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Fishing’s good, despite the rain


Will Duke of Marietta, Ga., shows off a bull red drum he caught and released Tuesday while fishing in Winyah Bay with Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service. Courtesy of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service
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Grand Strand Fishing Report: Bites still coming for those who are braving the rain

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

July 26, 2018 05:22 PM

Estuary

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

Comments: Huge or small, there was good action this week for Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown. McDonald has produced huge bull red drum well over the slot limit of 15-23 inches and spotted seatrout under the 14-inch minimum this week, along with a good mess of flounder, all while fishing finger mullet on the bottom for flounder. The bull reds were a pleasant surprise on light tackle. “Those reds have moved up on the flats,” said McDonald. McDonald noted there is an abundance of freshwater moving down into the bay, plus plenty of tarpon are on hand. Reds and flounder hitting finger mullet have been the catch of the week for Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River. “For as much rain as we’ve had fishing’s still pretty good,” said Kelly. Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions in Murrells Inlet has also caught “some nice keeper flounder” over the 15-inch minimum size limit along with slot red drum on finger mullet this week. “I’ve seen a lot of schools of bigger mullet this week, so there’s bound to be tarpon around,” said Connolly.

Inshore

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

Comments: If not rainy weather, then the forecast of rain has kept boats at dock or inside the inlets over the last week to 10 days. “No one’s been fishing for a week,” said Dave Christian of Marlin Quay Marina. “Before that, there were kings at Belky Bear and Myrtle Beach Rocks.” A variety of species are hanging around near-shore artificial reefs such as Jim Caudle Reef, Ron McManus Memorial Reef and Paradise Reef including spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, and weakfish. Also on the reefs, be ready for Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia to make a showing, with plenty of sharks in the vicinity. Water clarity hasn’t been the best along the beach this week, but Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports anglers have caught whiting, croaker, pompano, spadefish, flounder and a few keeper black drum. The ocean water temperature Thursday afternoon was 86 degrees.

Offshore

Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: Mate Wade Fehlig of Underdog out of Murrells Inlet reports trips have been few and far between this week, but on his last trip a week ago the boat produced dolphin at the Parking Lot in 80-100 feet of water along with king mackerel and barracuda. Christian reports that bottom fishing is excellent for vermilion snapper, triggerfish and red porgy, with numerous scamp available, in 100-120 feet of water. Red snapper are also being caught in good numbers but must be released in the South Atlantic region. Recreational anglers will be able to harvest red snapper for six days in August (Aug. 10-12, 17-19) with a limit of one per person per day with no size limit. After Aug. 19, the red snapper fishery will close once again.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: There’s been plenty of rainfall this week, which has kept the anglers off the rivers.”The water levels are still good – the Little Pee Dee is still dry,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Everything’s still great but there just ain’t nobody going. Cricket sales are way down this week.” Still, crickets and worms are producing bream in 2-4 feet of water and catfish are hitting eels and bream. For bass, Stalvey suggests using Texas-rigged worms and hollow body frogs. Bass action was excellent last weekend for the CATT Waccamaw River tournament. Corey Singleton and Jesse Hopkins won the tournament with a five-bass limit of 20.35 pounds.