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It’s a quiet time of the year


Dylan Garrity, of Berlin, N.J., throws a cast net from the Apache pier in hopes of catching bait. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com

Action slow on area estuaries, but good fishing to be found elsewhere

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

Estuary
Look For: Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments: Water temperatures continue to be above average for mid-February, generally in the mid 50s, with red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum and some flounder remaining active. High tides around a full moon and windy conditions a week ago created murky water, hampering a trip for Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown. McDonald produced three trout, one red drum and a sheepshead on the trip, despite trying a variety of grubs, cut shrimp and mud minnows. “I don’t think it was a thing of the fish weren’t there, they just weren’t biting,” said McDonald. Look for trout, reds, black drum, sheepshead and possibly tautog at area jetties.
Inshore
Look For: Sheepshead, black sea bass, black drum, tautog, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker.
Comments: The best bet inshore is to head to near-shore artificial reefs such as Paradise (three miles east of Murrells Inlet) and Jim Caudle (three miles south of Little River) and fish fiddler crabs on the structure for sheepshead and black drum. Black sea bass are also common on the reefs but anglers should keep the 13-inch minimum size limit in mind. Tautog, flounder and weakfish may also be found on the reefs. Action is slow as usual in February on Grand Strand piers, with just a few small croaker and whiting being caught. The water temperature at Cherry Grove Pier was 55 degrees Thursday afternoon, easily above normal.
Offshore
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy, grunts, amberjack.
Comments: Find a nice day and the offshore wahoo bite can be very good. Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters headed to the south end of the Winyah Scarp early this week and had a very productive day, landing six wahoo including a 58-pounder and a few blackfin tuna in 70-degree surface water. Carey trolled ballyhoo with Bluewater Candy skirts and spotted sea turtles and flying fish on the trip. “Seventy to 74 (degree water) is working for me,” Carey said. Super bottom fishing is available for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, red porgy and amberjack. Grouper must be released thanks to the annual Shallow-water Grouper Spawning Season Closure through April 30. Also, red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic Region.
Freshwater
Look For: Crappie, bream, bass, catfish.
Comments: Crappie action is very good on area rivers with fish hitting minnows presented both on floats or lead-lined on the bottom. Bream are hitting worms, also on the bottom. Catfish action has been excellent on cut eel, plus bass have been hitting a variety of lures including plastic worms, jerkbaits and crankbaits. The Waccamaw at Conway was at 7.7 feet at 6 p.m. Thursday and making good tides.