Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, ladyfish, bluefish, tarpon.
Comments: Local estuaries from Winyah Bay to Brunswick County, N.C., are producing scattered catches of a variety of fish. Finger mullet are abundant, and the bait of choice for flounder, red drum and spotted seatrout, but live or fresh cut shrimp are better bait choices for black drum. As Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions points out, blue crab chunks are a good bait option for red and black drum. Connolly’s crew caught 15 red drum in the 12-21 inch range in a two-hour period in Murrells Inlet Tuesday, mainly on live finger mullet or cut mullet. Connolly reported a water temperature of 84-85 degrees. Other species available include sheepshead, bluefish, ladyfish and a variety of sharks. Winyah Bay is home to tarpon in late summer, and the sizable sport fish are roaming the bay and jetties despite a heavy influx of freshwater from recent rains.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: Spadefish, flounder and black sea bass are the best bets on near-shore artificial reefs such as Jim Caudle Reef, Ron McManus Memorial Reef and Paradise Reef, but anglers should keep in mind that flounder have a 15-inch minimum size limit and black sea bass a 13-inch minimum size limit. Pelagic species roaming around the reefs include Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia, plus sharks of all sizes are on hand. Scattered catches of a variety of species are also coming in off Grand Strand piers. “They’re not killing them but they’re catching some fish,” said Moe Deets of The Pier at Garden City Thursday afternoon. Deets reports whiting, blues and pompano have been caught this week, with some keeper flounder and Spanish mackerel also landed. Look for king mackerel on live bottom areas in 40-60 feet of water.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, king mackerel, sailfish, barracuda, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: What happens when a “Catfish” leaves the river behind and heads offshore? In this case, the results were spectacular. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway joined fishing buddies Trey Jordan and Logan Estep aboard Jordan’s 22-foot Sea Pro Saturday and started by trolling in the Georgetown Hole vicinity and produced a king mackerel in the 20-pound range, two blackfin tuna and, to their surprise, a yellowfin tuna. Next, they ran back in to 110 feet of water and hit the bottom with cigar minnows and squid, and brought home four sizable scamp, black sea bass, triggerfish, red porgy, vermilion snapper and white grunts. The Conway crew liked it so much, they went back for more to the same bottom spot on Sunday. This time they landed three more scamp, one gag grouper, plus vermilion snapper, black sea bass, red porgy, triggerfish and white grunts, plus released five red snapper, including a 30-incher. The red snapper releases bode well for this weekend when recreational anglers can harvest one red snapper per person with no size limit on Friday,Saturday and Sunday. The mini-red snapper season concludes with the same limits next weekend (Aug. 17-19). The Sea-Batical out of Murrells Inlet caught five wahoo in 180 feet of water Sunday, which is a good sign for this weekend’s Georgetown Wahoo Challenge. The tournament will be held out of Georgetown Landing Marina with competing boats able to fish one day, Friday or Saturday.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: The rivers are undoubtedly high, especially the Great Pee Dee and the Waccamaw, but Stalvey says good fish are being caught. “The weather’s beautiful, they need to get out there,” said Stalvey. “The Waccamaw is pretty high but it’s still making a good tide. I think everything is about to get back on track.” What is Stalvey’s current best bet for bream? “I’d tell ‘em to go to the Little Pee Dee and use crickets, worms, beetle spins and popping bugs,” said Stalvey. “People going there are doing that and catching some nice fish.” Bass action continues to be solid despite the high water. “They’re still pulling up some nice bass, fishing in the trees, back creeks and ditch mouths on top-water,” Stalvey said. The Waccamaw near Conway was near crest at 9.63 feet at 2:15 p.m. Thursday while the Little Pee Dee near Galivants Ferry was near crest, at 6.52 feet at 2 p.m. Thursday.