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Near shore action hot

Frank Hammond shows off a 24-pound, 7-ounce king mackerel he caught this week off Cherry Grove Pier. Cherry Grove Pier Submitted
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Near-shore action fit for kings

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

Updated June 07, 2018 07:43 PM

Look For: Black drum, red drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, bluefish.

Comments: A mix of flounder, black drum, red drum and spotted seatrout are available in local estuaries, along with plenty of bluefish. Mud minnows work well for flounder and red drum while fresh cut shrimp is the ticket for black drum. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has had a so-so week in the Winyah Bay vicinity. “It’s been nothing to write home about,” said McDonald. “We’ve caught a few reds here and there, most on cut bait, a few on live bait.” The highlight of the week for McDonald was a 45-inch, 30-pound red drum battled by a customer in Winyah Bay. The fish, of course, was carefully released by McDonald, who noted a water temperature reading of 81 degrees Thursday the bay. McDonald also has noticed plenty of freshwater flowing down into the bay. “There’s a lot of freshwater coming down in Santees and in the bay,” said McDonald. “They’ve gotten a lot of rain upstate.”

Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.

Comments: Fishing from the beach to 12 miles offshore has been fit for kings this week – king mackerel, that is. “It’s been insane, we’ve been catching them left and right,” said Jo Jo Groves of Apache Pier, where five kings, including a 24-pounder, were landed on Thursday. Apache Pier also produced four kings on Wednesday and one on Tuesday. On the north end, four kings were caught from Cherry Grove Pier on Wednesday, including a 36-pounder, plus a 15-pounder was landed from the pier on Thursday. With clear water and plentiful menhaden and bluefish along the beach, conditions have, obviously, been perfect for near-shore king action. By boat, action has been good for kings on mid-range reefs such as Belky Bear and The Jungle. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet had a super king trip on Thursday to Belky Bear, 12 miles east of Murrells Inlet. Maples’ crew caught 20 kings and kept 10, ranging in size from 26 inches to 15 pounds. “It was a really good bite today,” said Maples. “I slow-trolled cigar minnows. There was so much bait (on the beach) I (netted) menhaden and was tossing them out there in my spread too.” Maples reports the near-shore reefs are producing spadefish, black drum, flounder and black sea bass from the structure, with kings, Spanish, cobia and sharks also roaming the vicinity. Grand Strand piers are also producing scattered catches of whiting, spots, croaker, black drum, red drum, spadefish, Spanish and blues. The ocean water temperature at Cherry Grove Pier on Wednesday was 78 degrees.

Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: Don’t be mistaken, kings can also be found further out, on bottom spots in depths of 50 feet on out to the break, too. Look for kings and scattered dolphin in areas such as the Parking Lot. Dolphin, blackfin tuna and a few wahoo can be found near the break in areas such as the Winyah Scarp, Blackjack Hole and the Georgetown Hole. Find the bait and blue water of the Gulf Stream, and blue marlin and sailfish join the party. As usual, bottom fishing is excellent, especially with calm sea conditions this week, making for pleasant rides to the offshore fishing grounds. Look for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack. Scamp are the most common grouper species being caught. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.


Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: There is still quite a rise in the rivers, but fishing continues to be very good for bream, catfish and bass. The Waccamaw at Conway was at 9.12 feet Thursday at 4:15 p.m. while the Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was at 6.84 feet at 4 p.m. Look for bream on the edges, hitting crickets and worms in 1-4 feet of water. Catfish action has been excellent with fish taking fresh cut eel, fresh cut mullet and live bream best. Bass action is best early and late in the day with Bang-O-Lures, buzz baits and Senkos among productive lures.

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