A large shark thrashes off the gunwale of the boat Painkiller on Wednesday offshore of Murrells Inlet. Submitted photo
Grand Strand Fishing: Bait ball produces large shark, nice cobia off the coast
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
May 24, 2018 05:51 PM
Updated May 24, 2018 07:34 PM
Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, bluefish, sheepshead
Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters had a solid outing on Thursday, highlighted by a four-pound flounder that measured about 22 inches. Kelly netted finger mullet and found that red drum and flounder preferred them over mud minnows. Kelly presented the mullet on 1/4-ounce jig heads and said the best action was on a falling tide. Kelly has also caught black drum and noted a water temperature in the lower to mid 70s. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle reports the black drum bite has been on in Murrells Inlet. Flounder, red drum and bluefish are also being caught in the inlet plus a few spotted seatrout. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service had a decent day on Tuesday in the Winyah Bay vicinity, producing three reds and two trout. McDonald noted that bait – menhaden and mullet but not shrimp – is plentiful in the bay. “It’s thick, you can walk on it,” said McDonald, who observed a water temperature in the 76-77 degree range. “You can get any size mullet you want.”
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, cobia, weakfish, spadefish, flounder, whiting, pompano, croaker, black drum
Comments: May is the month for migrating cobia along the Carolina coast, affording anglers an opportunity to catch a sizable, tasty, hard-fighting fish close to the beach. Case in point, the latest edition of Dr. Jason Rosenberg’s Wednesday Fishing With Friends expedition aboard his 32-foot Contender, Painkiller. The crew, with Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing at the helm, originally had designs to head out to the Georgetown Hole to troll for dolphin, tuna and wahoo. But the seas were too dicey and they turned around after an hour. A good ways before reaching the Murrells Inlet sea buoy, the crew noticed a bait ball and quickly jigged up some pinfish. They deployed the pinfish to the bottom near the bait ball and hooked up with a sizable shark. As the shark, in the 150-pound range, neared the boat a curious cobia appeared to check out the commotion. The cobia ate when a pinfish was pitched to it, and the battle was on about the time the shark broke off. After a spirited battle, the cobia, which wound up weighing 42-pounds, was gaffed and brought aboard. On the near-shore reefs, look for black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, weakfish and flounder, plus be on the lookout for a cobia to show up around the boat. Along the beach, Richard O’Leary of 14th Ave. Pier in Myrtle Beach reports whiting, croaker, black drum and pompano are being caught, plus sharks are roaming the pilings. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports a spot run has picked up in intensity over the last few days, with whiting, blues and Spanish mackerel also available. The water temperature Thursday at midday at the Cherry Grove Pier was 76 degrees on the surface, 73 on the bottom.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, barracuda, yellowfin tuna, grouper, amberjack, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, red porgy, triggerfish, white grunts.
Comments: The 51st annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament is underway with the first day of fishing on Thursday, and 51 of the 59 boats registered for the tournament were fishing. The boats can fish two of three days, Thursday through Saturday. As of 5 p.m., the fleet had released five blue marlin, five sailfish and one white marlin, plus two boats were reportedly hooked up with billfish. Aside from the tournament, trolling has been very productive of late for dolphin and blackfin tuna with a few wahoo mixed in. As for bottom fishing, ledges and hard bottom areas are producing black sea bass, vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish, red porgy, white grunts, amberjack and grouper, especially scamp. Red snapper can also be found on the reefs, but must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: “For once all the river levels are right and the fishing cannot get much better,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “It’s amazed me the fish I’ve seen this week.” Action for bream, bass and catfish has been very good. “Bream are hitting crickets and worms, popping bugs and beetle spins on the sides of the rivers, in coves and in lakes off the river,” said Stalvey. Bass action is best early and late in the day. Lures working best, according to Stalvey, include Baby Brush Hogs, Senkos and top-water Bang-O-Lures. Catfish action is very good on cut eels or most any cut bait, and bream.
The crew of Painkiller out of Murrells Inlet shows off the 42-pound cobia they landed on Wednesday. Submitted photo