Look for | Spotted seatrout, red drum, flounder, black drum, sheepshead.
Comments | All fish stories aside, the fishing action in estuaries from Georgetown to Brunswick County, N.C., is simply phenomenal. By all accounts the bite of spotted seatrout, also known as winter trout, is superb. “Everybody’s talking about how great the trout fishing is from Morehead City (N.C.) to Beaufort (S.C.),” said Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters in Little River, who caught numerous trout in the 16-17 inch range and red drum in the 20-22 inch range on a Monday trip. Locally, Dickson said, the action is “real consistent pretty much everywhere up and down the waterway.” Likewise in the Georgetown area, reports Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service. On Tuesday, McDonald and crew caught two 15-inch flounder, 10 red drum and a whopping 51 trout all on artificials. McDonald reported a water temperature in the low to mid 50s. Finally, Capt. Lee Elkins reports action is very good in Murrells Inlet from the creeks to the jetties for trout, reds, flounder and black drum.
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Look for | Whiting, black drum, croaker, weakfish, spots, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments | Action continues to be slow off Grand Strand piers, as it will for the winter. Currently, the occasional whiting, black drum or perch are being caught. Weakfish can be found on near-shore hard-bottom areas and artificial reefs, but anglers should remember the daily bag limit for weakfish is one fish per person with a 12-inch minimum size limit. Same old story on black sea bass – the species is moving into shallower water this time of year but they are off-limits until June 1, 2013. The ocean water temperature at Cherry Grove Pier was 54.93 degrees at noon on Wednesday.
Look for | King mackerel, wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish.
Comments | Bottom fishing is excellent in late fall, and the marine forecast is decent for the weekend. Look for grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish and porgy. The red snapper fishery is closed indefinitely. King mackerel can be found on ledges and bottom spots in depths of 65 feet of water and beyond with the Frying Pan Tower vicinity a likely area to find them. Trolling boats near the Gulf Stream can likely find a few wahoo and blackfin tuna, plus dolphin.
Look for | Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments | It’s status quo on local rivers, with good action for crappie and a variety of bream species, reports Fishermen’s Headquarters in Conway. Crappie catches have been particularly good with fish hitting minnows around ditch mouths, brush piles and boat docks in 6-7 feet of water and four feet below the surface. Bream are taking worms in 7-8 feet of water on the bottom. Areas such as Bucksport, Bucksville, Yauhannah, Samworth and Punch Bowl are producing fish. Catfish action is fair on shiners and nightcrawlers. Mac Cooper and Rob T of Conway won the weekly bass tournament with a three-fish aggregate of 5.98 pounds. The tournament will be held Saturday at Bucksport, safe light to 3 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 – 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. 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.