Estuary• Look For | Red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, black drum, sheepshead.
• Comments | Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown was after red drum on Thursday and found fish of all sizes. By mid-afternoon, McDonald’s crew had landed 12 reds ranging from one pound to a pair of 44-inch, 27-pound bull reds. McDonald floated shrimp in Spartina grass for smaller and slot reds, along with a few trout, and used cut mullet on the bottom in the channels for reds well over South Carolina’s slot limit of 15-23 inches. Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters in Little River has also been having a big time with reds, catching the bull reds at the jetties and smaller fish on the flats in the grass. “We’re still catching plenty of reds out there,” said Dickson, who has also caught keeper flounder this week. Anglers should very carefully release the large reds which represent the spawning stock and the future of the species. Kevin Perry of Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet has an answer to the big question for a bunch of anglers – are the spots here yet? “I’ve had a thousand calls but the spots are not in yet,” said Perry. “The most I’ve heard of (being caught) is 10. When we’ve got these 80 degree days, it’s not going to happen yet. It’s got to cool down.” Perry reports decent flounder action with a few large fish, plus reds at the jetties and in the creeks. Weakfish have also made a showing at the jetties and in the inlet.
Inshore• Look For | King and Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, pompano, flounder, black drum, sheepshead.
• Comments | With October here, there’s plenty of action on the inshore waters. Spanish and king mackerel are on the tail of schools of mullet migrating down the beach. Weakfish are gathering on near-shore hard-bottom areas and artificial reefs. Numbers of whiting are also up in the surf and on the near-shore hard-bottom areas. Spanish have provided the best action off Grand Strand piers this week, with some anglers catching limits of 15-fish per person (12 inch minimum size limit). Also look for whiting, pompano, red drum, black drum, flounder, croaker and spots off the piers. A little over a week ago on Sept. 25, Bill Gum caught a 24-pound, 6-ounce king mackerel and Kathy Snuffer landed a 20-pound, 5-ounce king, both off Apache Pier. A few days earlier, Snuffer caught a 23-pound, 11-ounce king. But last weekend, there were no kings landed in the Fall Pier King Tournament, held on piers along the Grand Strand from Garden City to Cherry Grove. The surface ocean water temperature at 2nd Ave. Pier in Myrtle Beach was still 77.71 degrees at 3:45 p.m. Thursday.
Offshore• Look For | Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, black sea bass, grouper, vermilion snapper, porgy, amberjack, triggerfish.
• Comments | Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center had an excellent trip on Wednesday, starting by catching some nice kings at Yaupon before moving offshore to the Steeples area. In all, the crew landed 11 of 20 wahoo with the fish caught ranging from 25 to 45 pounds. Further south on the same day, results weren’t as rosy for Capt. Shawn Thomas of Underdog out of Murrells Inlet. Thomas encountered cooler water and trolled 30 miles from the McMarlen Ledge to the Georgetown Hole, landing three blackfin tuna and losing two wahoo near the boat. Bottom fishing is excellent on ledges, hard-bottom areas and artificial reefs in 70 to over 100 feet of water. Look for black sea bass, grouper, vermilion snapper, porgy, triggerfish and amberjack but release any genuine red snapper caught. Red snapper must be released until further notice in the South Atlantic region.
Freshwater• Look For | Bream, catfish, bass.
• Comments | With the recent lack of rain, water levels have dropped considerably on local rivers especially on the Little Pee Dee. “The water has really fallen out a lot to where it’s really low on the Little Pee Dee,” said Jamie Dunn of Fisherman’s Headquarters in Conway. Dunn reports very good bream fishing using crickets and worms under floats in two feet of water or on the bottom a little deeper. Limits of bream, 30 per person per day, have been caught over the past week. Catfish action is good on a variety of live and cut bait, including eels. Action has been good from Bucksport to the Ricefields vicinity for both bream and catfish. Crappie are hitting minnows but action has slowed a bit with the warmer than normal weather of the last several days.