Estuary• Look For | Spotted seatrout, red drum, flounder, black drum, sheepshead.
• Comments | Another week, another dose of winter with little fishing going on. Red drum are grouped up in schools as is their winter norm but are lethargic with the cold water temperature, which is in the lower-to-mid 40s. The key for catching fish in these conditions is to work artificial baits very slow, just twitch it. Spotted seatrout are in survival mode. Fortunately a quick warm-up, just what trout and reds need, is again in store for next week. In South Carolina, spotted seatrout and red drum cannot be harvested by gig in the months of December, January and February. Anglers are reminded the spotted seatrout fishery has been closed in North Carolina until June 15 for both recreational and commercial fishermen.
Inshore• Look For | Black sea bass, sheepshead.
• Comments | The roller-coaster ride of the ocean water temperature continues and it is currently down, to a reading of 45.16 degrees at 2:45 p.m. Thursday at 2nd Ave. Pier. There have been some nice days and Sunday, before the winter storm arrived, was one of those. Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters took the opportunity that day to head to the Jim Caudle Reef, located three miles off Little River. Dickson and his wife, Laine, took home a two-person limit of black sea bass in the 13-15 inch range, using a bucktail jig tipped with various Gulp baits. Sheepshead are also available on the reefs. Black sea bass have a minimum size limit of 13 inches and 5 per person daily bag limit. Fishing is very slow on Grand Strand piers.
Offshore• Look For | Black sea bass, vermilion snapper, porgy, amberjack, triggerfish, wahoo, blackfin tuna.
• Comments | It’s been a rough last month or so on the offshore waters, but air temperatures in the 70s are in the forecast late next week. That may be a prime time to troll for wahoo and blackfin tuna. While out there, why not drop to the bottom for vermilion snapper, large black sea bass, grey triggerfish, porgy and amberjack. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure is in effect until April 30. Grouper species that must be released include, gag, black, red, scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin and yellowmouth. Red snapper must be released until further notice in the South Atlantic region.
Freshwater• Look For | Bream, crappie, catfish, bass.
• Comments | It’s been another frigid – even icy – week on local rivers. Jamie Dunn of Fisherman’s Headquarters in Conway did see a few bream that were caught on Monday before the foul weather moved in. The bream were landed in deep water on the bottom on worms. The water temperature in the Waccamaw River at Hagley Landing on Thursday was 43 to 44 degrees.