Look for | Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments | Just in time for the weekend, the splendid stretch of spring-like weather is a thing of the past. Still, the water temperature is easily above average – for now – and red drum, spotted seatrout and black drum remain active. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service produced three red drum up to 15 pounds and 14 trout, most in the 13 to 16 inch-range, on a Tuesday trip in the Winyah Bay area using a variety of grubs. “With the warm weather, the fish have got off their winter mode and scattered,” said McDonald, who noted the water temperature has been in the upper 50s to lower 60s in the Winyah Bay area. Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters in Little River has focused on catching red drum this week and produced 17 for his customers on a Tuesday trip. “The fish are holding more in like a springtime pattern, not so much in shallow water,” said Dickson, who used mud minnows and Gulp swimming mullet to catch his fish in the Sunset Beach area.
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Look for | Black drum, sheepshead.
Comments | The exceptionally warm stretch of weather the past week significantly warmed the ocean water temperature and got some fish moving that aren’t normally caught along the beach in January – such as a 2-pound, 4 ounce red drum and a 4-pound, 13-ounce black drum landed off the Apache Pier. With reality setting back in with the return of winter weather, action will be very slow off Grand Strand piers in the coming days. The surface ocean water temperature at the 2nd Ave. Pier Thursday at 4:15 p.m. was 57.09 degrees, about 6 to 7 degrees above normal for this time of year. Conditions at Cherry Grove Pier were even warmer – 58.90 degrees – at the same time. The best option for inshore anglers in the Atlantic is sheepshead and black drum on the nearshore artificial reefs, such as Paradise Reef, Jim Caudle Reef and Pawleys Reef. Just remember, black sea bass cannot be harvested until June 1.
Look for | Wahoo, blackfin tuna, amberjack, triggerfish.
Comments | The conditions were as fine as on any spring day for crews that took off for the Gulf Stream vicinity last weekend, and the fishing was decent, too. Scattered catches of wahoo were reported along with blackfin tuna. The reality is, winter-time conditions will return to the offshore waters this weekend. Bottom fishing is virtually on hold until spring arrives in earnest with shallow-water grouper species including gag, red and scamp, closed for recreational anglers through April 30, vermilion snapper (beeliners) closed until April 1. Also, red snapper are closed indefinitely.
Look for | Bream, crappie, bass, catfish.
Comments | The honeymoon is over weather-wise, with the arrival of winter weather Friday. Still, winter fishing can be productive with both bream and crappie available in 8-10 feet of water. Bream, including morgans and shellcracker, are taking worms on the bottom while crappie are hitting floated minnows. Top areas are Ricefields, Bucksport, Bucksville and Yauhanna. Water level is up at the Punch Bowl vicinity on the Little Pee Dee. Catfish action is fair on fresh shad. Jay Booth of Fisherman’s Headquarters in Conway reports the commercial shad season is off to a slow start. Smitty Smith of Conway won the weekly bass tournament with a three-fish aggregate of 4.5 pounds at Bucksport. The next tournament will be held Saturday at Bucksport from safe light to 1 p.m.
By Gregg Holshouser, For The Sun News
Santee Cooper System | Striped Bass: Good. Capt. Jim Glenn reports that striper fishing is good in both lakes, with striper concentrated in and around large schools of baitfish. Bream and White Perch: Good. Capt. Steve English reports that bream and white perch are feeding well in the canal, with fish being caught in 25-28 feet of water on the bottom on worms and nightcrawlers. Catfish: Fair. Capt. Glenn reports that, like striper, blue catfish will also be found in and around concentrations of bait. Fish can be caught at anchor as well as slow drifting. Crappie: Slow to fair. Capt. English reports that on pretty days crappie can be caught shallow in the creeks in 6-12 feet of water. Largemouth bass: Slow. Capt. Glenn reports that largemouth bass fishing is slow most days, which is expected when water temperatures in the low 50s or lower, particularly in the upper part of the Santee Cooper system.