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King Mackerel moves offshore

A fisherman walks the oyster bars at low tide in Cherry Grove Inlet in North Myrtle Beach. JASON LEE
Movement of king mackerel offshore could make another fish more attractive

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

November 16, 2017 05:37 PM


Look For: Red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, flounder, sheepshead, spots.

Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown took a pair of anglers on a very productive trip on Tuesday, with the duo catching their limit of spotted seatrout and red drum while fishing in the Winyah Bay vicinity. McDonald and crew used artificial grubs to catch the trout and floated cut shrimp to land the reds. “It’s been pretty good,” said McDonald, who also produced 23 trout and four reds on a Wednesday trip. McDonald noted a water temperature of 56-58 degrees. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters hit the creeks in Murrells Inlet at mid-week and had success catching trout and black drum while floating live shrimp. Maples reported a water temperature of 58 degrees. It has been a windy, sloppy week at area jetties, but the rocks are holding trout, black drum, red drum and tautog. Bull reds can still be found at area jetties and along with the channels of inlets such as Little River Inlet and Winyah Bay, plus near-shore hard-bottom spots in the Atlantic. Anglers are urged to catch these fish quickly with beefed up tackle and release them carefully, being sure they are revived before letting them go.

Look For: Bluefish, black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, sheepshead and red drum.

Comments: Before the cold front rolled through last week, king mackerel action was very good on spots in the 10- to 15-mile range. But the water temperature has dropped approximately 10 degrees in the last 10 days and fishermen trying to find them has been at a minimum. The kings may well have moved further offshore with the drop in water temperature. Ronnie Goodwin of the Cherry Grove Pier reported a water temperature of 62 degrees on the surface and 61 on the bottom at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, which means black sea bass action on artificial reefs and bottom spots within 10-12 miles of the beach should be picking up, with more keepers above the 13-inch minimum size limit. Look for weakfish, bull reds and black sea bass on near-shore hard-bottom areas. Goodwin reports there was a day-long run of spots on Saturday at the Cherry Grove Pier, with some of the panfish continuing to be caught through Tuesday. But on Thursday, Goodwin said whiting, croaker, and small perch were the only species caught off the pier.

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

Comments: Last weekend marked the final three days of the red snapper mini-season, but windy weather kept nearly all boats at the docks. In all, five of the six days of the mini-season were lousy weather days. Once again, red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region until another possible mini-season in 2018. When sea conditions permit, bottom fishing is excellent for red snapper, amberjack, grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, porgy and white grunts. Greater amberjack was closed to harvest for recreational anglers on Oct. 31 and will remained closed until March 2018. Also, cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Find a nice day and trolling in areas such as the Winyah Scarp, Georgetown Hole and Blackjack Hole can be excellent for wahoo and blackfin tuna.

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.

Comments: Fall has arrived for good, with the major drop in water temperature over the last 10 days. Look for bream to be found in deeper water, with anglers lead-lining worms on the bottom to catch the panfish. Look for crappie around brush or other structure in creek mouths and lakes, hitting medium crappie minnows. Catfish action remains good on cut eels and mullet, or live bream. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway recommends using jerk baits, crank baits and Texas-rigged worms for bass. The Waccamaw River at Conway was making good tides, with a water level reading of 8.3 feet at 4:15 p.m. Thursday. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was low, at 4.2 feet Thursday at 4 p.m.

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