t be long,” said Wallace, who noted whiting and puffers have also been caught this week. Wood headed out Thursday and trolled cigar minnows at Belky Bear, hoping to find a few early mackerel. “I marked a little bait and the water was 60 degrees and bluish green,” said Wood. “We gave it a shot but didn’t catch anything.” Wood moved on out to 50-55 feet of water and caught keeper black sea bass, a small scamp and tautog.” On the trip, Wood saw a few bonito and an ocean sunfish.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack.
Comments: The Game Hawg Fishing Team caught 10 wahoo on a trip last Saturday, including a smoking 87-pounder. Aside from the wahoo, Wood reports commercial catches of dolphin aboard boats fishing about 45 miles off Charleston, so the spring run should be coming soon along the break out of Georgetown, Murrells Inlet and Little River. “I feel like the dolphin bite should be a few weeks away,” said Wood, who noted small dolphin have already been spotted on weedlines in the Georgetown Hole vicinity. Bottom fishing is very good for black sea bass, grey triggerfish, vermilion snapper, red porgy and white grunts. Closures of reef species currently in effect for recreational anglers in South Atlantic waters include the annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure, and deep-water blueline tilefish and snowy grouper closure until May 1. Red snapper are also off-limits indefinitely and must be released.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: With Tuesday’s wintry weather in the past and plenty of 70s in the forecast, it’s full speed ahead toward fine spring fishing on local rivers. Bream are moving up toward the banks with the warmer weather, and fishing crickets under floats will be the ticket. Bass are in bedding mode with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, Senko and craw-type baits working well. The Trickey’s Fish Shack Annual Spring Catfish Tournament was held on the Waccamaw River, with plenty of large flathead, blue and channel cats being caught. Wet Dreams finished in first place with a two-catfish aggregate of 96.1 pounds including fish weighing 49.2 and 46.9 pounds. Game Hawgs was second with a 95.2-pound aggregate including a tournament-best 58.8-pounder. Team Tiger was third with 90.8 pounds including a 53-pounder
‘He was a pioneer’: Loved ones mourn the loss of well-known fishing captain
By Gregg Holshouser
March 29, 2019 08:56 PM,
From the start, Mark Dickson was cut out to be a life-long fisherman. The North Myrtle Beach native was on the water beginning at the age of 13, when he began fishing, duck hunting and accumulating his vast knowledge of the saltwater estuaries and Atlantic Ocean surrounding Little River Inlet.
By the age of 17, he was working as a mate at Harbourgate Marina, and his stellar fishing career had begun.
His career began at an early age and, sadly, Dickson’s life, too, ended at an early age. The well-known charter captain passed away last Saturday from natural causes at the age of 47 following a long illness.
In his early years, Dickson was a regular, and successful, competitor on the Southern Kingfish Association tour, and for the last 20 years made his mark as an inshore guide and owner-operator of Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters in Little River.
Capt. Jessey Vereen, a life-long friend of Dickson, has taken over Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters as the owner-operator.
“We just want to carry it on and keep it going,” said Vereen. “It’s a tough loss for a lot of people. A lot of people in the area here thought a lot of Mark. He was a pioneer of inshore fishing charters in the Little River area.”
Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters, who grew up hunting, fishing and attending North Myrtle Beach High School with Dickson, also credits him with being a pioneer in a couple different fishing settings.
In the early 1990s, Dickson fished with Wendell Vereen, Larry Fowler and the late Jim Caudle, targeting king mackerel. Dickson and his fishing buddies were some of the first in the Carolinas to stray away from the traditional method of trolling for kings.
“They started using pogies (menhaden) and slow-trolling with light wire (for kings) before many people did,” said Kelly. “They won a lot of king tournaments. I remember walking into Mark’s house and he had hundreds of these king rigs all over the place he was selling to local guys, competitive kingfish guys. He became pretty well known in the SKA.”
About 20 years ago, Dickson began to focus on fishing inside of Little River Inlet, targeting reds, trout, black drum and flounder, and soon established his guide service.
“Mark started working at Dock Holidays Marina and started guiding on the side,” said Kelly. “He was one of the first redfish, trout, and flounder guides in Little River, using the style we all have now.
“Before that it was just people trolling or drifting for flounder. Mark was one of the first guys to try using live bait and artificials, more cast and retrieve fishing instead of bottom fishing, and he got it going.”
Any of the hundreds, or thousands, of clients Dickson took fishing in the Little River area in the last two decades, would describe him as very knowledgeable and patient — willing to take the time to teach and explain his successful techniques on fishing trips.
For over a decade, Dickson was a regular contributor to my weekly fishing report, readily discussing the current trends in the Little River vicinity. Dickson was always willing to take plenty of time, even during charter fishing trips, to explain all the details of what was happening each week. He became more than a great fishing report contact, he became a good friend.
“He loved to be around people — he was a people person,” said Kelly. “He loved teaching people about fishing and the ocean in general. He was very conservation-minded and definitely a great steward to the area. We’ve lost a good friend and a great fisherman.”
Fair winds and following seas to you, Capt. Mark.
The Conway High School and Middle School and Whittemore Park Middle School teams competed in the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ Youth Bass Fishing Championship last Saturday at Dreher Island State Park.
Following fishing on Lake Murray, the weigh-ins were held at the Sportsman Classic at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds with over 100 schools from across the Palmetto State represented.
Conway Middle School finished 3rd overall with a 2-boat total of 15.7 pounds led by Mason Hardee and Will Hardee-McGuirt with 12.20 pounds. The duo finished in 3rd place overall among the 2-man teams in the middle school division. Cody Wilder and Dalton Williams contributed one fish at 3.50 pounds to the total.
Conway High School finished 10th overall with a 2-boat total of 16.08 pounds. Austin Winburn and Jacob Martin had 11.33 pounds, with Noah Jones and Manning Feldner weighing in 4.75 pounds.
Only the top two teams from each school qualified to compete in the tournament.