Bass fishing partners Austin Winburn and Chandler Brown of Conway High School, along with captain Glenn Cribb, display their hardware after Winburn and Brown won the High School Division of the South Carolina BASS Junior Bassmasters and High School Championship last Saturday on Lake Murray. Submitted photo
What first seemed an inconsequential catch proved the winning fish for Conway duo
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
April 13, 2018 09:07 PM
Updated April 13, 2018 09:07 PM
Two weeks earlier, Austin Winburn and Chandler Brown had fished a spot on Lake Murray in the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Youth Bass Fishing Championship, but with little luck.
The duo weighed in only one bass, and finished well down the standings in the High School Division.
Last Saturday, Winburn and Brown, both freshmen competing for Conway High School, returned to Lake Murray to fish in the South Carolina BASS Junior Bassmasters and High School Championship.
When the day dawned, Winburn was determined to fish the same, unproductive spot, but for good reason.
“We had seen big fish cruising along the bank – they were really big,” said Winburn. “We had seen a few beds in there and made a point to go back there. In the DNR Tournament we went to the same spot and lost a five-pounder. It just broke my heart the rest of the day.”
With Glenn Cribb, a friend of Austin’s parents, Matt and Sherry Winburn, serving as captain, the duo returned to the same spot that Cribb described as “a pocket off the main lake.”
Winburn got the day started by catching a 3.93-pound bass, their biggest of the day, on a buzz bait from a canal that flows into the pocket.
“That’s the only fish we caught blind-casting,” said Winburn. “The other fish we caught were on beds and we sight-casted (to them).”
They used a 1/2-ounce jig with a brownish craw trailer, mimicking a crawfish, to catch bedding bass.
“Whatever gets in their bed, they get mad at it and eventually will bite it,” said Winburn.
After enduring rain showers throughout the day, the duo had a limit of five bass in the live well, and Winburn had caught all five. However, one was a small male in the 1.5-pound range.
Brown proceeded to come through when it counted most, landing a female in the 3.5-pound range very late in the day, enabling them to cull the small fish. The turn of events gave the duo an excellent five-fish limit.
“As soon as he caught that fish we left for the weigh-in,” said Winburn.
At the weigh-in, they discovered just how important Brown’s late catch was.
Winburn and Brown finished with an aggregate weight of 16.87 pounds and claimed the championship of the High School Division, finishing just ahead of Kyler McKie and Chad Champy of North Augusta at 16.71 pounds.
“If it wasn’t for (Brown’s catch) we wouldn’t have won,” said Winburn. “We probably would have finished in third place. I caught five fish but he caught that one that saved us.”
As freshmen, the duo are just getting started on their high school bass fishing careers and their first tournament win qualifies them for the national tournament this summer in Kentucky.
“I was really excited,” said Winburn. “It was pretty crazy.”
Jojo Phegley and Bryson Fittery of North Augusta won the Middle School Division with a five-bass limit of 14.62 pounds.
Several other local teams competed in the tournament.
Bennett Lawshe and TJ McKenzie of Waccamaw High School finished fourth with 14.96 pounds.
Jackson Denny and Bowman Davis of Carolina Forest High School finished 14th with 12.0 pounds.
Noah Jones and Manning Feldner, who finished second in the S.C. DNR Youth Bass Fishing Championship two weeks earlier, finished 28th with 6.61 pounds.
Blake Thompson and Gage Forston of Conway High School finished 29th with 6.26 pounds.
In the Middle School Division, Mason Hardee and Will Hardee-McGuirt of Conway Middle School finished 11th with 3.28 pounds.
The Little River Swing Bridge will officially receive a change in name to the “Captain Archie Neil ‘Poo’ McLauchlin Swing Bridge” on Saturday in Little River. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews
Here’s how you can join in on the Little River swing bridge dedication
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
April 13, 2018 03:01 PM
Updated April 13, 2018 03:01 PM
The Little River Swing Bridge will officially receive a change in name to the “Captain Archie Neil ‘Poo’ McLauchlin Swing Bridge” on Saturday in Little River.
The public is invited to the dedication, which is set for 2 p.m. based at Filet’s Restaurant, located adjacent to the bridge. The event will feature a boat parade, with several speakers, including North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley, on hand to help with the dedication.
“If you’ve got a boat, decorate it in a patriotic theme and come on out,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly, one of the event’s organizers. “We’re going to have a few of Capt. Poo’s friends who have known him for decades out there, honk horns and have a good time.”
Bluefish, Spanish mackerel showing up in near-shore waters
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
April 12, 2018 05:52 PM
Updated April 12, 2018 05:52 PM
Look For: Red drum, black drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, sheepshead.
Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters put a productive trip in the books on Wednesday in the Little River vicinity. “I found a hole with a bunch of spottails and black drum in it,” said Kelly. “We probably caught 20-plus fish, (ranging from) 17-26 inches.” Kelly started by offering Berkeley Gulp baits and mud minnows on 1/4-ounce jig heads, but with little luck. “I switched to fresh cut shrimp and they went to chewing,” said Kelly. “It seems like they were more into scent, being lazy. If you had some soft shell crab (for bait) you’d probably have some really good luck.” Kelly reports catches of flounder are starting up in Cherry Grove Inlet, but most fish are under the 15-inch minimum size limit. Last Saturday, Kelly’s crew caught and released a 7.5-pound spotted seatrout, caught on a mud minnow in the ICW. Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions had success with red drum in Murrells Inlet on Tuesday, fishing in chilly 56-58 degree water. By Thursday at midday, at dead low tide, Connolly observed a water temperature of 61.5 degrees. Connolly reports plenty of flounder in the 14-inch range are being caught in the inlet, with the occasional keeper above the 15-inch minimum size limit.
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Look For: Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker.
Comments: Connolly and his O-Fish-Al Expeditions crew had a very active trip and saw a new arrival on Thursday at Paradise Reef, three miles east of Murrells Inlet. “Some Spanish are starting to show up,” said Connolly. “We caught a ton of bluefish and a stud weakfish that made the leader board at MIFC (Murrells Inlet Fishing Center). We were catching blues on jigs and I had foul hooked a blue. Fifteen feet under the boat, I saw a big gray, yellow back, and two weakfish in the 5-7 pound range were trying to eat my bluefish off my jig. My client dropped a mud minnow down on a jig and caught the weakfish.” The weakfish weight 5.5 pounds. Connolly also noted numerous black sea bass were caught on the trip, most around 12 inches but a handful just a hair under the 13-inch minimum size limit. The ocean water temperature along the beach is on the verge of topping the 60-degree mark for good. Ronnie Goodwin of Cherry Grove Pier reported a surface water temperature of 62 degrees Thursday at 4 p.m., a day after a reading of 59 was recorded. Goodwin reports bluefish and flounder have made a showing on the pier this week, plus the regular whiting and croaker. A few of the flounder measured 14 inches, just under the 15-inch minimum size limit. “They’re catching a decent whiting here and there,” Goodwin said.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy, black sea bass, grunts.
Comments: The South Carolina Wahoo series was on fire earlier this week, topped by a 105.5-pound smoker weighed in by Trae Everett and the crew of Reelist out of St. Helena. Renegade out of Mt. Pleasant weighed in an 88.3-pounder last Friday. Both of those boats still have one fishing day to declare in the tournament which concludes Sunday. With the wahoo bite on, trolling boats are also after blackfin tuna and dolphin. With warmer weather and water on tap, the number and size of dolphin will increase in the next 2-3 weeks as the species moves in from the south and southeast. Bottom, or reef fishing has been excellent, especially in depths of 90 feet and beyond. Look for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, amberjack, grey triggerfish, white grunts and red porgy. Only a few more weeks remain in the annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure, which is in effect through April 30. Red snapper are closed indefinitely in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Look For: Bream, , bass, crappie, catfish.
Comments: The weather finally turned nice at mid-week, and the action on the rivers has been excellent. “There’s been a lot, a lot of fish caught,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Crappie, bream, quite a few bass. Everything’s still pulling up shallow to spawn. Most of your nicer fish are being caught in 3-4 feet of water.” Bream action is very good in that 3-4 feet range with fish hitting both crickets and worms. “I’ve been seeing some nice, big bream,” said Stalvey. Bass are in spawning mode and are hitting senkos, trick worms, craw-type baits and diving crank baits.