Look for | Red drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, black drum, sheepshead, spots.
Comments | All three components of a Carolina Slam – red drum, spotted seatrout and flounder – are there for the taking from Winyah Bay to Brunswick County, N.C. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service reports his crew caught 18 trout – most right at the 14-inch minimum size – and three flounder on a Wednesday trip. “They caught about 18 trout and they missed about 18 trout,” quipped McDonald, who said all fish were caught on plastic grubs. Water temperature in Winyah Bay was 70 degrees on Wednesday. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Charters in Little River reports bull reds are still on hand near the Little River Inlet with smaller reds available in the creeks. Kelly has caught trout on live shrimp and Gulp’s swimming minnow plus caught flounder on finger mullet earlier in the week on the ICW near Ocean Isle Beach. Jessica Perry of Perry’s Bait and Tackle reports limits of trout (10 per person per day) were caught earlier in the week in Murrells Inlet, with some nice flounder being landed. Perry weighed a 9 and a 7-pound flounder. “They’re not all babies anymore,” Perry said. “The ratio of big ones seems to be getting better. The big ones are nice, thick fish.” Perry reports some spots are being caught in the inlet, including one angler who caught over 50, but the big run has not started yet. “I’m waiting for the massive eruption [of spots being caught] any day now,” Perry said.
Look for | Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, flounder, king mackerel, black sea bass, black drum, pompano, sheepshead, weakfish.
Comments | After a slow spring and summer of king mackerel catches, the action has really turned on this fall. Monday was the day for kings with five fish caught off Apache Pier and three off Cherry Grove Pier. Kings weighing 27 pounds, one ounce, 26-5, 21-14, 21-12 and 19-7 were caught off Apache Pier. Don Christy caught two of them (21-14 and 21-12). Cherry Grove’s three kings weighed 19-10, 21-0 and 17-14. The water near the beach continues to be alive with migrating menhaden and mullet, with plenty of kings and Spanish mackerel feasting on them. Otherwise, plenty of other species are being caught on the piers including whiting, pompano, black drum, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and spots. The big question for the army of spot fishermen ready to descend on the beach is – are they catching spots yet? The answer this week has been a few, but not anything that would constitute a real run. The Wrightsville Beach (N.C.) Pier was reportedly catching numerous spots in the last few days. Ocean water temperature at 2nd Ave. Pier was 72.16 degrees Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
Look for | King mackerel, wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, sailfish, grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish.
Comments | Catches of kings have also been good in about 65 to 85 feet of water, which, along with the beach bite, bodes well for next weekend’s Fall Brawl King Classic (Oct. 26-28) out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center (www.oifc.com). Also look for grouper to be found closer to shore, in the same 65-85 foot depths. Further out, near the Gulf Stream, trolling boats can look for wahoo and blackfin tuna, with dolphin and sailfish still in the mix. Bottom fishing is in prime fall form. Aside from grouper, look for vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish and porgy. A long closure of shallow water grouper will go into effect on Saturday for commercial fishermen. The commercial grouper fishery will not re-open until May 1, 2013. The recreational shallow-water grouper fishery will be closed on Jan. 1, 2013 and won’t re-open until May 1, 2013. Anglers are reminded the recreational black sea bass fishery is closed until June 1, 2013.
Look for | Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments | “The crappie bite has been really good this week,” said Jay Booth of Fishermen’s Headquarters. Booth personally hit the Great Pee Dee on Tuesday and caught 10 crappie on minnows with four fish weighing 1.5 pounds or more. Booth was fishing in 10 feet of water and caught the crappie four feet down. Booth also added seven bream and a 3-pound bass to his catch. Booth also released numerous crappie in the 5-6 inch range, below the new 8-inch minimum size limit for the species. The daily bag limit for crappie is 20 fish per person. Bream continue to hit crickets and worms in 2-3 feet of water. Best areas are Bucksport, Yauhannah and Samworth. Booth notes bass action is good on live shiners, fished two feet deep under a float. Ryan Marsh of Conway won the weekly bass tournament with 6.5 pounds for a three-fish aggregate. The tournament will be held Saturday, safe light to 2 p.m., out of Bucksport.
By Gregg Holshouser, For The Sun News
Santee Cooper System | Crappie: Good to very good. Capt. Steve English reports that crappie fishing has been strong and fish are really ganged up on brushpiles. Fish are suspended in 7-18 feet of water around the tops of brushpiles in approximately 15-28 feet of water. Generally fish are about to 8-10 feet off the bottom (at the top of the brush) and they will usually eat minnows. Recently the upper lake has been better producing better than the lower lake with white crappie in the upper lake concentrated in tight schools. Largemouth bass: Slow. Capt. Jimmie Hair reports that bass fishing is very tough on Santee Cooper. As temperatures cool October fishing should improve and fish will make their way to the creeks. Catfish: Slow to fair. Capt. Jim Glenn reports that there is no real productive Santee Cooper catfish pattern to fish most of the time, 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 – e.g., 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.