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
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
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.
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.
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.