Grand Strand Fishing Report: King mackerel still prevalent as summer arrives
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
June 21, 2018 06:18 PM
Look For: Flounder, black drum, red drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, bluefish.
Comments: Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions has found red drum, flounder and black drum receptive in Murrells Inlet this week. Connolly is seeing the new 15-inch minimum size limit for flounder doing its job. “We’re catching a lot of flounder but 90 percent of them are small, with a lot from 12 to 14 3/4 inches,” said Connolly. “Hopefully all those 14 to 14 1/2 inch fish will spawn this fall.” Connolly has found finger mullet big enough to catch in his cast net, and now he says they’re the bait of choice for flounder. “The flounder are eating finger mullet better than mud minnows,” said Connolly. Connolly has used finger mullet, cut mullet and crab chunks to entice red drum, with black drum eating fiddler crabs or blue crab chunks. Pinfish are absolutely prevalent, thus Connolly has avoided using shrimp for bait. Connolly has observed a balmy water temperature in the mid 80s in the inlet and upper 80s around low tide during the daytime.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters has had good success with king mackerel on half-day charters out of Murrells Inlet, fishing spots such as Myrtle Beach Rocks and Belky Bear. “The focus right now is within 20 miles, there’s some pretty decent king fishing,” said Carey, who has been slow-trolling menhaden if available or dead cigar minnows to catch the kings. “One day the bait’s there, the next day it’s not there but the cigar minnows are always reliable,” said Carey. “Most of (the kings) are 5 to 10 pounders, and every now and then you get a nice one.” Carey has also produced blacktip sharks on the half-day trips. Near-shore artificial reefs are holding spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish and black drum, with Spanish mackerel and bluefish roaming the vicinity. Be prepared for kings or cobia to make an appearance, too. Sharks of all sizes can also be found on the reefs. Ronnie Goodwin of Cherry Grove Pier reports whiting and croaker have been the main catch this week, with Spanish mackerel, black drum and red drum also showing up occasionally. Bluefish are available for bait but no king mackerel have been caught this week.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: In areas such as the sprawling Parking Lot and other spots in 90 to 115 feet of water, look for a mix of king mackerel and a few dolphin, with a sailfish encounter a distinct possibility. No matter the depth, be on the lookout for weedlines and be prepared to toss a live or cut bait into it for dolphin. Blackfin tuna and a few wahoo are also around. Well offshore, blue marlin, sailfish and perhaps a few white marlin are available. Bottom fishing is producing vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack, especially in depths over 100 feet. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: With oppressive heat on hand this week, the Dog Days of Summer appear to have arrived a little early, considering summer didn’t arrive until Thursday. That means anglers competing in the B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Regional Championship out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown through Friday are likely to find the best action early and late in the day. “Topwater and a lot of worms, trick worms, brush hogs, Senkos, top-water frogs,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway on preferred artificials for bass. Stalvey also noted bream action has been very good on the rivers, with fish hitting crickets, worms and wax worms fished in depths of 1 to 4 feet. Catfish catches continue to be very good with fish hitting bream and fresh cut eel.