Estuary• Look for | Red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, sheepshead.
• Comments | Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service had a trip on Tuesday in the Winyah Bay vicinity, amid windy conditions and following recent rains. It wasn’t pretty. “It was muddy everywhere I went,” said McDonald. “There’s still a lot of freshwater coming down the rivers, even though the Santee is down from flood stage.” McDonald and crew caught one red drum. McDonald also noted water temperature readings of 51 degrees near the ocean and 48 degrees in the Intracoastal Waterway – colder in early March than in late January. Tom Craddock of Inlet Convenience and Fishing Supplies in Murrells Inlet is waiting for better weather days. “There’s not much of anything going on,” said Craddock. “You’ve got to have good weather to get out there.” Craddock suggests targeting sheepshead and black drum at the jetties and trout and flounder in deep holes.
Inshore• Look for | Black drum, sheepshead, croaker.
• Comments | Winter has been hanging around with a vengeance this week thanks in large part to high winds and cold temperatures stirred up by Winter Storm Saturn. Action is very slow on Grand Strand piers. Look for black drum and sheepshead on near-shore artificial reefs such as Jim Caudle and Paradise (Three-Mile). Black sea bass can’t be harvested by recreational anglers until June 1. Surface ocean water temperature was 50.70 degrees Thursday at 6:15 p.m. at 2nd Ave. Pier.
Offshore• Look for | Wahoo, blackfin tuna, amberjack, triggerfish.
• Comments | The wind is forecast to turn to the east late this weekend, which bodes well for any anglers interested in making the trek offshore to troll for wahoo, and possibly blackfin tuna. Aside from wahoo, bottom fishing is still restricted by numerous closures. Black sea bass are closed until June 1, shallow-water grouper species including gag, red and scamp among others, are closed until May 1 and vermilion snapper (beeliners) are closed until April 1. Also, red snapper are closed indefinitely. Amberjack, triggerfish, porgy and banded rudderfish are among the main species bottom-fishing anglers can keep.
Freshwater• Look for | Bream, crappie, bass, catfish.
Comments | Conditions are looking better on the rivers with a more favorable forecast in store for the weekend, although the water is in the woods. Bream, on crickets, and crappie, on minnows, are active in 8-10 feet of water in areas such as Samworth, Bucksport, Yauhannah and Conway. Tom Alexander won the weekly bass tournament with a two-fish aggregate of 6.8 pounds including a nice 5.5-pound lunker. The tournament will be held Saturday at Conway Marina from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
By Gregg Holshouser, For The Sun News
State fishing• Santee Cooper System | Largemouth bass: Slow. Fishing is tough, but there are signs of improvement. The best pattern has been finding the usual spawning areas and using crankbaits. Catfish: Slow. Very inconsistent on the lakes with one day catching fish and another being a bust. Captain Jim Glenn reports shad are beginning to show up in the tailrace area, especially when they are generating power.