Look For: Red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, flounder, sheepshead, spots.
Comments: If the fish weighed in during the inaugural Inshore Slam and Festival last Saturday out of Cricket Cove Marina is any indication, fishing in local inlets, sounds, bays and creeks is excellent. Clay Morphus was the big winner in the 46-boat field, claiming the aggregate category of largest redfish, trout and flounder with 12.56 pounds. Morphus also weighed in the largest spotted seatrout, a 4.74-pounder. Capt. Curtis Smith of Carolina Girl weighed in the largest redfish, a 5.41-pounder while Dean Spatholt of Fishmeister weighed in the largest flounder, a 5.41-pounder. In particular, trout fishing has been excellent in local estuaries. “It seems like (trout fishing) is in full swing,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters, one of the sponsors of the tournament. “Floating live shrimp is the preferred method, and Vudu shrimp are working also.” Ronald ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway reports catches of spots was excellent in Murrells Inlet Monday through Wednesday. Bull reds 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.
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Look For: King mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum, sheepshead and red drum.
Comments: All was lovely early this week until the cold front roared into the area on Wednesday, putting a chill on fishing activity. Prior to the front, king mackerel action was excellent in mid-range areas such as Belky Bear and The Jungle. The ocean water temperature was still in the upper 60s on Thursday afternoon, so the kings should still be around when conditions stabilize late in the weekend. The near-shore hard-bottom areas should continue to produce weakfish, black sea bass, whiting and bull reds, plus a few flounder. Look for black sea bass, weakfish, flounder and tautog at the near-shore artificial reefs. Scott Skrzydlinski of the Cherry Grove Pier reports whiting, croaker, red drum, black drum and a few spots have been caught this week. The ocean water temperature topped out at 71 degrees on Tuesday, but by 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon had dropped to 67 degrees, surface and bottom.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, grouper, red snapper, amberjack, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy, black sea bass.
Comments: We are right in the middle of the red snapper mini-season, consisting of three days of fishing for two consecutive weekends, Friday through Sunday. Last weekend, Friday (Nov. 3) easily offered the best sea conditions, and numerous boats made it out to ledges in 90-plus feet of water to try to catch a genuine red snapper, as they're called locally. Most boats were able to harvest at least one, including some big sows in the 15-25 pound range. The limit is one red snapper per person per day with no minimum size limit, but they appear to be off the hook this weekend, Friday through Sunday, thanks to the cold front. Rough seas will mean very little, if any, fishing in the offshore waters. By the time the seas calm back down, the red snapper mini-season will be over and the species will be off-limits indefinitely. When sea conditions permit, bottom fishing is excellent for red snapper, amberjack, grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, porgy and white grunts. Greater amberjack was closed to harvest for recreational anglers on Oct. 31 and will remained closed until March 2018. Also, cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released. Before the cold front arrived on Wednesday, trolling was excellent for wahoo, with blackfin tuna also available.
Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie.
Comments: “Prior to today, it’s been very good,” ‘Catfish’ Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle said on a rainy Thursday afternoon. With autumn arriving in earnest, the crappie bite has turned on nicely. “I’d target creeks, lakes, lay downs, with some type of structure they like to school up around,” said Stalvey, who said crappie are hitting medium crappie minnows and jigs. Bream are hitting floated crickets and worms (throw lines) and worms bumped along the bottom (lead lines) in 3-6 feet of water. Stalvey noted it took a five-fish limit of over 15 pounds to win a local bass tournament over the past week. Stalvey reports bass are hitting jerk baits, crank baits and Texas-rigged worms. Catfish are hitting eels, bream and any cut bait, including mullet.