Look For | Spotted seatrout, red drum, flounder, black drum, sheepshead, spots.
Comments | The spotted seatrout bite continues to be very good in all estuaries along the Grand Strand. Numerous methods will catch trout including live shrimp, grubs, mirrorlures, DOA or Gulp shrimp and even cut bait on a Carolina rig. Add black drum to the mix, too. “Black drum and trout are on fire,” said Jessica of Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet. Of course, red drum from about 14-30 inches are available in the creeks around oyster bars and grass banks. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service ventured up north to fish the Brunswick County-Little River area early this week. McDonald and his fishing buddies caught 35 trout, three reds and a 3-pound flounder using live shrimp and grubs while fishing the Shallotte River, ICW and the Little River jetties. As for the spots? Perry’s reports there have been good days and bad days with the panfish.
Look For | Whiting, black drum, croaker, weakfish, spots, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments | With Thanksgiving weekend here and December fast approaching, action is slowing down on Grand Strand piers. Whiting, croakers and black drum have been the main species caught with a few flounder and trout also landed. Spot runs have been very few and far between. Weakfish remain available on near-shore hard-bottom areas and artificial reefs but the daily bag limit for weakfish is one fish per person with a 12-inch minimum size limit. Black sea bass are moving into the same areas in good numbers but, as will be the theme all winter, recreational anglers should remember they are off-limits until June 1, 2013. The ocean water temperature at Apache Pier was 57.42 degrees at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Look For | King mackerel, wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish.
Comments | The north wind has been blowing strong for quite a while, thus there hasn’t been much fishing going on in the offshore waters. Look for king mackerel on ledges and bottom spots in depths of 65 feet of water and beyond. Trolling boats near the Gulf Stream can likely find a few wahoo and blackfin tuna available, plus dolphin. The best bet however is bottom fishing with grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish and porgy all available. The recreational black sea bass fishery is closed until June 1, 2013 and the red snapper fishery is closed indefinitely.
Look For | Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments | “It was a little slow early in the week when the weather was nasty but I saw a big [upswing] Tuesday and Wednesday when the weather got better,” said Jay Booth of Fishermen’s Headquarters in Conway. In particular, Booth noted good catches of crappie on minnows around ditch mouths, brush piles and boat docks in 6-7 feet of water and four feet below the surface. Look for bream hitting worms on the bottom in 7-8 feet of water. Catfish action is good on nightcrawlers and shiners. Top areas are Punch Bowl, Yauhannah, Samworth, Bucksport and Bucksville. “All water levels are low on the rivers, so be careful, especially around the Punch Bowl area,” Booth said.
By Gregg Holshouser, For The Sun News
Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie | Catfish: Slow to fair. Capt. Jim Glenn reports that there is no real productive Santee Cooper catfish pattern to fish most of the time right now, and cooling water temperatures will have fish scattered until later in the winter. Quality catchable fish are not being caught with any regularity right now, but just recently Lake Marion seems to be producing slightly better numbers of quality fish. There is some indication – for example, smaller fish showing up – that there have been a couple of successful spawns in the recent past. Channel catfish are being caught fairly frequently and can be found in a wide range of depths. Largemouth bass: Slow. Capt. Jim Glenn reports that generally bass fishing has been considered slow recently. Falling water temperatures will see the bite improve around visible woody and vegetated locations before water temperatures drop below 60. Both spinnerbaits and crankbaits will work well. There should be some surface action with floating worms and smaller, slower buzz baits and “stick” baits particular in the morning hours. Some bass will continue to hold or suspend on drops just off the banks as well as further into open water and off visible and submerged islands since most prey species including shad, bluegill and others will be moving away from shoreline cover as water temps continue to drop.