May 2, 2013

Outdoors column: king mackerels caught off Apache Pier

The spring of 2013 has been one to forget thus far, with windy, cool weather and below-average water temperatures being the rule.

The spring of 2013 has been one to forget thus far, with windy, cool weather and below-average water temperatures being the rule.

But May has arrived and, from all appearances, so have the fish.

On Wednesday, angler Lisa Austin of Myrtle Beach ushered in May by personally landing a pair of king mackerel off the Apache Pier – a 22-pounder caught early in the morning and a 16-pounder caught late in the afternoon. Austin landed the two kings despite fishing during a day that offered a stout northeasterly wind that had the water along the beach churned up.

“That was a freak of nature I think,” said Austin Thursday afternoon. “It was terrible [conditions] – windy, cold, damp, a little sprinkle here and there. But when I caught that first one, it made the day.”

It didn’t take long for the first king to wind up on the deck. Austin, fishing with her husband, Lee, hooked up with the first king just after 7 a.m. Steve Pugh did the gaffing honors, hauling the 22-pounder up to the pier at 7:40 a.m.

Long after the celebration of the first king caught off a Grand Strand pier in 2013 waned, Austin hooked up again. This time the king was gaffed by Jeff Bird and the 16-pounder was pulled onto the deck of the pier at 5 p.m.

Austin used bluefish in the 6-inch range as bait for both kings.

In addition, Spanish mackerel have been caught off a number of Grand Strand piers this week, further signaling the arrival of the pelagic species for the warm-weather fishing season.

GSSWAA Spring Flounder Tournament

Angler Robert Brewer, a part-time resident of Litchfield Beach, has solid testimony that it ain’t over til it’s over when it comes to competing in a fishing tournament.

Brewer and fishing partner Jim Maass, also a part-time Litchfield resident, had trolled mud minnows around Murrells Inlet all day Saturday during the 12th annual Spring Flounder Tournament, staged by the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers Association, with about a 16-inch flounder the largest to show for their efforts. With the deadline looming, the duo headed back to the weigh-in, which required participants to be in line by 5 p.m. at the inlet’s public boat ramp.

As they approached Crazy Sister Marina within about a 1/4-mile from the ramp, the duo still had their lines still in the water. Brewer noticed a fish on his rod and a few minutes later, at 4:37 p.m. to be exact, they netted what wound up being the winning fish, a 3.9-pounder that measured 21 ½ inches.

“We were kind of trolling home to call it a day,” said Brewer, who earned the top prize of $1,500 for the flounder. “Fish to the end is all I got to say. It was a very nice surprise. I give Jim credit as captain of the boat.”

Charles Gambler finished second with a 2.75-pound, 20 ¼-inch flounder to earn $500. Brad Eddy and Jeff Heise tied for third with a 2.55-pounder and Albert Stutts was fifth with a 2.3-pounder.

Bill Blakely won the three-fish aggregate award and $500 with 5.35 pounds. Allen Parker won the Youth Division with a 1.60-pounder. A total of 184 anglers participated in the tournament, including 14 youth anglers, with 102 flounder weighed in.

Tournaments Postponed

The windy weather has continued to play havoc with a pair of local offshore tournaments – the 5th annual Georgetown Meatfish Slam and the Crazy Sister Offshore Challenge. Both events targeting wahoo, dolphin and tuna were set to be held this weekend but have been postponed until the weekend of May 17-19.

“We’ve had a tough spring with the weather,” said John Horton, General Manager of Georgetown Landing Marina. “I hope we’re putting in all our dues now for the season.”

The Georgetown tournament will be held out of Georgetown Landing Marina May 17-18 (Friday-Saturday). Boats can fish one of the two days, Captains Choice. Proceeds go to Kids’ Chance of South Carolina. For more information, call 546-1776.

The Crazy Sister Offshore Challenge has been postponed for three straight weekends and has been rescheduled for May 18-19 (Saturday-Sunday) out of Crazy Sister Marina in Murrells Inlet. Boats can fish one of the two days, Captains Choice. For more information, call 995-7446.

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