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Plenty biting in the local area.

image: man fishing
Captain Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service hooks into a shark several months ago in North Inlet. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews
Fishing report: Red (drum) summer continues on local estuaries, plenty others biting

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

August 17, 2017 7:17 PM

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

Comments: It was quite a day Thursday for Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in the Georgetown vicinity. “We fished the (North) Inlet, the (Winyah) Bay, the jetties,” said McDonald. “We’ve been running from place to place trying to stay away from sharks and ribbonfish.” McDonald’s crew caught 14 trout, five flounder, three red drum and three ladyfish on the morning trip. “We’ve been doing fair to middlin’,” quipped McDonald, who noted a water temperature of 85 degrees. It’s been a week of trout and reds for Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in the Little River area. “We’ve been mainly catching reds – it’s been a good summer for red drum,” said Kelly. “We’ve been using a lot of live shrimp in the deeper parts of the waterway. Kelly has also had success with spotted seatrout, also hitting live shrimp. “We’ve had some keeper fish in the two- to three-pound range and a lot of small fish,” Kelly said of the trout. Kelly also noted that large shrimp – eating size shrimp – have shown up recently in his cast net while he’s been catching bait. In Murrells Inlet, black drum and flounder have been the top catch this week with large croakers and even some spots also being landed. Ed Keelin of Georgetown Landing Marina reports plenty of tarpon have been spotted in the Winyah Bay vicinity, but few catches have been reported.

Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, spadefish, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, sheepshead and red drum.

Comments: Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters has been targeting flounder on the near-shore reefs this week. On Thursday, he found plenty of flounder at Paradise Reef, located three miles east of Murrells Inlet, but keepers over South Carolina’s new minimum size limit for flounder of 15 inches were hard to come by. “We started at Paradise, and we must have caught 20 flounder at 14.5 inches,” said Maples. The captain then moved to the 10-Mile Reef, also east of Murrells Inlet. “We caught flounder there too but the barracuda were having a field day,” said Maples. “You’ve got to get them up quick or you’re only going to get half of it.” Maples also notes that large Spanish mackerel are available at both reefs, with king mackerel being caught at Belky Bear, just offshore of the 10-Mile Reef. Maples has also seen spadefish on the reefs but said “the ‘cudas are spooking them.” Numerous species are available off Grand Strand piers and near the surfline, headed by whiting, croaker, black drum and Spanish mackerel, but catches are scattered. The ocean water temperature was 86 degrees on the surface and bottom Thursday afternoon at Cherry Grove Pier.

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

Comments: August is known to be a solid month for wahoo trolling in areas near the break such as the Winyah Scarp and Georgetown Hole. Such was the case in the Georgetown Wahoo Challenge last weekend out of Georgetown Landing Marina, when 21 boats weighed in 67 wahoo. Blackfin tuna and a few dolphin and sailfish are also in the trolling mix in the same areas. Also look for king mackerel on bottom spots in depths of 50-80 feet. Vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, and amberjack lead the way for bottom fishermen, with grouper, porgy and grunts also available. Cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Red snapper must be released in the South Atlantic region.

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.

Comments: After a cool start to the month, it has felt like the dog days of August this week. “It’s been so hot not a lot of people have been going,” said Ronald ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Bream continue to hit crickets and worms, but fishing a little off the bank in deeper water is a good plan. Fishing worms on the bottom may also be a good idea. Stalvey says bass action is good, but predominantly early and late in the day to avoid the oppressive heat. Try using spinnerbaits and buzz baits at dawn or dusk, and in between use a Texas-rigged worm on drop-offs and creek mouths. Catfish are hitting a variety of live bait (bream, black salties) and cut baits (eels, mullet). Surprisingly, the Waccamaw has more of a rise of in it than the Little Pee Dee. The Waccamaw was at 8.19 feet at 3:15 p.m. Thursday in Conway while the Little Pee Dee was at 4.71 feet at 3 p.m. at Galivants Ferry.

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