Area, State fishing report (Dec. 14)

December 13, 2012 

Estuary

Look for | Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.

Comments | The fantastic weather of late is a thing of the past, but the water temperature remains in the mid 50s in local estuaries and the trout bite remains strong. Anglers have had no problem catching plenty of trout, with a few red drum mixed in. Black drum are also available at local jetties and in the vicinity of deep holes. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a superb trip on Sunday, fishing various areas in Winyah Bay including the jetties. McDonald and crew produced 25 spotted seatrout, five black drum and three red drum, with the trout all coming on artificial grubs. The black drum took cut shrimp while the reds took grubs and cut shrimp. McDonald noted a water temperature of 56 degrees on the trip. In all, trout are taking live shrimp and artificials including a variety of grubs, Mirrolures, and various artificial shrimp such as Billy Bay Halo, DOA and Berkeley Gulp.

Inshore

Look for | Black drum, whiting, croaker, weakfish, spots, flounder, sheepshead.

Comments | Winter-time fishing is entrenched on Grand Strand piers, which means action is very slow with only a few whiting, croakers and Souther puffers (blowfish) being caught. With the water temperature at 56.09 degrees at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, black drum and sheepshead continue to be a real possibility for pier anglers. The rocky area near the 2nd Ave. Pier continues to hold trout. Best bet for inshore action is on artificial reefs such as Jim Caudle Reef, Paradise Reef (Three-Mile Reef) and 10-Mile Reef where black sea bass, sheepshead and possibly weakfish are available. Sheepshead can be harvested but black sea bass must be released until June 1, 2013.

Offshore

Look for | King mackerel, wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish.

Comments | Ocean Isle Fishing Center reports on www.OIFC.com that Box Office out of Wrightsville Beach made the offshore trip to the Steeples area and had a nice catch of wahoo and blackfin tuna. Dolphin are also a possibility for trolling boats. King mackerel have also been harvested this week in the Frying Pan Tower vicinity. Bottom fishing is very good when conditions allow with grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish and porgy available. The red snapper fishery is closed indefinitely.

Freshwater

Look for | Crappie, bream, catfish, bass.

Comments | Crappie are under a new 8-inch minimum size limit (with a 20 fish per person per day bag limit) in South Carolina waters, and Jay Booth of Fishermen’s Headquarters in Conway is seeing a good number of sizable keepers. “The crappie bite is outstanding,” Booth said. “I’m hearing of a lot of fish under 8 inches but I’m also seeing a lot of fish in the 10-12 inch range. I’m seeing some fish that are a pound or better.” Booth notes crappie action is best in the Little Pee Dee, Bucksport and Samworth vicinities. Orin Alford and J.C. Anderson of Conway caught a limit of bream, shellcracker and morgans in the Ricefields on Monday. Booth called catfish action fair on shiners and nightcrawlers. The weekly bass tournament is on hold until the first Saturday in January.

By Gregg Holshouser, For The Sun News

State fishing

Santee Cooper System | Striped Bass: Fair. Although still not frequent, reports of striper being caught are picking up. Catfish: Good. Catfish are deep but feeding extremely well in the lower lake; gizzard shad drifted or anchored are very effective.

S.C. DNR

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