Fishing report, March 20

March 20, 2014 

Estuary

•  Look For | Red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, black drum, sheepshead.

•  Comments | Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters in Little River produced 18 reds on a Thursday afternoon trip on a falling tide in lower Brunswick County. “They’re still biting,” Dickson said. Dickson used mud minnows on a Carolina rig along with blue crab chunks in the Intracoastal Waterway to entice the reds. Dickson reported a few trout have been caught near the Sunset Beach Bridge, but trout currently cannot be harvested in North Carolina and must be released until June 15. Dickson noted a water temperature of 53-54 degrees. “That’s a little bit cool, we’re in late March,” said Dickson. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service caught a few red drum on a quick scouting trip Thursday at high tide in Winyah Bay. McDonald used grubs tipped with cut shrimp. “There’s a lot of freshwater still coming down Winyah Bay,” noted McDonald, who observed a midday water temperature of 56 degrees.

Inshore

•  Look For | Black sea bass, sheepshead, black drum, croaker, whiting.

•  Comments | The ocean water temperature is below normal for late March, and the activity of fish in the surf zone indicates that. “There’s no fish being caught, really,” said Will Chandler of Apache Pier. Chandler noted only a few very small black drum, croaker and perch have been caught this week. The surface ocean water temperature was 54.86 degrees at 5 p.m. Thursday at 2nd Ave. Pier in Myrtle Beach. Until the weather and water warms up, black sea bass will continue to be the best bet on the inshore scene. Look for them on hard-bottom areas and artificial reefs, the deeper the better. Anglers should note fish under the 13-inch minimum size limit must be released. The daily bag limit for black sea bass is 5 fish per person.

Offshore

•  Look For | Black sea bass, vermilion snapper, porgy, amberjack, triggerfish, wahoo, blackfin tuna.

•  Comments | With spring struggling to arrive, not much has changed on the offshore fishing scene. Trolling can be excellent for wahoo along with blackfin tuna when sea conditions allow. Black sea bass and vermilion snapper are the top catch on bottom fishing trips, especially in depths of 65-90 feet of water. Triggerfish, porgy and amberjack are also available, but the annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure is in effect until April 30. Grouper species that must be released include, gag, black, red, scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin and yellowmouth. Red snapper must be released until further notice in the South Atlantic region.

Freshwater

•  Look For | Bream, crappie, catfish, bass.

•  Comments | Flood warnings remain in effect on the Pee Dee and Santee rivers, which obviously means the water is in the woods on local rivers. The water temperature was at 54 degrees late Thursday afternoon on the Waccamaw River at Hagley Landing. The Ricefields areas on the lower part of the Waccamaw and Pee Dee are a likely spot to find bream and crappie. Use minnows around brush or other structure for crappie and worms on the bottom for bream.

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