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Spring Species Arriving

March 29, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Spring Species Arriving

Bluefish are coming into the Grand Strand waters for the spring season. File photo

Grand Strand Fishing Report: Spring species should arrive with this weekend’s warmth

By Gregg Holshouser

March 28, 2019 10:10 PM

Estuary

Look For: Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.

Comments: On the north end, Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters has had success with spotted seatrout and red drum in the Little River vicinity this week. “There are a lot of small trout on the top of the falling tide, and some keeper trout in certain areas,” said Kelly. “The jetties are loaded with trout and reds. If you drift down the rocks with live shrimp, you’ll get them.” Kelly has also been catching reds and black drum on docks. “I’ve been doing a lot of dock fishing because it’s been windy,” said Kelly, who has used live shrimp, cut shrimp and all types of Berkeley Gulp baits. “If you know the right (docks), there’s been plenty of fish.” On the south end, Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions has caught trout, sheepshead and flounder this week. On Monday Connolly called the fishing “tough” but still caught six nice trout measuring from 18 to 25 inches. On Sunday, Connolly targeted sheepshead and kept a 10-fish limit for his one customer. Connolly caught the sheepshead by chumming with barnacles and fishing fiddler crabs vertically just off the Murrells Inlet jetties. Connolly noted he has caught bluefish in the creeks of the inlet this week, the first pelagics of the spring to show up.
Inshore

Look For: Black sea bass, sheepshead, black drum, flounder, weakfish, whiting.

Comments: The rumor is Spanish mackerel were spotted in the near-shore waters early this week, but no catches have been reported yet. Look for that to change this weekend when the warmest weather yet of the spring arrives. Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters reports several species are available at near-shore artificial reefs such as Pawleys, Paradise and Jim Caudle including sheepshead, weakfish, black drum, black sea bass, flounder and possibly red drum. On a recent trip, Wood caught keeper black sea bass (13-inch minimum size) on the near-shore reefs. Spring fever is rampant, the water temperature has hit the 60-degree mark and is set to climb this weekend, but the fishing hasn’t picked up yet. Michael Wallace of the Cherry Grove Pier reports only whiting and puffers have been landed this week. “The whiting are slowly getting bigger,” said Wallace. “There’s been no drastic changes but we’re getting there.” Wallace reported a water temperature of 60 degrees surface and bottom Thursday afternoon.
Offshore

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

Comments: Reelist, out of St. Helena Island, S.C., headed offshore Sunday and Monday to fish two days in the S.C. Wahoo series, and jumped to the top of the leaderboard in the lengthy tournament. Capt. Trea Everett’s crew landed an 84.8-pound smoker on Sunday and followed it up with a 67.5-pounder to take the lead with a 152.3-pound two-fish aggregate. It’s been a windy week with little fishing action after Monday, but early in the week there were some good catches of blackfin tuna to go with the wahoo. Even a few early dolphin have been landed. The Conway foursome of Trey Jordan, Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey, Colby Calhoun and Rhiannon Johnston headed offshore Sunday in Jordan’s 22-foot Sea Pro for some trolling action in the Winyah Scarp area. Fishing in 71.6-degree water, the crew found plenty of blackfin tuna and boated 12 in the 12- to 16-pound range with most caught on a cedar plug. They also missed on a good wahoo bite. Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing also headed out Sunday and had a superb bottom catch of black sea bass, grey triggerfish, vermilion snapper, red porgy and white grunts. Closures of reef species currently in effect for recreational anglers in South Atlantic waters include the annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure, and deep-water blueline tilefish and snowy grouper closure until May 1. Red snapper are also off-limits indefinitely and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: Stalvey, of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway, reports the rivers are forecast to fall and combined with the warmer weather arriving, the outlook is promising in the next few weeks. For now, there is solid action available for bream, bass and catfish. “For bream, I’d use crickets and worms 3-5 feet deep,” said Stalvey. “The warmer weather has got the fish pulling up some.” Stalvey recommends using spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, Senko and craw-type baits – anything that imitates a crawfish on the bottom – to catch bass, which are in bedding mode. Stalvey reminds anglers to do the ethical thing when catching the lunker female bass. “The big bass, make sure you handle them properly,” said Stalvey. “Hold it nice and neat and carefully release it. Getting a quick measurement and picture is all you need to get a mount.” The Trickey’s Fish Shack Annual Spring Catfish Tournament will be held this weekend on the Waccamaw River, Friday through Sunday.

Student Anglers Test Skills

March 23, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Student Anglers Test Skills

Conway Middle School’s Mason Hardee shows off a bass caught during last weekend’s Student Angler League Tournament Trail out of Georgetown. Hardee and Will Hardee-McGuirt won the Middle School Bass Division with a five-bass limit weighing 9.94 pounds. All fish weighed in during SALTT events are released. Photo submitted by SALTT

Student anglers on the Grand Strand show their skills in a tournament series

By Gregg Holshouser
March 22, 2019 06:45 PM,

With only one more event left in the semester and the school year, Rayburn Poston and his anglers in the Student Angler League Tournament Trail (SALTT) are hoping Mother Nature cooperates for the upcoming season finale.

For the second time this semester, the anglers were greeted by a cold front last Saturday during the SALTT event out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown.

“It was blowing out of the north at 25 miles per hour all day,” said Poston, the SALTT founder and director. “We can’t catch a break with the weather.”

The SALTT features divisions for red drum and largemouth bass with middle and high school anglers competing against each other in six tournaments during each school year.

The season finale is set for March 30 when the school year’s trail champions in each division will be determined.

Despite the conditions, there were outstanding limits caught in both divisions. All fish caught in the competitions are released.

“Nobody complained about the weather and they came through at the weigh-ins,” Poston said.

The division winners were:

▪ High School Redfish: Ashton Rouhselang of Conway Middle School and Lance Cooper of Conway High School won the division with a two-fish limit tipping the scales at 6.62 pounds, including the big fish of 3.30 pounds. Carolina Forest’s Christa Edmonds finished second with two fish weighing 6.03 pounds. Third place went to Andrew’s Noah Payne and Kadyn Kellahan with one fish at 1.70 pounds.

▪ High School Bass: Wade Kelly and Tucker Caines of Waccamaw High School won the division with a five-fish limit of 11.54 pounds, followed by Georgetown High School’s Andrew Ackerman and Jeremy Owens in second with five fish weighing in at 9 pounds. Austin Winburn and Chandler Brown of Conway High School were third with five fish weighing 6.65 pounds.

▪ Middle School Redfish Division: Donavan Harris of Conway Middle School and Wyatt Moore of Whittemore Park Middle School won the division with two red drum weighing an aggregate of 5.08 pounds including the big fish of 3.40 pounds. Fisher Gallup of Waccamaw Intermediate School finished second with one red at 1.50 pounds.

▪ Middle School Bass Division: Mason Hardee and Will Hardee-McGuirt of Conway High School won the division with a five-fish aggregate of 9.94 pounds followed by Gavin Porter of Loris Middle School in second with five fish at 8.26 pounds. Third place went to Cody Wilder and Dalton Williams of Conway Middle School with four fish at 6.12 pounds. Wilson Grant of Andrew’s Rosemary Middle School weighed in the big fish of the division with a 2.73-pounder.

For more information on the trail visit www.salttfishing.com.

Bluefish and Mackerel are approaching

March 22, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Bluefish and Mackerel are approaching

Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions shows off a red drum caught earlier this week in Murrells Inlet in chilly weather. Photo courtesy of O-Fish-Al Expeditions

Grand Strand Fishing Report: The arrival of bluefish and mackerel is approaching

By Gregg Holshouser

March 21, 2019 07:24 PM,

Estuary

Look For: Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.

Comments: The return of cool weather has kept the trout schooled up, says Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions, and Wednesday’s full moon brought the spawners out. All this combined for a gator trout extravaganza Thursday for Connolly’s crew on a trip in Murrells Inlet. “This morning, every fish we caught was 4-7 pounds,” said Connolly, who worked the jetties and the creeks. This week Connolly has also produced red drum both in the 15-23 inch slot limit and over the slot, along with flounder and sheepshead. Prime spring flounder action is coming soon but the cooler weather has held it off, for now. “(Flounder) have an internal clock that tells them when it’s time to migrate, but bait movement and water temperature plays a part too,” said Connolly, who noted a water temperature in the 54-55 range Thursday. With chilly, cool weather most of this week, Connolly is ready for spring to arrive for real. “I’m tired of being cold when we’re fishing,” said Connolly. “I’m ready for some warm weather.”
Inshore

Look For: Black sea bass, sheepshead, black drum, flounder, weakfish, whiting.

Comments: The ocean water temperature topped the 60-degree mark early this week, but not for long. The cool spell ensued, and the temperature settled in at 58 degrees on Thursday at Apache Pier. “We’ve had some pretty good size whiting (caught),” said Skyler Parks of Apache Pier. Parks also noted croaker and puffers have been caught but no bluefish just yet. The near-shore waters in the Atlantic Ocean are in a state of change as baitfish will arrive along with pelagic species such as blues, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel over the next month. For now a variety of species are available on the near-shore artificial reefs including black sea bass, sheepshead, flounder, weakfish and possibly black drum and red drum. Look for bluefish to start the parade of pelagics during the next warm spell, possibly within the next week.
Offshore

Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack.

Comments: An Ocean Isle Fishing Center crew headed offshore Monday in sporty conditions with northeast winds at 15-20 knots for their first day of action in the 2019 S.C. Wahoo Series. Capt. Brant McMullan reports the crew, in a new Freeman Boatworks 37, started at the Winyah Scarp vicinity, fishing in scattered weed and 71-72 degree green water. They moved toward the MacMarlen Ledge where they found a temperature break and decent blue-green water, but caught only false albacore, barracuda and amberjack. The targeted species finally showed up late in the afternoon when they landed a blackfin tuna, went 1 for 2 on small wahoo and capped the day by landing a 35-pound wahoo. Bottom fishing has been very good for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, red porgy, grey triggerfish, white grunts and amberjack. Closures of reef species currently in effect for recreational anglers in South Atlantic waters include the annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure, and deep-water blueline tilefish and snowy grouper closure until May 1. Red snapper are also off-limits indefinitely and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: Well, the rivers continue to be up and the number of anglers out fishing has been down this week, as spring officially arrived on Wednesday. “There’s been some nice fish caught, just not many people going,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. The Waccamaw River was at 9.5 feet Thursday at 12:15 p.m. near Conway while the Little Pee Dee was at 8.3 feet Thursday at 1 p.m. at Galivants Ferry, just under Minor Flood Stage of 9.0. Stalvey says bream are mainly deep in the high water, with anglers focusing on lakes and ditch mouths using worms for bait. A few bream have been caught on crickets, Stalvey says. Bass are beginning to get into bedding mode, and Stalvey reports two fish over seven pounds were released this week. “A bunch of big fish have already been broke off on the beds,” said Stalvey. “This week they ought to be hot and heavy on the beds. I’d use spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, Senko and craw-type baits – anything that imitates a crawfish on the bottom.” Stalvey says catfish are “doing real good” with large shiners, cut shad, nightcrawlers and cut mullet all working well for bait