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High winds hamper fishing


A redfish (pictured is an over-slot redfish that was caught and released) was devoured by a larger bluefish in shallow water in the Myrtle Beach area this week. Contributed photo
Latest News
Relentless wind continues to hamper fishing; monster bluefish devours hooked redfish

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

Updated April 19, 2018 07:23 PM
Estuary

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

Comments: For anglers along the Carolina coast, it’s been a spring to forget, at least in terms of windy conditions. “You can count on one hand the number of days we’ve had winds under 15 mph since the big freeze in early January,” said Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown. In the Georgetown/Winyah Bay area, the wind piles waves up on the banks, washing pluff mud into the water. “It muddies that water up,” said McDonald. “The water’s real muddy right now.” On a Thursday trip, facing stiff westerly winds at 15-20 mph to go with the muddy water, McDonald produced a few red drum in the area south of Georgetown. Capt. Jason Burton of Murrells Inlet Fishing Charters wound up with a whale of a fishing tale on Wednesday, with pictures to back it up. Burton’s crew was fishing in three feet of water in the inlet when one angler hooked up with an undersized red drum. As the 13-14 inch red neared the boat, it was attacked and devoured by a huge bluefish. Suddenly the shallow creek was alive with the thrashing bluefish, which was now hooked. The blue was boated and wound up weighing just over 11 pounds. On a windy day, Burton’s crew also caught 15 flounder including three keepers over South Carolina’s minimum size limit of 15 inches.
Inshore
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Look For: Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano.

Comments: “Brutal, just brutal,” said Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in describing the windy weather and sea conditions of late. Just after bluefish and Spanish mackerel arrived in the inshore waters about a week ago, the wind kicked in again with a vengeance and anglers haven’t been able to get out into the ocean. When conditions permit, the near-shore reefs are holding plenty of bluefish and black sea bass along with Spanish, weakfish and flounder. The wind has also been a pain for pier anglers, who have been catching mainly whiting, croaker, bluefish and a few flounder. When conditions calm down, look for Spanish and pompano to show up along the beach. The water temperature at mid-afternoon Thursday at the Cherry Grove Pier was 63 degrees at the surface and on the bottom.

Offshore

Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy, black sea bass, grunts.

Comments: There was a brief and slight respite from the wind last weekend, and numerous boats made it offshore to reap the benefits of mid-April trolling. The Underdog out of Murrells Inlet, captained by Buddy Smith and owned by Capt. Shawn Thomas, had a solid day that was typical of the catches last Saturday, with four wahoo and a blackfin tuna. The wahoo ranged from 20-45 pounds while the blackfin was a nice one, at 20 pounds. Smith fished in 68-degree water in depths of 170-350 feet in the vicinity of the McMarlen ledge to catch his fish. Smith has received word of good catches of dolphin off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., and expects them to join the offshore party at any time. “It should be a matter of a couple weeks when the dolphin really show up,” said Smith. “The next couple weeks should be good.” The wind has hampered the bottom fishing too, but when conditions permit, there are plenty of vermilion snapper, black sea bass, amberjack, grey triggerfish, white grunts and red porgy available. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect through April 30. Red snapper are closed indefinitely in the South Atlantic region and must be released.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, crappie, catfish.

Comments: With the water temperature moving up to near the 65-degree mark, fishing has been excellent on local rivers. Catfish action has been superb both on rod and reel and bush hooks, with cut eel a prime bait. Channel, flathead and blue cats have been caught in good numbers, with a 58-pound flathead landed by Bradley Rabon the largest reported by Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Crappie continue to be active, hitting small shiners and beetle spins. “They’re staged up in bedding areas in shallow water in the back of creeks or creek mouths,” said Stalvey. Bream are hitting crickets and worms in 3-4 feet of water. Bass are hitting top-water lures or Senkos rigged either Texas or wacky style.