By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
Look For: Spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments: Fishing continues to be excellent in estuaries throughout the area, from the Georgetown vicinity to Brunswick County, N.C. Spotted seatrout, black drum and red drum can be caught in very good numbers in many areas, from tidal creeks to jetties at Winyah Bay, Murrells Inlet and Little River. Live shrimp fished under floats will work well for all three species, particularly trout and black drum. A variety of artificial shrimp such as Vudu, Gulp and Yo-Zuri will work well specifically for trout, plus red drum. Also look for sheepshead and tautog at area jetties, hitting live or dead shrimp, or fiddler crabs. The occasional flounder can also be found in all areas. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service had a typical solid trip on Tuesday, catching 17 trout and several red drum fishing south of Georgetown. The trout hit plastic grubs while the reds took cut shrimp.
Look For: Black sea bass, whiting, weakfish, black drum, red drum, flounder, perch, croaker.
Comments: Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Fishing Charters and his daughter, Megan, hit Paradise Reef (Three-Mile Reef) out of Murrells Inlet on a fun trip and found some very nice weakfish (summer trout), including a pair of 20-plus inch keepers. In addition, the Maples caught numerous black sea bass, all under but within an inch or so of the 13-inch minimum size. Look for solid keepers to begin showing up on the near-shore bottom spots and artificial reefs soon, with some likely already available. “It’s time for them to start showing up,” said Jeff Maples. A few bull red drum well over the 15-23 inch slot limit remain on near-shore bottom spots and just off the surf, but with the water temperature headed further down, the big spawners will soon be gone for the season. Ronnie Goodwin of the Cherry Grove Pier reports one angler landed three keeper red drum in the 17-inch range from the pier on Wednesday. Otherwise, Goodwin reports whiting, croakers, perch and small black drum have been caught off the pier this week. Whiting and spots were caught off the Apache Pier on Wednesday, the first showing of spots in over a week. Catches of puffers along with a few blues and flounder were also reported. The ocean water temperature at Cherry Grove Pier was 62 degrees on Wednesday.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, porgy, triggerfish, grunts, amberjack.
Comments: Near the break, catches of wahoo are very good in areas such as the Winyah Scarp, Black Jack Hole and MacMarlen Ledge, with blackfin tuna and a few dolphin mixed in. A little closer in, on bottom spots and ledges in about 60 to 90 feet, catches of king mackerel and grouper are very good. Cigar minnows will work well for both species, preferably live for the grouper. Overall, bottom fishing is excellent for grouper, especially gag and scamp, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, porgy, triggerfish, grunts and amberjack. Red snapper are off-limits in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Look For: Crappie, bream, catfish, bass.
Comments: Water levels and conditions are getting better by the week on the Waccamaw River, with the area blessed with little rain since Hurricane Matthew’s devastating deluge on Oct. 8. With the improved conditions and cooler water temperatures, crappie action has picked up nicely with fish hitting minnows around structure and brush. Bream are headed for deeper water, as lead-lining worms on the bottom is the best method to catch them as December approaches. Catfish action has been very good in recent weeks.