Brightin Baxley and Christopher Karavan of Conway show off a 5.5-pound sheepshead caught Saturday while fishing with Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service. Photo courtesy of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Monster wahoo are being landed, including 87-pounder
By Gregg Holshouser
April 04, 2019 06:15 PM
Look For: Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments: “We’ve had some really good action on reds the last several days and there’s still a lot of small trout around,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Inshore Charters, who has mainly fished the Intracoastal Waterway and deep channels in the Little River area. Gulp baits and Vudu shrimp have produced the trout while live mud minnows on popping corks have worked for the red drum. Kelly hasn’t targeted flounder this week, but with the water temperature right at 60 degrees, he knows the spring flounder bite is about to take off in estuaries such as Cherry Grove and Murrells Inlet. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service produced two nice sheepshead over 5 pounds, one black drum and one red drum on a quick trip last Saturday and then caught five black drum and one redfish on a Wednesday trip, both in the Georgetown’s Winyah Bay area. McDonald, who was using cut shrimp for bait, noted a water temperature of 57 degrees in the channel near the jetties and in the bay on Wednesday.
Look For: Black sea bass, sheepshead, black drum, flounder, weakfish, whiting.
Comments: The ocean water temperature has flirted with the 60-degree mark after a big setback on a cold Tuesday, and a few pelagics have shown up. “A few Spanish have been caught out there,” said Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters. “They’re starting to inch their way in here.” Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reported a few bluefish have been caught this week, with the water temperature at 60 degrees on the surface and 59 on the bottom Thursday afternoon. “It won’t be long,” said Wallace, who noted whiting and puffers have also been caught this week. Wood headed out Thursday and trolled cigar minnows at Belky Bear, hoping to find a few early mackerel. “I marked a little bait and the water was 60 degrees and bluish green,” said Wood. “We gave it a shot but didn’t catch anything.” Wood moved on out to 50-55 feet of water and caught keeper black sea bass, a small scamp and tautog.” On the trip, Wood saw a few bonito and an ocean sunfish.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack.
Comments: The Game Hawg Fishing Team caught 10 wahoo on a trip last Saturday, including a smoking 87-pounder. Aside from the wahoo, Wood reports commercial catches of dolphin aboard boats fishing about 45 miles off Charleston, so the spring run should be coming soon along the break out of Georgetown, Murrells Inlet and Little River. “I feel like the dolphin bite should be a few weeks away,” said Wood, who noted small dolphin have already been spotted on weedlines in the Georgetown Hole vicinity. Bottom fishing is very good for 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.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: With Tuesday’s wintry weather in the past and plenty of 70s in the forecast, it’s full speed ahead toward fine spring fishing on local rivers. Bream are moving up toward the banks with the warmer weather, and fishing crickets under floats will be the ticket. Bass are in bedding mode with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, Senko and craw-type baits working well. The Trickey’s Fish Shack Annual Spring Catfish Tournament was held on the Waccamaw River, with plenty of large flathead, blue and channel cats being caught. Wet Dreams finished in first place with a two-catfish aggregate of 96.1 pounds including fish weighing 49.2 and 46.9 pounds. Game Hawgs was second with a 95.2-pound aggregate including a tournament-best 58.8-pounder. Team Tiger was third with 90.8 pounds including a 53-pounder