Flounder have arrived in local estuaries, marking the arrival of spring. Submitted photo
Flounder have arrived. What that means for Grand Strand fishing
For The Sun News
April 20, 2018 06:44 PM
When the flounder bite turns on in the estuaries along the Grand Strand, from Georgetown to Brunswick County, N.C., you can rest assured spring has arrived.
The flounder are biting, thus spring is finally here, after one of the most prolonged winters in recent memory on the East Coast.
Some flounder stay in the estuaries year-round, but the majority head for the ocean for the winter.
Each April, flounder that departed the estuaries for the Atlantic Ocean as the water temperature cooled in late fall return for about seven months of warm weather.
For nearly two decades, the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers Flounder Tournament has been staged in Murrells Inlet to welcome the return of the flounder, and the arrival of spring.
The 17th annual tournament will be held next Saturday, April 28 in the inlet, with a catch.
The minimum size limit for flounder in South Carolina waters increased to 15 inches on July 1, 2017. For a flounder to be weighed into the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers tournament, a flounder must measure 16 inches.
April also marks the occurrence of large bluefish in local waters, and the club includes a bluefish division in the tournament for an extra $5 fee.
The Captains Meeting for the event will be held at the Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet on Friday at 5:30 p.m., with fishing set for the next morning with lines in at 6 a.m. The weigh-in is set for 3-5 p.m. next Saturday at Crazy Sister Marina.
The grand prize of the tournament is $1,500 for the largest flounder weighed in.
The 17th annual tournament is dedicated to the late Ken Buys, a prominent club member who passed away in 2017.
For more information, call Ed Skowysz at 843-450-8218 or Chick McDaniel at 843-651-2076.
Another rite of spring is the arrival of dolphin in the offshore waters, typically in late April.
When dolphin arrive from the south and east, the three components of an offshore Carolina meatfish slam – wahoo, tuna and dolphin – will be present, thus the name of the Georgetown Meatfish Slam.
The 10th annual slam will be held next Friday and Saturday (April 27-28) out of Georgetown Landing Marina. The public is invited to the weigh-in both days, with scales opening at 3 p.m. and closing at 7 p.m.
The Captains Meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. For more information, call 843-546-1776.
SALTT No. 5
The 5th event of the Student Angler League Tournament Trail was staged last Saturday out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown.
The trail is open to middle and high school anglers targeting red drum and largemouth bass in separate categories.
Conway Middle School claimed the top two spots in the red drum division, led by Ashton Rouhselang and Lance Cooper with 6.68 pounds, including big fish honors. Donovan Harris fished solo and weighed in 4.26 pounds to finish in second place.
Noah Payne and Kadyn Kellahan of Andrew High School finished third in the red drum division with 3.30 pounds.
Bennett Lawshe and Matt Caines of Waccamaw High School won the bass division with 13.10 pounds including big fish honors.
Wade Kelly of Waccamaw Middle School and partner Michael Paglio of Waccamaw High School took second with 10.71 pounds despite fishing only six of eight hours allowed.
Jackson Denny of Carolina Forest High School also fished solo, but finished third in the bass division with 10.03 pounds.
The sixth and final trail will be held on May 5 out of the Campbell Marine Complex, an event that will determine the winners in all four divisions for the 2017-18 school year.
For more information, visit www.salttfishing.com.