Look For: Red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, black drum, sheepshead.
Comments: This week’s storm was Julia, which wavered between a depression and tropical storm and messed up plenty of fishing trips Wednesday and Thursday. On Tuesday, Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a super trip in Winyah Bay. McDonald’s crew caught and carefully released two bull red drum measuring 42 and 39 inches, but there was more to come. The crew caught 18 smaller red drum, 10 black drum, two ladyfish, a spotted seatrout and capped the day with a five-pound tripletail. McDonald, who noted an 80-degree water temperature, said all fish were caught fishing the grass banks using cut shrimp on floats and Carolina rigs. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River took a hardy crew out into the wind and spotty rain showers on Thursday. “We had a fair amount of action considering the wind and rain,” said Kelly. “There was plenty of bait around (including) mullet and shrimp. They didn’t seem to be effected by the rainfall.” Kelly’s crew caught trout on live shrimp on popping corks, flounder on Gulp swimming minnows, along with black drum and red drum. Kelly fished Dunn Sound, Tubbs Inlet and Bonaparte Creek and noted action was best on a falling tide. Jessica Perry of Perry's Bait and Tackle reports one angler caught numerous slot reds in Murrells Inlet before the rain hit on Wednesday. Perry also reports scattered catches of trout in the inlet along with flounder and black drum.
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Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, whiting, weakfish, red drum, black drum, flounder, croaker, pompano, sheepshead, spots.
Comments: Conditions and fishing were very good near the beach before Julia churned everything up starting on Wednesday. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters used live finger mullet to land several large Spanish mackerel in the 3- to 4-pound range on Monday at Paradise Reef. Also look for black sea bass, weakfish, flounder and possibly king mackerel at the near-shore reefs. The near-shore hard-bottom areas within a mile of the beach are producing bull red drum and weakfish, plus whiting. “They’re here,” Maples said of the bull reds, “and there are some big fat whiting.” Fishing was good on Grand Strand piers before Julia’s arrival, with Spanish mackerel, bluefish and whiting providing the best action. Many of the piers have produced the occasional bull red, plus croaker, flounder, pompano, black drum, sheepshead and weakfish are all available especially when conditions calm back down. Jessica Perry of Perry’s Bait and Tackle reports an angler caught eight spots on Springmaid Pier, but the true fall run is still to come. Perry reports very good catches of bluefish from the surf along with the occasional Spanish, with the fish hitting finger mullet. Sharks will take the mullet, too. At 5:18 p.m. Thursday on Springmaid Pier, the wind was blowing 19 knots out of the north-northeast and the water temperature was 81.0 degrees.
Look For: King mackerel, wahoo, dolphin, blackfin tuna, grouper, amberjack, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy.
Comments: In short, it’s been a rough last couple weeks in the offshore waters. Once Julia departs area waters, super fall fishing should be on hand. Julia has not been enough to stop the Rumble In The Jungle King Mackerel Tournament out of Harbourgate Marina in Little River this weekend. The event will go on with a Captains Choice format, as competing boats will be allowed to fish one day, either Saturday or Sunday. If a Small Craft Advisory is issued however, fishing for that day would be canceled. Kings can be found in a range of areas, on schools of bait running the beach to deep-water bottom spots up to 90 feet deep. The tournament aside, wahoo are the best bet for offshore trolling boats with dolphin and blackfin tuna also available. When conditions calm down, bottom fishing will be excellent for grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy and amberjack. There are plenty of genuine red snapper around but they are off-limits in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Look For: Bream, catfish, crappie, bass.
Comments: Another round of rain fell this week, and there is plenty of water in the rivers. The Little Pee Dee River at Galivants Ferry was at 7.3 feet Thursday at 5 p.m. and was projected to drop below 7 feet in the next few days. The Waccamaw River at Conway was in the Action stage at 10.06 feet Thursday at 5:15 p.m. Work the banks, using beetle spins or popping bugs for larger bream. Floating crickets and worms in 3-8 feet of water will produce bream, too. Catfish will hit a variety of baits including cut eels, cut bait such as shad or mullet or live bream.