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King Mackerel action is hot


Fishing Report: King mackerel action is hot; 36-pounder landed off Cherry Grove Pier

May 10, 2018 06:44 PM

Estuary

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

Comments: “Fishing’s been excellent,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River. Flounder action is very good with fish hitting mud minnows, other live bait or artificials. “We’ve been catching flounder in Little River and Tubbs Inlet, mainly small fish but 3-5 keepers a trip,” said Kelly, who presents the mud minnows on 1/4-ounce jig heads. Kelly also has had good success with red drum and black drum, with plenty of bluefish around. Kelly says black drum are hitting blue crab chunks around docks and oyster beds. The same species are active in Murrells Inlet, with keeper flounder above South Carolina’s 15-inch minimum size limit on the increase.

Inshore

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

Comments: The king mackerel bite remains on fire on bottom spots in the 10-15 mile range in depths of about 40-50 feet. Murrells Inlet’s Painkiller crew, including Dr. Jason Rosenberg and Capt. Jay Sconyers, slow-trolled cigar minnows and plugs just offshore of Belky Bear on Wednesday. “It was on fire,” said Rosenberg. “We had our three-man limit (three per person) in about 30 minutes.” From there, Sconyers zoomed out to the Parking Lot to finish off the quick trip with a nice bottom catch of black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish and grunts. Near-shore artificial reefs such as Jim Caudle and Paradise continue to produce good catches of Spanish mackerel and weakfish, with black sea bass and flounder also available. Spadefish should be holding on the reefs, too, and be on the lookout for cobia. “I haven’t seen any (spadefish) yet, but the trout (weakfish) bite was so hot, I was concentrating on that (this week),” said Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters. The water is clear on the beach, the water temperature is near 70 degrees and the kings have shown up on the beach. Steve Gann reports four king mackerel were caught on the Cherry Grove Pier, two on Tuesday and two on Wednesday. Charlie Love of Pittsboro, N.C., a pier regular, landed the largest, a 36-pound smoker. “The blues and Spanish have been going nuts,” Gann added. Apache Pier reports John White of Myrtle Beach caught a 23.5-pound king this week, plus a 9-pound, 3-ounce bluefish. On April 28, a pair of kings were landed off the Apache Pier, including 22.45-pounder by Homer Carder which was the first of the year off the pier.

Offshore

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

Comments: A pair of offshore tournaments are happening this weekend. The Far Out Shoot Out, based out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, continues through May 19, with boats able to fish any one day in the tournament. Call 910-575-3474 for more information. The Captain’s Invitational Fishing Tournament out of Marlin Quay Marina is set for Saturday, with Captains Meeting at 6 p.m. Friday at the marina. Call 843-651-4444 for more information. The largest dolphin weighed in wins the Marlin Quay tournament, and the timing is impeccable. Dave Christian of the marina reports dolphin are being found along the western edge of the Gulf Stream offshore of the break from areas such as the Winyah Scarp and Georgetown Hole. Christian says six boats headed out from the marina on Saturday with all catching around 20 dolphin. Plenty of blackfin tuna are in the mix plus a few wahoo. Blue marlin, sailfish and white marlin are also available in conjunction with the opening of the S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Thursday with the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament. Bottom fishing is simply excellent for black sea bass, vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish, red porgy, white grunts, amberjack and grouper, especially scamp. Red snapper are also inhabiting the reefs, but must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.

Comments: Bucksport is on fire, is the word from Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway, along with many other areas on local rivers. Bream fishing in particular is off the charts, with fish hitting crickets and worms in 3-4 feet of water. Catfish action is also excellent, with Stalvey’s reporting a 30-pound blue catfish caught this week. Fresh cut eel and live bream are prime catfish baits. Senkos and top-water lures are producing bass. The Waccamaw at Conway was at 8.14 feet at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, making good tides and receding. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was at 6.67 feet at 8 a.m. Thursday, with a slow fall in store.