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Fishing Report 12-16-16

Photo credit: Robert F. Bukaty AP

by Gregg Holshouser, Special to The Sun News
Estuary
Look For:Spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, flounder, tautog, sheepshead.
Comments: The roller-coaster ride of temperatures continues with highs in the 40s one day and soon back up to the 70s. “The fish don’t know what to do,” said Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown. Before the coldest air of the autumn pushed into the area Thursday night, McDonald had a couple of productive days earlier in the week in the Winyah Bay vicinity. On Sunday, McDonald’s crew caught 30 spotted seatrout and five red drum. On Wednesday while fishing in 57-degree water, action was a little slower with McDonald producing a mixed bag of six black drum, three flounder including two nice keepers, two red drum and one trout. McDonald caught the trout on artificial grubs and the drum on cut shrimp. A variety of species are available at area jetties with trout, black drum and tautog topping the list. Also look for red drum, sheepshead and flounder hanging out at the rocks.
Inshore
Look For: Black sea bass, weakfish, tautog, flounder, croaker, whiting, black drum.

Comments: ’Tis the season to find black sea bass in good numbers on near-shore artificial reefs and hard-bottom areas. The smallish members of the grouper family make for superb table fare and have a 13-inch minimum size limit with a 7-fish per person per day bag limit. Black sea bass are eager to take a variety of baits, including cut shrimp, mullet or squid, but will also take live bait (mud minnows) or grubs. Also look for tautog, weakfish, flounder and possibly sheepshead on the near-shore reefs. Action has slowed to a crawl from Grand Strand piers. Look for a few croaker, whiting and possibly black drum, although keeper black drum have been rare. The ocean water temperature was 57 degrees Thursday afternoon at Cherry Grove Pier, and headed down.
Offshore
Look For: Wahoo, dolphin, blackfin tuna, grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, porgy, triggerfish, grunts, amberjack.
Comments: Find a break in the windy, rough weather and there is good fishing to be found in the offshore waters. Trolling action can be excellent in December for wahoo where the Gulf Stream interacts with the Continental Shelf, with a few blackfin tuna and dolphin also in the mix. Bottom fishing is producing the usual mix of 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.
Freshwater
Look For: Bream, crappie, catfish, bass.
Comments: Rainy weather has the rivers on the rise again, and action has slowed on the Little Pee Dee and Great Pee Dee rivers. The Waccamaw River has produced the best this week with bream hitting lead-lined worms. Crappie are hitting minnows around brush and other structure. Catfish will take a variety of live or cut baits. “The bass fishing has been tremendous,” said Ronald ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Stalvey reports bass are hitting crankbaits, jerkbaits and plastic worms fished on the bottom.