Area, State Fishing Report (Jan. 4)

January 3, 2013 

Estuary

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

Comments | January is here and water temperatures in local estuaries are holding in the lower 50s, warm enough to keep spotted seatrout healthy and active. Red drum are schooled up in good numbers and black drum remain available. All three species should remain active as long as water temperatures remain above 48 degrees. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service rang in 2013 with a stellar morning trip, with his clients catching 39 red drum in the Winyah Bay area. McDonald started catching the reds on cut shrimp and switched to artificial grubs to catch the majority of the fish. Tom Craddock of Inlet Convenience and Fishing Supplies reports trout, reds and black drum have been caught in Murrells Inlet, where a 6 1/2-pound trout was reportedly landed.

Inshore

Look for | Black drum, whiting, weakfish, spotted seatrout, sheepshead.

Comments | With the water temperature holding in the lower 50s, black drum and trout continue to be a possibility especially around rocky areas near the beach. Otherwise, only a few croakers and perch are being caught on Grand Strand piers. Local artificial reefs continue to hold black sea bass and sheepshead. Sheepshead can be harvested (10 per person/30 per boat per day, 14-inch minimum size) but black sea bass cannot be harvested until June 1, 2013. The ocean water temperature was 51.82 degrees Thursday at 3:45 p.m. at 2nd Ave. Pier.

Offshore

Look for | Blackfin tuna, wahoo, amberjack, triggerfish.

Comments | Tis the season to not go offshore fishing thanks to a bevy of regulations preventing the harvest of virtually any desirable species in the snapper-grouper complex. As of Jan. 1, grouper were added to the list of species that cannot be harvested until spring. Shallow-water grouper species including gag, red and scamp, are closed for recreational anglers Jan. 1 through April 30, vermilion snapper (beeliners) are closed through March 31. For good measure, red snapper are closed indefinitely. Wahoo and blackfin tuna are a possibility for trolling boats.

Freshwater

Look for | Crappie, bream, catfish, bass.

Comments | Crappie and bream action continues to be good for anglers on local rivers. Crappie catches are good on minnows in 8-10 feet of water, particularly around brush piles, docks and creek mouths. Jay Booth of Fisherman’s Headquarters in Conway reports some crappie in the 1 to 1 1/2-pound range have been caught. Look for crappie in the Waccamaw River from Conway Marina south to Bucksville and in Kingston Lake. Bream are also hitting worms in 8-10 feet of water in areas such as Yauhannah, Samworth and Bucksport. Luke Cannon of Conway caught a limit of bream Sunday at Bucksport. Booth notes the water level in the Little Pee Dee River and around the Punch Bowl area are high.

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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