Look For: Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments: Despite a water temperature that is way warm for mid-October, Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has had a productive week catching spotted seatrout in the Winyah Bay area. On Wednesday, McDonald produced 20 trout along with two red drum using various artificial grubs on jig heads. At 8 a.m. Thursday, McDonald’s crew had already landed four trout and two flounder on grubs fishing in 78-degree water. “They're small but they’re fun,” said McDonald, noting most of the trout were in the 12- to 15-inch range. Black drum and red drum have provided the best action this week for Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River. “There are a lot of three-pound black drum about 18 inches and we’re catching slot-size reds in the creeks,” said Kelly. “The big (red) drum are at the inlet.” Trout action has been a little slow for Kelly with a water temperature of 77 degrees Thursday morning. “The water temperature is still up a bit and the trout haven’t reacted like they should,” said Kelly. As Kelly mentioned, bull red drum can be found at area jetties and along the channels of inlets such as Little River Inlet and Winyah Bay, along with near-shore hard-bottom spots in the Atlantic. Anglers are urged to catch these fish quickly with beefed up tackle and release them carefully, being sure they are revived before letting them go.
Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, spadefish, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, sheepshead and red drum.
Comments: Finally, sea conditions calmed down enough at midweek for boats to get out and check out the anticipated fall bite of king mackerel in the near-shore waters. They found out the bite was on fire. “It was crazy,” said Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet. Maples’ crew headed to Belky Bear, a hard-bottom area about 12 miles east of Murrells Inlet, where his crew of four caught a limit of 12 kings in two hours of fishing. “We couldn’t get any more than two to three lines in, they were just smoking it,” said Maples, who noted many of the kings were in the 15- to 20-pound range. Maples was trolling dead cigar minnows on King Chaos Skirts. King mackerel have a 24-inch minimum size limit and a three-per person daily bag limit. On near-shore hard-bottom areas bull red drum, weakfish and black sea bass are available for some fine fall action. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports good catches of whiting and croaker, plus a few mini-runs of spots, although the real run of the popular fall panfish has yet to get underway. Black drum, most under the 14- to 27-inch slot limit (three per person), have been caught, with a few keepers. Anglers continue to successfully jig for Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Also look for pompano, with a few unusual palometa caught this week. Wallace reported a water temperature of 77 degrees Thursday morning.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy, black sea bass, amberjack.
Comments: Jeff Martini and crew aboard Dirty Martini out of Little River trolled in the 100 to the Blackjack Hole vicinity for several hours on Wednesday, and wound up with only one barracuda. “It was dead, man – no flying fish, nothing,” said Martini. The crew resorted to bottom fishing and found a good bite of triggerfish and black sea bass in 90 feet of water. On better days, trolling will produce wahoo and blackfin tuna, plus a few dolphin. Bottom fishing should be fantastic in the fall with vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grouper and amberjack all available. Cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Also, red snapper must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.
Comments: The water temperature hasn’t cooled off at all for mid-October, but “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait & Tackle reports some anglers are going deeper for bream and crappie. “They’re fishing 2-6 feet deep – some are shallow, some are on the ledges,” said Stalvey. “A few guys are starting to lead-line a little bit in some of the holes.” The lead-liners are using worms for bream, although floated crickets will still catch fish. Crappie are hitting minnows. “There are a lot of small crappie but a few good ones too,” said Stalvey. “They're catching good, eating-size bream.” Catfish action is good as usual, with fish hitting eels, bream, shiners and cut mullet, among other cut bait. “There’s plenty of numbers out there,” Stalvey said of the catfish. Bass action has been good with trick worms and Bang O Lure working.