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Red Snapper mini season continues

August 19, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Red Snapper mini season continues


A young angler displays a red snapper caught last weekend while fishing with Aces Up Fishing and Capt. Jay Sconyers out of Murrells Inlet. The 2018 red snapper mini-season continues this weekend, Friday through Sunday. Photo courtesy of Aces Up Fishing
Outdoors
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Last chance for anglers to keep this popular fish in ’18

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

August 16, 2018 07:02 PM

Updated August 16, 2018 07:02 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: Flounder are the best bet in local estuaries with live finger mullet currently the prime bait. Fish the dropoffs along the banks, and don’t be surprised to also catch red drum or spotted seatrout on the finger mullet. Live or fresh cut shrimp is the prime bait for black drum. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has hooked up with plenty of reds this week, but he has either caught dink reds in the 12-inch range or bull reds well over the 15-23 inch slot limit. McDonald has used live finger mullet in Winyah Bay, North Inlet and areas south of Georgetown, and has also caught flounder and ladyfish. Tarpon are available in Winyah Bay and the Santee Delta region south of Georgetown.
Breaking News

Inshore

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

Comments: The flounder bite is good on near-shore artificial reefs such as Jim Caudle Reef, Ron McManus Memorial Reef and Paradise Reef, with spadefish and black sea bass also available. Live finger mullet are a choice bait for flounder, but anglers should keep in mind the minimum size limits of 15 inches for flounder and 13 inches for black sea bass. Always be ready for pelagic species like Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia to show up while fishing the reefs. Moe Deets of The Pier at Garden City reports an angler caught four pompano include two sizable ones Thursday. Deets notes whiting, croaker and Spanish mackerel have also been landed this week. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports whiting, croaker, spadefish, ribbonfish and a few Spanish have been caught this week despite muddy water conditions. The ocean water temperature at the pier was 85 degrees.

Offshore

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

Comments: We’re right smack in the middle of the 2018 red snapper season in the South Atlantic Region. This weekend, Friday through Sunday, recreational anglers can harvest one red snapper per person with no size limit. The same limits were in effect last weekend, and sea conditions were very nice on Friday and Saturday, allowing numerous boats to get offshore. Among those was the New Inlet Princess party boat out of Murrells Inlet, which had a boatload of anglers aboard last Friday, the opening day of the season. About a dozen red snapper were landed on the trip and fishing proved to be very good, with many anglers taking home a limit of five vermilion snapper. An assortment of triggerfish, red porgy, black sea bass and grouper along with a king mackerel in the 15-pound range were also caught. A cobia in the 30-inch range was also caught and released. Trolling action is good for wahoo near the break, with the field of 41 boats in the Georgetown Wahoo Challenge catching a combined 67 wahoo last Friday and Saturday.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: Despite high water levels fishing is still productive on local rivers. The Waccamaw River near Conway was still above nine feet, at 9.39 feet at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, but was forecast to begin falling over the weekend. The Little Pee Dee near Galivants Ferry has remained near steady over the last week and was at 6.47 feet Thursday at 4 p.m. “The next couple weeks things will be leveled out,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Bream will take a variety of baits including worms, beetle spins and popping bugs, but crickets are the best bet. Bass are hitting top water. “Trick worms and buzz baits have been the hot (lures) this week,” said Stalvey. Catfish action remains good, as Stalvey reports flatheads weighing 50 and 37 pounds were caught this week. Eel and bream are top baits for catfish.

Special win in King Mackerel Tournament

August 11, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Special win in King Mackerel Tournament

Bryan Baxter and Matt DeAntonio show off the winning 44.20-pound king mackerel in the James Island Yacht Club King Mackerel Tournament Saturday. Courtesy photo
Outdoors
A popular fish is now available, and why a Kingfish tournament win was sentimental

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

August 10, 2018 04:09 PM

Bryan Baxter has been part of the winning team in five different Southern Kingfish Association-sanctioned tournaments over the last 14 years, but the latest win is particularly special.

Baxter and his fishing partners – Matt DeAntonio, Gifford Scott and Leigh Colyer, all of the Charleston area – weighed in a 44.20-pound king to win the James Island Yacht Club King Mackerel Tournament Saturday aboard Baxter’s 27-foot Onslow Bay powered by Suzuki.

After securing the win, Baxter’s thoughts quickly turned to his dad, Bobby Baxter, who passed away in June, 2017.

“That win’s definitely dedicated to him,” said Baxter. “This is the first summer he hasn’t been around. He would have been the first one out there high-fiving me.”

The victory continued a string of success for Baxter’s team, dubbed Onslow Bay/Net Profit, with previous wins in SKA events at Edisto Island, Charleston, Sullivan’s Island and the first coming in the 2005 Frantic Atlantic tournament out of Harbourgate Marina in North Myrtle Beach.

“My Dad raised me on the water, fishing, king fishing,” said Baxter. “I definitely owe it all to him.”

Along with landing the largest king, Baxter’s crew won the Small Boat Class. Less than a pound behind was Billy Freeman’s crew aboard Mas Pescado, which weighed in a 43.75-pound king and won the Open Class.

“We knew the Freeman boys had a 40-pounder, and we barely eked it out at the weigh-in,” said Baxter.

Baxter and crew fished a live-bottom area in 100 feet of water, a spot he typically bottom fishes on.

The winning fish came aboard in textbook fashion.

“The fish ate a live bait (menhaden) and Matt was on the rod,” said Baxter. “Five minutes later, I gaffed it. We knew we had a good fish. I looked at it for 60 seconds and we put it in the Sea Angler Gear fish bag.”

The smoker king was the highlight of a busy day for the crew.

“We probably caught 12 fish but they were all small early and that fish hit late morning,” said Baxter. “We continued to fish until 2:30 p.m. We released another probably upper 30-pound fish at noon, another about 30-pounder at 1 p.m. We had a good, fun day and caught some fish.”

The tournament was the second in SKA’s Division 3 (South Carolina) with two more events in the division to go – the Fishing For Miracles King Mackerel Tournament out of Ripley Light Yacht Club in Charleston on Aug. 17-18 and the Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shootout out of Marlin Quay Marina in Murrells Inlet from Sept. 7-9.

Wahoo Challenge: The tournament out of Georgetown Landing Marina is underway with fishing concluding Saturday. Scales closed at 7 p.m.

Spanish Derby: Murrells Inlet’s Spanish Mackerel Derby will be held Aug. 24-25, based out of the Mullet Hut on the Marshwalk. The tournament has deep pockets for the eighth annual edition, including over $20,000 in cash and prizes. For more information, call Robert Thompson at 843-602-0910.

Red Snapper Season: The much-anticipated red snapper mini-season has arrived, and the weather, for once, looks to be stable.

The season for recreational anglers is open Friday through Sunday (Aug. 10-12) and again next weekend, Aug. 17-19. Red snapper can be harvested in federal waters (beyond three miles offshore) with a daily bag limit of one fish per person per day and no minimum size limit.

Recreational anglers are encouraged to report the details of their red snapper fishing trips via www.MyFishCount.com, which allows anglers to report their catches using photos to document lengths, as well as depths from which fish are caught.

Wahoo challenge underway

August 10, 2018 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Wahoo challenge underway


Wahoo, like this one caught early in 2018 by Collins Doughtie & Bryan Baker, are the targeted fish in this weekend’s Georgetown Wahoo Challenge out of Georgetown Landing Marina. Collins Doughtie

Grand Strand Fishing Report: Conway crew’s trips show variety of active species

By By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

August 09, 2018 05:16 PM

Updated August 09, 2018 08:47 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: Local estuaries from Winyah Bay to Brunswick County, N.C., are producing scattered catches of a variety of fish. Finger mullet are abundant, and the bait of choice for flounder, red drum and spotted seatrout, but live or fresh cut shrimp are better bait choices for black drum. As Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions points out, blue crab chunks are a good bait option for red and black drum. Connolly’s crew caught 15 red drum in the 12-21 inch range in a two-hour period in Murrells Inlet Tuesday, mainly on live finger mullet or cut mullet. Connolly reported a water temperature of 84-85 degrees. Other species available include sheepshead, bluefish, ladyfish and a variety of sharks. Winyah Bay is home to tarpon in late summer, and the sizable sport fish are roaming the bay and jetties despite a heavy influx of freshwater from recent rains.
Inshore

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

Comments: Spadefish, flounder and black sea bass are the best bets on near-shore artificial reefs such as Jim Caudle Reef, Ron McManus Memorial Reef and Paradise Reef, but anglers should keep in mind that flounder have a 15-inch minimum size limit and black sea bass a 13-inch minimum size limit. Pelagic species roaming around the reefs include Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia, plus sharks of all sizes are on hand. Scattered catches of a variety of species are also coming in off Grand Strand piers. “They’re not killing them but they’re catching some fish,” said Moe Deets of The Pier at Garden City Thursday afternoon. Deets reports whiting, blues and pompano have been caught this week, with some keeper flounder and Spanish mackerel also landed. Look for king mackerel on live bottom areas in 40-60 feet of water.

Offshore

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

Comments: What happens when a “Catfish” leaves the river behind and heads offshore? In this case, the results were spectacular. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway joined fishing buddies Trey Jordan and Logan Estep aboard Jordan’s 22-foot Sea Pro Saturday and started by trolling in the Georgetown Hole vicinity and produced a king mackerel in the 20-pound range, two blackfin tuna and, to their surprise, a yellowfin tuna. Next, they ran back in to 110 feet of water and hit the bottom with cigar minnows and squid, and brought home four sizable scamp, black sea bass, triggerfish, red porgy, vermilion snapper and white grunts. The Conway crew liked it so much, they went back for more to the same bottom spot on Sunday. This time they landed three more scamp, one gag grouper, plus vermilion snapper, black sea bass, red porgy, triggerfish and white grunts, plus released five red snapper, including a 30-incher. The red snapper releases bode well for this weekend when recreational anglers can harvest one red snapper per person with no size limit on Friday,Saturday and Sunday. The mini-red snapper season concludes with the same limits next weekend (Aug. 17-19). The Sea-Batical out of Murrells Inlet caught five wahoo in 180 feet of water Sunday, which is a good sign for this weekend’s Georgetown Wahoo Challenge. The tournament will be held out of Georgetown Landing Marina with competing boats able to fish one day, Friday or Saturday.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: The rivers are undoubtedly high, especially the Great Pee Dee and the Waccamaw, but Stalvey says good fish are being caught. “The weather’s beautiful, they need to get out there,” said Stalvey. “The Waccamaw is pretty high but it’s still making a good tide. I think everything is about to get back on track.” What is Stalvey’s current best bet for bream? “I’d tell ‘em to go to the Little Pee Dee and use crickets, worms, beetle spins and popping bugs,” said Stalvey. “People going there are doing that and catching some nice fish.” Bass action continues to be solid despite the high water. “They’re still pulling up some nice bass, fishing in the trees, back creeks and ditch mouths on top-water,” Stalvey said. The Waccamaw near Conway was near crest at 9.63 feet at 2:15 p.m. Thursday while the Little Pee Dee near Galivants Ferry was near crest, at 6.52 feet at 2 p.m. Thursday.

The crew of Margaritaville displays a wahoo caught Sunday out of Georgetown. The Georgetown Wahoo Challenge is underway and runs through Saturday out of Georgetown Landing Marina. Photo Courtesy Georgetown Landing Marina