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Grand Strand Fishing Report: Wahoo action picking up in offshore waters

Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service handles a shark at boat side earlier this week during a trip in Winyah Bay in Georgetown.
Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service handles a shark at boat side earlier this week during a trip in Winyah Bay in Georgetown. Photo courtesy Gul-R-Boy Guide Service

Estuary

Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, ladyfish, bluefish, tarpon.

Comments: It’s been a good week for Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service, plying the waters of Georgetown’s Winyay Bay. On Tuesday, McDonald’s crew had shark fishing on the brain and they caught and released nine in the five-foot range. A nice range of species showed up including sandbar, lemon and bull sharks. Plus, they caught another bull, a bull red, or as McDonald calls them, channel bass. On Wednesday, his party reeled in a total of 16-17 red drum, or as McDonald calls them, spottails. They also caught 12 flounder, a few spotted seatrout, two juvenile cobia and one weakfish. “That was a pretty good day,” said McDonald. It’s tarpon season, but there is plenty of muddy water flowing into the bay. Near the Winyah Bay jetties may currently be the spot to find the tarpon. “I was catching menhaden in the ocean and there were tarpon feeding on them just outside the breakers of the bay,” said McDonald. Further north, in Murrells Inlet, it’s been a good flounder week. “The flounder bite in the creek has been real hot,” said Chris Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina.

Inshore

Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.

Comments: The near-shore reefs in the 3-15 mile range have been productive this week. “The king and flounder bite has been awesome from Paradise (Reef) to Belky Bear,” said Lawhon. “The Spanish have been thick at the Three Mile (Paradise Reef), which is good for the tournament this weekend.” Lawhon was speaking of the Spanish Mackerel Derby out of the Mullet Hut on the Marshwalk. For more information, call Robert Thompson at 843-602-0910. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet had a nice catch of kings, Spanish and sharks on a Thursday morning trip to Paradise Reef. Also look for flounder, spadefish, black sea bass and weakfish on the reefs. Morgan Marohl of the Cherry Grove Pier reports Spanish, bluefish, whiting, croaker, black drum and red drum have been caught this week. Marohl noted a water temperature of 86 degrees Wednesday afternoon.

Offshore

Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, king mackerel, sailfish, barracuda, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: Late summer wahoo action is getting cranked up in the offshore waters along the break from the Georgetown Hole to the Winyah Scarp to the Black Jack Hole. “The wahoo bite is just now starting to turn on,” said Lawhon. “There are some fish 40-50 pounds. You can expect 3-5 fish per trip, 20-40 pounds. It’s coming.” Look for blackfin tuna, kings, barracuda and a few dolphin to also show up in the trolling spreads. The 2018 red snapper season in the South Atlantic Region has come and gone, but bottom fishing continues to be excellent. Grouper, particularly scamp, amberjack, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, red porgy and white grunts are all being caught on bottom trips in 90-120 feet of water. Red snapper are, of course, still around but again must be released until the 2019 red snapper season, if there is one.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: The rivers are receding and excellent late summer fishing is on the horizon. “All the rivers are falling good, by next week everything will be picture perfect,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Right now, bass and bream are at ditch mouths and pockets off the side of the main river.” Bream are hitting the old standbys, crickets and worms. “Buzz baits, frogs, Senkos or any kind of soft-plastic Texas-rigged has been the go-to (baits for bass) this week,” said Stalvey. “I’ve had many a limit of bream caught this week.” A variety of baits will work for catfish but bream and fresh cut eel are primo baits.

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