Late autumn chill expected to make fishing a tad difficult
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
Look For: Spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, flounder, sheepshead, tautog.
Comments: With the strongest cold front of autumn having pushed through the area, the water temperature is on a sharp downward trend this weekend. That means species such as spotted seatrout and red drum are changing to their winter mode. “It’s gonna group ‘em up,” said Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown. “If you can find ‘em, you ought to be able to sit there and wear ‘em out. Once it gets too cold, trout will start easing out of here, but some will stay regardless. Reds, you find the warmest water, you’ll find them, but they’ll also be spooky as hell.” Leading up to the cold front, fishing had been excellent for trout, reds and black drum. Area jetties are likely holding a variety of species including trout, black drum, red drum, tautog and sheepshead.
Look For: Black sea bass, whiting, weakfish, black drum, red drum, tautog, flounder, croaker.
Comments: Look for black sea bass, weakfish, tautog, sheepshead and flounder on near-shore artificial reefs such as Jim Caudle, Ron McManus and Paradise. Anglers are reminded black sea bass have a 13-inch minimum size limit but the daily bag limit is now seven per person, which went into effect on Aug. 12. Keepers should become more numerous on bottom spots within 10 miles of the beach as the water temperature plunges in the coming weeks. Black drum, whiting and croaker are the best bet on Grand Strand piers, with a few keeper black drum within the 14- to 27-inch slot limit being caught. Ronnie Goodwin of Cherry Grove Pier reports a few keeper black drum in the 16- to 17-inch range were caught at midweek. Carsten Fischer of Apache Pier reports one angler caught 15 whiting on Wednesday. The water temperature at Cherry Grove Pier was 59 degrees at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, porgy, triggerfish, grunts, amberjack.
Comments: On the heels of the cold front, offshore fishing conditions are rough for Friday. But seas are expected to calm down quickly and it looks fishable for Saturday and nice for Sunday according to the NOAA Marine Forecast. Wahoo action has been solid in recent weeks in areas such as the Winyah Scarp, Black Jack Hole and MacMarlen Ledge, with blackfin tuna, dolphin and a few sailfish also available. Look for grouper and king mackerel on bottom spots and ledges in about 60 to 100 feet of water. Use cigar minnows for both species. In all, bottom fishing is excellent for grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, porgy, triggerfish, grunts and amberjack. Red snapper are off-limits in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Look For: Crappie, bream, catfish, bass.
Comments: “We cooked up a bunch of morgans, crappie and bream (Wednesday),” said Ronald ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “We had us a good ol’ fish fry.” Obviously, fishing is good on area rivers with catfish, crappie, a variety of species of bream and bass all being caught. “It’s fantastic out there,” said Stalvey. “If people can’t catch fish now, they don’t know how to fish.” The Little Pee Dee, Great Pee Dee and Waccamaw are all at good water levels and producing fish. Lead-lining worms is producing bream and morgans and crappie minnows are catching crappie around brush and structure. Catfish are taking cut eel and live bait. Bass are hitting artificial worms, crank baits and jerk baits.