Look For: Spotted seatrout, flounder, black drum, red drum, sheepshead, tarpon.
Comments: The consensus from Georgetown’s Winyah Bay northward to Little River is the estuaries are loaded with mullet, along with menhaden. “Mullet are everywhere,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River. Kelly has used finger mullet to catch flounder and red drum, with the reds, in the 15-28 inch range, being landed along grass banks and docks. Spotted seatrout are also available, hitting topwater lures in the early morning and then live shrimp on popping corks. “On the topwater, use anything that looks like a mullet,” said Kelly. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service went on a fun-fishing trip on Tuesday and caught five reds plus a four-pound sheepshead in Winyah Bay. McDonald caught the fish while floating cut shrimp and noted a water temperature of 79-80 degrees. “I’ve had a few guys reporting catching a Creek Slam (flounder, trout, red drum), but just a few of everything,” said Jessica Perry of Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet. Perry also noted more keeper black drum are being caught in the inlet. Bull red drum are beginning to make their autumn appearance at area jetties. 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. These spawner fish, ranging from 30 to 45 inches in size, represent the red drum’s future in South Carolina waters and should be handled delicately to ensure their survival.
Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, whiting, flounder, weakfish, black sea bass, spadefish, pompano, black drum, spots.
Comments: “The bait is starting to really run down the beach now,” said Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters in Murrells Inlet. “It’s got to be about time for everything to explode. You can’t have this much baitfish around without all those big Spanish and kings coming after them.” As for this week, Maples says that most action has been found closer to the beach, especially for Spanish and bluefish. Spanish, blues and whiting are the best bet on Grand Strand piers, with flounder, pompano, croaker, weakfish, black drum and possibly spots also available. At the near-shore reefs such as Paradise Reef and Jim Caudle Reef, look for Spanish, blues, spadefish, weakfish, flounder, black sea bass and plenty of sharks. Weakfish have been showing up on near-shore hard-bottom areas, along with a few bull reds. A new recreational daily bag limit is in effect for black sea bass. The limit is now 7 fish per person per day, which went into effect on Aug. 12. The ocean water temperature at Springmaid Pier was 82.2 degrees at 4:48 p.m. Thursday.
Look For: Grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, porgy, triggerfish, grunts, amberjack, wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, sailfish.
Comments: Tropical Storm Hermine really blew up the offshore waters a week ago, and not many boats have been out this week. Look for bottom fishing to be very good for grouper, amberjack, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, porgy and triggerfish. Wahoo and king mackerel are providing the most action for trolling boats, with dolphin, blackfin tuna, barracuda, bonito and sailfish also available. A new recreational daily bag limit is in effect for black sea bass. The limit is now 7 fish per person per day, which went into effect on Aug. 12. Red snapper are off-limits in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Look For: Bream, catfish, bass.
Comments: Hermine certainly dumped plenty of rain on the coastal plain last Friday, but the area was very dry before the storm and much of the rain fell close enough to the beach for it to be quickly flushed out to sea. In short, the river levels have not risen as high as homeowners and fishermen had feared. “The Waccamaw and the Little Pee Dee came up a good bit but the Big Pee Dee has already fallen three feet in the last two days,” said “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway on Thursday. “I think the water’s going to get out of here quick. The people that know how to fish and know where to find them when the water’s high are doing well.” Stalvey suggests fishing from bream in 4-8 feet of water, or bumping the bait off the bottom. If fishing the banks, Stalvey says to use beetle spins or popping bugs, which can produce larger fish. Stalvey says catfish catches are good on eels and live bream. The Waccamaw River at Conway was at 8.39 feet at Conway at 4:15 p.m. Thursday. The Little Pee Dee River at Galivants Ferry was at 7.89 feet Thursday at 5 p.m.