Look for | Spotted seatrout, red drum, flounder, black drum, sheepshead, spots.
Comments | Action for spotted seatrout continues to be excellent in all Grand Strand estuaries. Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters in Little River had a typical catch on Monday, with 35 trout including 20 keepers on live shrimp. “They’re catching them from the Little River Swing Bridge to The Crossroads, at Coquina Harbor and Calabash Creek,” Dickson said. “It’s as good as I can remember.” Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service braved the elements on Wednesday to catch 12 trout and 9 redfish in the Winyah Bay vicinity using Bass Assassin and DOA’s CAL bait on one-quarter ounce jig heads. “When you’re fishing in a 30 mph northeast wind, it’s kinda tough,” said McDonald, who noted a water temperature of 60 degrees. “I think we would have had some wonderful catches with [better] weather.” Tom Craddock of Inlet Convenience and Fishing Supplies reports flounder, trout and black drum catches are good in Murrells Inlet. “The trout have slowed down but the [anglers] who know where to go are catching their limit,” Craddock said. Catches of spots have been off and on in the inlet, but Craddock offered one key tip. “The people that are not catching many are not using blood worms,” Craddock said. “The ones using strictly blood worms, they’re catching them. They’re there, you’ve just got to keep moving around and finding them.”
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Look for | Whiting, black drum, weakfish, spots, flounder, pompano, sheepshead.
Comments | Whiting, black drum and spots have been the top catch on Grand Strand piers over the past week. Fay Skipper of the Surfside Pier reports there have been a few good days where numerous whiting have been caught and the occasional quick run of spots has occurred. Other species available include flounder, weakfish, spotted seatrout and sheepshead. Weakfish, also known as summer trout or grey trout, can be found on hard-bottom areas near the beach and on near-shore artificial reefs. The daily bag limit for weakfish is one fish per person with a 12-inch minimum size limit. With the water temperature dropping, black sea bass are moving to near-shore bottom spots and artificial reefs in greater numbers, but recreational anglers should remember the species is off-limits until June 1, 2013. The ocean water temperature at 2nd Ave. Pier was 59.26 degrees at 2:15 p.m. Thursday.
Look for | King mackerel, wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish.
Comments | It’s been a nasty week in the offshore waters, with little fishing going on due to the rough conditions. King mackerel can be found, likely on bottom spots in depths of 65 feet of water and beyond. Further out, the Gulf Stream vicinity is still holding wahoo and blackfin tuna, with dolphin also likely available. November bottom fishing is very good when boats can get out there. Look for grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish and porgy. The red snapper fishery is closed indefinitely.
Look for | Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments | “Up until today (Thursday) it’s been pretty good this week,” said Jay Booth of Fishermen’s Headquarters in Conway. “Everything’s moved deep. The bream, morgans and shellcracker are in 7-8 feet of water [hitting] worms.” Booth suggests looking for the bream in ditch mouths and creek mouths on drop-offs in several areas including Punch Bowl, Yauhannah, Samworth, Bucksport and Bucksville. Look for crappie around ditch mouths, brush piles and boat docks 6-7 feet deep and 4 feet down. “I’m hearing crappie has picked up a lot in the last few days,” Booth said. Craig Parker and Smithy Smith of Conway landed 20 bream and shellcracker, two catfish and a 17-inch red drum while fishing on the bottom using worms at Jericho Creek near the Ricefields. Booth caught 15 crappie over the 8-inch minimum size limit including three over a pound, along with nine bream, last weekend at Yauhannah. Bass action is good on shiners floated three feet deep. Ryan Marsh of Conway won the weekly bass tournament with a three-fish aggregate of 5.42 pounds. The tournament will be held Saturday at Bucksport, safe light to 2 p.m.
By Gregg Holshouser, For The Sun News
Santee Cooper System | Catfish: Slow to fair. Capt. Jim Glenn reports that there is no real productive Santee Cooper catfish pattern to fish most of the time right now, 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 – 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. Largemouth bass: Slow. Capt. Glenn reports that generally bass fishing has been considered slow recently. Falling water temperatures will see the bite improve around visible woody and vegetated locations before water temperatures drop below 60. Both spinnerbaits and crankbaits will work well. There should be some surface action with floating worms and smaller, slower buzz baits and “stick” baits particular in the morning hours. Some bass will continue to hold or suspend on drops just off the banks as well as further into open water and off visible and submerged islands since most prey species including shad, bluegill and others will be moving away from shoreline cover as water temps continue to drop.