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Weather affects competition


Wahoo, like this one caught in the Florida Keys, are the target of the 118 boats entered in the annual South Carolina Wahoo Series that runs through April 15. Submitted photo
Outdoors
Weather thwarting fishing attempts in South Carolina Wahoo Series

By Gregg Holshouser
For The Sun News

March 22, 2018 10:06 PM

Estuary

Look For: Red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, sheepshead.

Comments: For now, red drum with a few black drum are providing the most action in local estuaries. But the calendar is inching closer to April and, even with water temperatures in the mid 50s, the flounder bite will get started soon. For now, a few flounder are being caught but most are under the 15-inch minimum size limit. “I think with the full moon coming up (March 31) and warmer temps next week we should really see an influx of bigger fish,” said Capt. Englis Glover of Reelin’ Up The Coast and Southern Anglers Radio Show. Red and black drum can be found in shallow areas and in holes in tidal creeks.

Inshore

Look For: Sheepshead, black sea bass, black drum, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker.

Comments: It’s been another week of chilly, windy weather, and fishing action has been slow in the near-shore waters and along the beach. “It’s just been a few little whiting and croaker, that’s been about it,” said Ronnie Goodwin of the Cherry Grove Pier, who noted a surface ocean water temperature of 56 degrees and 55 on the bottom Thursday afternoon at 5:15 p.m. Although few boats have made their way to the near-shore artificial reefs, sheepshead are the best bet at spots such as Paradise Reef, Jim Caudle Reef and Ron McManus Reef. The daily bag limit is 10 sheepshead per person and a boat limit of 30 per day with a minimum size limit of 14 inches (total length). Other species to look for on the reefs include black sea bass, weakfish, black drum and flounder.
Offshore

Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, grouper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy, black sea bass, grunts.

Comments: The old adage goes, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. For fishermen eager to get offshore, catch some wahoo and compete in the 2018 South Carolina Wahoo Series, they certainly hope so near the end of the windiest March in recent memory. Some 118 boats have watched the wind blow virtually all month and are eligible to fish two days each in the 7th annual series, which opened Feb. 2 and runs through April 15. On pretty March days with blue water in areas like the Winyah Scarp, Black Jack Hole and Georgetown Hole, trolling can produce great catches of wahoo and blackfin tuna, with a few dolphin mixed in. Bottom fishing is typically good for black sea bass, grey triggerfish, vermilion snapper, amberjack, red porgy and white grunts. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect through April 30 and red snapper are closed indefinitely in the South Atlantic region and must be released.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, crappie, bass, catfish.

Comments: “There ain’t much happening, this weather just kills everything,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Very few people have gone this week.” Bream are back in deeper water with the colder weather and water, and anglers are lead-lining worms for them in depths of 5-15 feet. Stalvey notes the catfish action was “phenomenal” in the Tricky’s Fish Shack Annual Spring Catfish Tournament last weekend. Capt. Jason Britt of Wet Dreams landed a pair of flathead catfish weighing 45.7 and 42.5 pounds for an aggregate of 88.2 pounds to win the tournament on the Waccamaw River over a field of 27 boats. Capt. Andrew Lathrom of Team Hairy Bush Hooks was second with a big fish of 44.2 pounds.