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All hail the King (mackerel that is)

image: ocean bay and beach

Fishing report: King mackerel make an early appearance
April 21, 2017 5:39 PM

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

Estuary
Look For: Flounder, red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, bluefish, sheepshead.
Comments: Capt. Mark Dickson reports his Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters guide service has been producing good catches of a variety of species in the Little River area this week. Dickson says Capt. Ken Salos has landed flounder, trout, red drum, flounder and even a 12-pound striper – all on artificials. “There have been more and more flounder, more and more keeper flounder,” said Dickson. “We’re still seeing a bunch of trout and some nice reds (red drum).” Salos has been using vudu shrimp and paddle-tail grubs to catch his fish in areas such as the ICW and Tubbs Inlet. Flounder are the targeted species in Murrells Inlet, where the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers’ Flounder Tournament will be held Saturday. “There have been reds caught in the inlet, some lingering trout, but everybody’s going for flounder,” said Jessica Perry of Perry’s Bait and Tackle. “Catches have been all over the board, but they’re definitely better in overall size and numbers.”
Inshore
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, croaker, pompano, flounder, weakfish, black sea bass.

Comments: King mackerel showed up in a big way this week with boats bringing in numerous fish caught on bottom spots in depths of 35-40 feet and beyond. But perhaps the biggest splash was made on the beach, specifically at the Cherry Grove Pier on Thursday. Ronnie Goodwin of Cherry Grove Pier reports 14-year-old angler Jax Solley of Boone, N.C., landed a 32-pound, 14-ounce king that hit a bluefish at mid-afternoon Thursday. Solley’s fish was one of three kings that were caught in a stretch of less than two hours. Jules Jaget of North Myrtle Beach landed a king that weighed in at 14-pounds, 12-ounces, and Andrea Garcia, also of North Myrtle Beach, caught a king in the 15-pound range that wasn’t weighed. Goodwin noted the water was clear with a moderate south wind during the flurry, and the water temperature was 72 degrees. Spanish mackerel continue to be caught from the piers, with a bigger grade of fish being found around near-shore bottom spots such as Paradise Reef (three miles east of Murrells Inlet) and Jim Caudle Reef (three miles south of Little River). There are plenty of bluefish, including some big ones, to be found in all areas. The piers are also producing whiting, croaker and flounder. Pompano made a showing at the Apache Pier this week.

Offshore
Look For: Dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, amberjack.
Comments: “The mahi (dolphin) are really starting to show up, wahoo are starting to fade away and tuna are still around,” said Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters in Murrells Inlet. “The warmest (water) temperature is 78-79 degrees, but I’m looking for 80 degrees and weedlines. The weedlines are out there. We have been catching some dolphin in 77-78 degree water. It’s shaping up for a good spring mahi season.” Bottom fishing trips have been superb, with vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts and porgy topping the catches. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is almost over, ending on April 30. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Freshwater
Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.
Comments: Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey reports superb bream fishing on the Waccamaw and Great Pee Dee rivers. Look for bream in 1-4 feet of water just off the banks hitting crickets and worms, although most anglers are using crickets. Catfish action has also been very good with fish hitting bream, eel and large shiners. Stalvey reports bass action has slowed a bit. “They are in transition from spawn to post-spawn,” Stalvey said. “They’re in lock-down mode, not wanting to bite. It’s really hard to dial in on them.”