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Red Drum Still Active

January 11, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Red Drum Still Active


Grand Strand Fishing Report: Seatrout bite slows but red drum still active in cool water

By Gregg Holshouser

January 10, 2019 05:58 PM,

Updated January 10, 2019 05:58 PM
Cubby Weaver of Coastal Montessori Charter School shows off a 4.58-pound red drum caught during the Student Angler Tournament Trail out of Georgetown. Weaver won the Middle School Redfish Division.
Cubby Weaver of Coastal Montessori Charter School shows off a 4.58-pound red drum caught during the Student Angler Tournament Trail out of Georgetown. Weaver won the Middle School Redfish Division.
Estuary

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

Comments: Well, as of Thursday, the run of warm weather in late December and early January came to a halt thanks to the current cold front. The resulting quick drop in water temperature figures to slow the spotted seatrout bite some, but not completely shut it down. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River reported a water temperature of 56-58 degrees at midweek, just before the front moved in. “That’s pretty warm for this time of year,” Kelly said. Before the front, the trout bite continued to be very good, with Kelly catching most of his fish on Berkeley Gulp shrimp (New Penny). “I think you could throw anything out there, Vudu, Trout Trick,” said Kelly. The captain has also had success this week floating mud minnows to catch red drum on a falling tide along the flats. Even if the cold snap shuts down the trout bite, the drum will still be available. “We’re going to catch reds all winter,” said Kelly. “It seems like the trout stop biting but (red drum) should bite regardless of the cold.”
Inshore

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

Comments: The Cherry Grove Pier reports catches of whiting and croaker this week, but the fish have been very small. One keeper, 16-inch flounder was landed. With colder weather and water now in the offing, look for sheepshead to make a real showing on artificial reefs such as the Paradise, Ron McManus and Jim Caudle reefs within several miles of the beach. Black drum and tautog may be mixed in with the sheepshead. Weakfish and flounder are also a possibility on the reefs. Black sea bass are also plentiful on the reefs, but anglers should be aware of the 13-inch minimum size limit. The ocean water temperature Thursday morning at the Cherry Grove Pier was still 56 degrees but trending down, with a chilly weekend in store.
Offshore

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

Comments: The cold front with the strong west-northwest wind pushed any pretty water near the break well offshore, replacing it with cooler, green water, which is not conducive for holding wahoo. When conditions improve, the wahoo will return. “If you find the right water you’ll get the bite,” said Capt. Buddy Smith of Underdog Charters. As Smith pointed out, however, the bottom, or reef fish aren’t going anywhere. Look for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, amberjack, red porgy and grunts, especially in depths of 90 feet and beyond. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure went into effect on Jan. 1 and lasts through the month of April. Red snapper are off-limits indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: What shape are the local rivers in? “High as a Georgia pine,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Since Hurricane Florence’s floodwaters hit the eastern Carolinas in early September, it’s been a mess on local rivers. “It’s been so high for so long,” said Stalvey. “The water’s running so hard, it’s wicked. I don’t want any rain for four months. Fishing in ponds is all I’ve been hearing.”

Spotted Sea Trout Survive Last Year’s Freeze

January 6, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Spotted Sea Trout Survive Last Year’s Freeze

Gregg HolshouserFor The Sun News

A year after a rare extreme freeze, here’s how trout are shaping up along Strand in 2019

By Gregg Holshouser
January 05, 2019 05:42 PM,

A splendid day of fishing proved that South Carolina’s population of spotted seatrout survived the freeze from a year earlier in fine fashion. Now that’s something worth celebrating as 2019 begins.

What a difference a year makes.

On New Year’s Eve of 2017, the area was in the early stages of an unusually extreme cold stretch that dropped the water temperature in local estuaries to dangerously cold levels.

For eight straight days culminating in early January, 2018, the low temperature dropped below freezing, all but one in the 20s or upper teens, with highs mainly in the 30s — cold stuff for coastal South Carolina.

On the morning of Jan. 9, 2018, Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions observed a water temperature of 40 degrees in Murrells Inlet, and fear of a die-off of spotted seatrout along the Carolina coast was running rampant.

Fast-forward to four days ago, New Year’s Eve, 2018. The day dawned foggy but warm, in the mid-50s, and calm.

With a forecast high in the upper 60s, these were fantastic conditions for early winter, and fishing buddy Charlie Nash and I just had to go check on the trout.

With only a whisper of a southeast wind, Nash pulled his jon boat out of Inlet Harbor and into the main creek of Murrells Inlet.

Nash cruised into a winding series of creeks in the middle of the inlet amid the fog, slowed the Yamaha outboard to an idle and then deployed his new favorite lure on Shimano bait-cast reels.

The amazing shrimp imitation, the Vudu Rattling Shrimp, was the artificial of choice for Nash, and we began slowly weaving our way through the creeks with very little boat traffic and near dead-low tide.

Per Nash’s instruction, we dropped the shrimp way back, being sure the lures were bumping the bottom. The presentation was completed with hard jigging action on the rod, then letting the shrimp ease back, and repeat continuously.

Within minutes, the catching started. Plenty of spotted seatrout in the 11-13 inch range slammed the attractive shrimp look-alike, and over the next hour-plus we caught several each including a few double-hookups.

The numbers of trout were great but the size wasn’t, as we put one keeper just over the 14-inch minimum size limit in the cooler out of more than 15 fish caught. A bonus flounder just over the 15-inch minimum size limit ambushed a Vudu and found its way into the cooler.

Nash decided to make a move to the inlet’s jetties in search of bigger trout, but there the fog — and the boat traffic — was thicker, and the catches slower.

In less than an hour of weaving among the boats inside and outside of the jetties, we caught one trout just under 14 inches.

Early in the afternoon, we decided to head back to the solitude of the creeks.

By mid-afternoon, the fog lifted, save for a few wisps just above the marsh grass along the creek banks. The sun came out and it warmed up even further, nearing 70 degrees.

By now, the tide was nearing high, the creeks were filled with the pretty clear water typical of winter time and bigger trout showed up. All was right with the world, with yet another new year only hours away.

Over the next hour, we caught several trout above 14 inches, and kept three more in the 16-17 inch range. Over an hour of daylight remained, but, with New Year’s Eve obligations to keep, we left the fish biting.

The splendid day proved that South Carolina’s population of spotted seatrout survived the freeze from a year earlier in fine fashion. Now that’s something worth celebrating.
Vudu Shrimp

Rest assured the Vudu shrimp is an effective and long-lasting lure. Nash and I both caught easily over 15 trout each, and the Vudu lures were just as good as new — despite those canine teeth — when we called it a day and headed back toward Inlet Harbor.

The Vudu shrimp features a Kevlar nylon weave through the soft plastic to give it durability, and has a swimming motion that perfectly matches a live shrimp.

*Grand Strand Boat Show: The 2019 Grand Strand Boat and Sportsman Expo is underway at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

Show hours are Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children under 12. Children under three are admitted free of charge.

The event features a combination of boat displays, fishing and boating-related vendors and a varied schedule of seminars conducted by local experts.

A variety of boats will be on display from dealers from Charleston to Wilmington. Every type of boat from kayaks and jon boats for saltwater marsh areas to huge offshore center consoles will be on hand for attendees to check out.

Fishing active amid warm water temps

January 4, 2019 Live Great Outdoors Blog Comments Off on Fishing active amid warm water temps

Spotted seatrout in the 12- to 14-inch range are plentiful in local estuaries as 2019 arrives, like this specimen caught in Murrells Inlet on New Year’s Eve. Photo courtesy of Gregg Holshouser
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Trout remain active amid warm water temperatures

By Gregg Holshouser
Updated January 03, 2019 05:39 PM

Estuary

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

Comments: The water temperature remains in the mid-to-upper 50s in local estuaries in early January, which is great news for anglers after spotted seatrout. A variety of methods including live shrimp will catch trout, but numerous artificials will work just fine. Shrimp imitations are a hot item including Vudu, Gulp and DOA. A variety of soft plastic paddle-tail grubs, typically on 1/8- or 1/4-once jig heads, have also worked well. Trolling, floating or jigging artificials are all producing fish. Spotted seatrout have a minimum size limit of 14 inches, with a daily bag limit of 10 fish per person. Anglers are urged to release large trout over 20 inches, due to their significant spawning contribution. Flounder, with a minimum size limit of 15 inches, continue to be active and are hitting the same artificials. Area jetties are holding plenty of trout plus red drum, black drum, sheepshead and tautog.
Inshore

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

Comments: The warm weather has parlayed into a warmer-than-normal ocean water temperature, and the fish have responded. Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach reported a water temperature of 58 degrees Thursday afternoon, and an increase in fish activity compared to recent weeks. A mix of whiting, croaker, trout and a few flounder have been caught this week off Apache Pier. Most fish have been small, but a few keeper trout and flounder have been landed. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet headed to Paradise Reef, located three miles east of the inlet, on Sunday looking to target sheepshead using fiddler crabs for bait. “I tried the fiddlers but couldn’t get them past the black sea bass,” said Maples. Black sea bass are thick on the reef, with the huge majority under the 13-inch minimum size limit. Maples also caught keeper black drum and red drum on the reef. Head to depths of about 50 feet and beyond for a better shot at keeper black sea bass.
Offshore

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

Comments: The ocean was just too pretty on New Year’s Eve, so Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters in Murrells Inlet headed out to the Winyah Scarp with wahoo on the brain. Carey and crew hooked up and lost one wahoo, and otherwise sharks were a problem. “Every fish we caught was destroyed by sharks,” said Carey. “There were a lot of blackfin (tuna) but they never made it to the boat.” Bonito were also plentiful. Carey noted he tried high-speed trolling for wahoo but got no bites. The ocean water temperature was in the 72-73 degree range at the Winyah Scarp. When 2019 rang in, grouper season went out. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure went into effect on Jan. 1 and lasts through the month of April. Plenty of reef fish are available for harvest including vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, amberjack, red porgy and grunts. Red snapper are off-limits indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region and must be released.
Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: The rain has been virtually relentless, and the rivers remain high. It’s simply a lousy time for river fishing in Horry and Georgetown counties. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway reports launch spots such as Pitch Landing and Savannah Bluff are flooded. “Everybody’s burning up to go (fishing) but the landings are flooded,” said Stalvey. The Waccamaw was at 12.06 feet at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, just at moderate flood stage, and falling. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was at 9.42 feet at 4 p.m. Thursday, in minor flood stage.