Prime time to catch and release bull red drum is here along the Carolina coast. The Sun News file photo
Inshore, offshore fishing heating up and it’s prime time to catch bull red drum
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
October 26, 2017 3:20 PM
Look For: Red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, flounder, sheepshead, spots.
Comments: Prime time to catch and release bull red drum is here along the Carolina coast, with fish being found around area jetties, channels of inlets and on near-shore hard-bottom areas in the Atlantic Ocean. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown released six bull reds in the 40-44 inch range on Sunday, using cut mullet, while fishing the channel in Winyah Bay. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters has found the reds in the vicinity of the jetties and the channel of Little River Inlet this week, using live menhaden (pogeys) for bait. As McDonald said, “There’s a lot of pressure on these fish now.” Anglers are urged to catch the bull reds quickly with beefed-up tackle and release them carefully, being sure they are revived before letting them go. South Carolina’s slot limit on red drum is 15 to 23 inches. McDonald also notes he’s been catching 10-15 spotted seatrout per trip on plastic grubs with 1/8- or 1/4-ounce jig heads. Kelly has also headed for the creeks and caught trout, flounder and smaller reds, floating live shrimp for the trout and using finger mullet for reds and flounder. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway reports spots have been hit or miss in area inlets. “I’ve been hearing of a few limits being caught, sometimes 20-30, sometimes a dozen or so,” said Stalvey of the popular panfish. “They haven’t been pushed down yet, but the ones caught are very good-sized spots.”
Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, sheepshead and red drum.
Comments: The finest pier and surf fishing the calendar year offers is here along the Grand Strand and will be in the offing through November. Whiting, croaker and spots are the main species being landed off the piers, along with pompano, flounder, blues and the occasional bull red drum. Spot action has also been hit or miss off the piers, reports Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier. “We had a decent run of about 15 minutes on Tuesday,” said Wallace, “but it’s been off or on as far as the spots.” After a chilly overnight, Wallace noted a water temperature reading of 71 degrees Thursday morning at both the surface and bottom. Find a school of menhaden along the beach and look for bull reds feeding under the school, with king and Spanish mackerel also around. The near-shore hard-bottom areas are producing good catches of weakfish, black sea bass, whiting and bull reds. The artificial reefs are producing weakfish, black sea bass and flounder, with plenty of Spanish and king mackerel in the vicinity.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy, black sea bass, amberjack.
Comments: Bottom fishing has been superb this week with tranquil seas offering boats ample opportunity to to get offshore to catch vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grouper and amberjack. Anglers should remember cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Also, red snapper must be released in the South Atlantic region. King mackerel action is good in depths of 50-90 feet of water. Further offshore wahoo and blackfin tuna action is good for trolling boats.