Capt. Alex Hrycak and Chris Lawhon show off a 45-pound wahoo caught aboard Molar Man out of Marlin Quay Marina earlier this week. Courtesy photo
Grand Strand Fishing Report: Late-summer wahoo bite gets hot
By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News
August 30, 2018 05:12 PM
Updated August 30, 2018 06:50 PM
Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, ladyfish, bluefish, tarpon.
Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has produced plenty of fish this week, just not too many lunkers. “I’ve been catching a lot of fish, mostly small fish,” said McDonald. On a Wednesday trip, for instance, McDonald’s crew caught 12 flounder, with one keeper above South Carolina’s 15-inch minimum size limit for flounder. Red drum, most under the 15-23 inch slot limit, and black drum, most under the 14-27 inch slot, were also caught on the trip. The flounder and reds hit finger mullet while cut shrimp worked for the black drum. Capt. Jordan Pate of Carolina Guide Service in Georgetown has had a super week catching tarpon out of Georgetown Landing Marina, including a pair of releases on Thursday. The first of September is hours away and, to McDonald, the end of the tarpon season is also on the horizon. “There’s still some around,” said McDonald. “I looked for them Tuesday and saw some. You’ll see them here in good numbers if nothing happens (weather-wise) for two more weeks. There may be a few scattered ones left after that.”
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: As soon as the competitors in the Spanish Mackerel Derby finished battling a stiff northeast wind and sloppy seas last Saturday, the seas turned nice and superb near-shore action for Spanish and king mackerel was on. It’s been a super mackerel week on spots such as Paradise Reef, 10-Mile Reef and Belkie Bear out of Murrells Inlet and other spots in depths of 30-60 feet. Artificial reefs such as Paradise, Jim Caudle and Ron McManus are holding good numbers of spadefish, flounder and black sea bass, plus weakfish activity is picking up. Apache Pier reports undersized red drum, croaker, Spanish mackerel, flounder and a few whiting have been landed this week. The ocean water temperature was 83 degrees on the surface and bottom at the pier Thursday morning.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, king mackerel, sailfish, barracuda, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: The late-summer wahoo bite turned hot over the last week on areas along the break. “We’ve had a good week, we’ve had a 76-pounder, a 70, a bunch of 50s and 45s,” said Chris Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina. “They’re definitely showing up.” Lawhon fished with Derrick Blanton aboard Blanton’s boat, My Boat, and the crew caught four wahoo out of six bites Monday, then for good measure hit the bottom to catch vermilion snapper, grouper and triggerfish. Also look for blackfin tuna, kings, barracuda and a few dolphin to show up in the trolling spreads. Other reef species available are black sea bass, amberjack and red porgy. Red snapper are being caught, as usual, but must be released in the South Atlantic Region.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: With the holiday weekend signaling the end of summer, conditions are in place for superb late summer and fall fishing on local rivers. “(The rivers) are looking good, everything is looking promising,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “It’s going to be amazing coming up.” Bass action has been good, highlighted by River Squires’ 5 1/2-pound lunker that won the Tuesday evening tournament out of Conway Marina. Squires fish hit a top-water lure. “Bream fishing has been hot and heavy,” said Stalvey. “The best reports have been on the Little Pee Dee between Pitts Landing and the Punch Bowl. All that area has produced some nice, nice limits for the fellows who have been going lately.” Catfish action has been consistently good. “Catfish have been good right on, even with the high water we had,” said Stalvey. Fresh cut eel and bream are top baits for catfish. The Waccamaw at Conway was in great shape, 7.65 feet at 7:15 a.m. Thursday, and making good tides. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was also looking good, at 5.02 feet at 7 a.m. Thursday and slowly falling.
Capt. Jordan Pate of Carolina Guide Service (CarolinaGuideService.com) and Jim Allison of Georgetown show off a tarpon caught and released in the Winyah Bay vicinity. The Silver King was Allison’s first tarpon. Photo courtesy of Carolina Guide Service