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King Mackerel Prevails

June 22, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on King Mackerel Prevails


Grand Strand Fishing Report: King mackerel still prevalent as summer arrives

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

June 21, 2018 06:18 PM

Estuary

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

Comments: Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions has found red drum, flounder and black drum receptive in Murrells Inlet this week. Connolly is seeing the new 15-inch minimum size limit for flounder doing its job. “We’re catching a lot of flounder but 90 percent of them are small, with a lot from 12 to 14 3/4 inches,” said Connolly. “Hopefully all those 14 to 14 1/2 inch fish will spawn this fall.” Connolly has found finger mullet big enough to catch in his cast net, and now he says they’re the bait of choice for flounder. “The flounder are eating finger mullet better than mud minnows,” said Connolly. Connolly has used finger mullet, cut mullet and crab chunks to entice red drum, with black drum eating fiddler crabs or blue crab chunks. Pinfish are absolutely prevalent, thus Connolly has avoided using shrimp for bait. Connolly has observed a balmy water temperature in the mid 80s in the inlet and upper 80s around low tide during the daytime.
Inshore

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

Comments: Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters has had good success with king mackerel on half-day charters out of Murrells Inlet, fishing spots such as Myrtle Beach Rocks and Belky Bear. “The focus right now is within 20 miles, there’s some pretty decent king fishing,” said Carey, who has been slow-trolling menhaden if available or dead cigar minnows to catch the kings. “One day the bait’s there, the next day it’s not there but the cigar minnows are always reliable,” said Carey. “Most of (the kings) are 5 to 10 pounders, and every now and then you get a nice one.” Carey has also produced blacktip sharks on the half-day trips. Near-shore artificial reefs are holding spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish and black drum, with Spanish mackerel and bluefish roaming the vicinity. Be prepared for kings or cobia to make an appearance, too. Sharks of all sizes can also be found on the reefs. Ronnie Goodwin of Cherry Grove Pier reports whiting and croaker have been the main catch this week, with Spanish mackerel, black drum and red drum also showing up occasionally. Bluefish are available for bait but no king mackerel have been caught this week.
Offshore

Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: In areas such as the sprawling Parking Lot and other spots in 90 to 115 feet of water, look for a mix of king mackerel and a few dolphin, with a sailfish encounter a distinct possibility. No matter the depth, be on the lookout for weedlines and be prepared to toss a live or cut bait into it for dolphin. Blackfin tuna and a few wahoo are also around. Well offshore, blue marlin, sailfish and perhaps a few white marlin are available. Bottom fishing is producing vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack, especially in depths over 100 feet. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: With oppressive heat on hand this week, the Dog Days of Summer appear to have arrived a little early, considering summer didn’t arrive until Thursday. That means anglers competing in the B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Regional Championship out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown through Friday are likely to find the best action early and late in the day. “Topwater and a lot of worms, trick worms, brush hogs, Senkos, top-water frogs,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway on preferred artificials for bass. Stalvey also noted bream action has been very good on the rivers, with fish hitting crickets, worms and wax worms fished in depths of 1 to 4 feet. Catfish catches continue to be very good with fish hitting bream and fresh cut eel.

Pending State Record for Scamp Grouper

June 16, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Pending State Record for Scamp Grouper


William Henry of Gastonia, N.C., shows off the 27.41-pound scamp grouper he caught while fishing aboard the Sea Rake with Capt. Randall Robinson out of Murrells Inlet on June 8. The scamp is a pending new South Carolina state record. Submitted photo
Outdoors
See what fish caught during a trip out of Murrells Inlet is a pending state record

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

June 15, 2018 04:42 PM

Updated June 15, 2018 07:32 PM

William Henry of Gastonia, N.C., is a regular customer with Capt. Randall Robinson aboard the Sea Rake out of Crazy Sister Marina in Murrells Inlet.

When Henry charters the Sea Rake, he prefers to specifically go grouper fishing, and that is exactly what Robinson set out to do on an eight-hour trip on June 8.

Robinson wound up fishing in an area southeast of Murrells Inlet in 100 feet of water, about 35 miles out, perhaps a little shallower than usual.

“I stumbled on a spot I hadn’t fished a while that happened to have some fish on it,” said Robinson. “The bigger fish hadn’t really been biting (farther) offshore.”

Henry and his fellow angler, Alex Stutts of Charlotte, N.C., began catching some very nice scamp on the spot, landing a 20-pounder, two in the 16-18 pound range and a 12-pounder.

Then, they got another big bite on a dead cigar minnow on a single hook rig with a circle hook and what Robinson called a “pretty good leader.”

“I knew it was a pretty good fish,” said Robinson.

A few minutes later, the biggest scamp of all popped up to the surface beside the Sea Rake. This one, Robinson suspected could threaten the South Carolina state record for scamp.

“I hadn’t fished that spot in a couple years,” said Robinson. “We caught five scamps off it and they were all pretty good fish.”

Kris Reynolds, a Wildlife Biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, certified the potential state record on certified digital scales at Harrelson’s Seafood and the official weight was 27.41 pounds.

The existing state record is a 26-pound, 15-ounce scamp caught out of Port Royal in 2011.

Reynolds interviewed Robinson and Henry and submitted paperwork for the potential state record to the S.C. DNR office in Charleston.

For now, the catch is a pending state record awaiting an official ruling on whether the fish will go down as the new state record.

Robinson is a bottom-fishing veteran out of Murrells Inlet. His fishing career in the inlet started as a mate on a head boat in 1994, and he’s now had his captains license for 18 years. That’s plenty of time to glean some bottom spots that are honey holes, in a time when secret bottom spots are very few and far between.

The scamp was listed on the fishing leader board at Crazy Sister Marina, with info such as date, angler, weight and location. Robinson wasn’t exactly specific when filling in the location of the catch.

“I put ‘None of your business,’ ” Robinson said with a laugh.

*Jolly Mon King Classic: The area king mackerel tournament season kicks off this weekend with the Jolly Mon King Classic out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center.

Boats entered in the event can fish either Saturday or Sunday. The weigh-in at the OIFC in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., opens at 2 p.m. on both fishing days. Visit www.OIFC.com for more information.

Other upcoming king mackerel tournaments include the Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shootout out of Marlin Quay Marina in Murrells Inlet Sept. 7-9 and the Yellowfin/Yamaha Fall Brawl King Classic Oct. 12-14, also at the OIFC.

*Bassmaster Event: Georgetown is the host venue for the BASS Nation Eastern Regional out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex on the Sampit River June 20-22. The public is invited to attend the weigh-ins.

Cherry Grove Pier produces

June 15, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Cherry Grove Pier produces


Gaston and Tolly Hughes of Wilmington, N.C., of Team Grip Flip show off the second-place king mackerel in the 2017 Fall Brawl King Classic. Submitted photo
Outdoors
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Cherry Grove Pier produces another run of kings

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
June 14, 2018 07:27 PM

Estuary

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

Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters was having a ball late Wednesday morning with a group of youngsters from the Palmetto Kids Fishing Camp. “We just put a two-pound flounder in the boat,” said Kelly from the water in Little River. Kelly was fishing the creeks of Little River, using mud minnows on a No. 4 hook, with just a split shot for weight. Kelly has also produced good catches of black drum and red drum, especially on the ICW in the Little River area, using live or cut menhaden. “Fishing’s been pretty good this week,” said Kelly, who noted a water temperature of 78 degrees. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service had a very good trip early in the week south of Georgetown. McDonald’s crew caught 22 black drum and four red drum, with all fish released. McDonald used cut shrimp fished under floats for bait.
Inshore

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

Comments: The king mackerel bonanza continued on Cherry Grove Pier early in the week, thanks to uncommonly clear water and plentiful schools of pogeys (menhaden) along the beach. From Sunday through early Tuesday before rain and wind spoiled the fun by Tuesday afternoon, 15 king mackerel were landed off the pier, including a 36-pound, 4-ounce fish. “We had super-clear water the first of the week,” said Steve Gann of the Cherry Grove Pier. “It was the clearest I’ve seen the water in years. I can’t remember when I’ve seen it that clear.” When the water was clear, anglers were also catching Spanish, blues, whiting, croaker, spadefish and sheepshead off the pier. Gann noted a water temperature of 80 degrees. King mackerel action has also been good on mid-range reefs such as Belky Bear and The Jungle, plus a little closer in at Myrtle Beach Rocks. It’s spadefish season on near-shore reefs such as Paradise Reef, Jim Caudle Reef and Ron McManus Reef, but plenty of other species are available too. Look for Spanish mackerel, bluefish and the occasional king or cobia to show up. On the bottom, black sea bass, flounder and black drum are available with plenty of sharks, of all sizes, around.

Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: In late April and May, dolphin are typically found almost exclusively in the clear, warm water of the Gulf Stream as they migrate north. Now, Capt. Buddy Smith of Underdog in Murrells Inlet reports they can be found in depths of 90 to 115 feet – proof that summertime fishing is in full swing. “It’s getting to be that time of year where kings and dolphin are in there,” said Smith. “As that water warms up and the bait comes in there, you can catch dolphin in there.” And, don’t be surprised to find a few sailfish in the same depths. Further out along the break in areas such as the Winyah Scarp, Georgetown Hole and Blackjack Hole, trolling action is producing scattered catches of blackfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo, plus billfish encounters can occur at any time. Bottom fishing is excellent, particularly in depths over 100 feet. Vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack are all available but red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: There’s plenty of water in the rivers after a rainy stretch, but summertime fishing is in full swing. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway reports very good action for bream, bass and catfish. The Waccamaw, Little Pee Dee, Great Pee Dee and Ricefields are all producing good catches of bream with fish hitting crickets and worms in 1-4 feet of water. “The bream I’ve been seeing are nice,” said Stalvey. Bass are in the early or late mode with surface water temperatures at 80 degrees and up, with top-water lures working well. Stalvey also suggests spinner baits, buzz baits, frogs, Bang-O-Lures, Baby Brush Hogs and crawfish imitations. Stalvey suggests fresh cut eel for catfish but frozen shad is also a good option.