Look For: Flounder, spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, sheepshead, bluefish.
Comments: It’s been a week full of dodging rain showers for anglers fishing the bays, inlets and sounds from Georgetown to Brunswick County, N.C., with a significant cool-down the last few days. The temperatures Thursday morning were in the upper 50s, a real rarity for the second week in June, with a north-northeast wind at 15-25 mph to boot. “I’m still trying to thaw out,” said Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters after a Thursday morning trip in Murrells Inlet. “With the wind and moisture, that’s what was so bad.” Maples fishes the near-shore waters in the ocean when conditions permit, but on this day stayed in the inlet, caught two short flounder and then ended the trip short on request of his customers. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Charters in Little River has had solid success with spotted seatrout, red drum and black drum despite the rain this week. Kelly has used cut mullet for the red drum and shrimp for the black drum. Kelly noted the water temperature had dropped to 74 as of midday Thursday. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had marginal catches of red drum, spotted seatrout and black drum on Tuesday in the Winyah Bay vicinity using mud minnows, shrimp and cut menhaden for bait. McDonald noted a water temperature of 78 degrees Tuesday before the cold front arrived.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: The windy, rainy stretch has kept most boats off the inshore waters, but the action Maples found before the front last Sunday gives an idea of what’s in store once conditions return to normal in a few days. First, Maples limited out on king mackerel and added a 4.4-pound Spanish mackerel at Belky Bear, a bottom spot about 12 miles offshore. With some time still left on the trip, Maples found jelly balls and deployed them at Paradise Reef, where his crew caught spadefish on the jelly balls plus flounder and weakfish on the bottom. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports anglers had a good day Wednesday in the rain catching Spanish mackerel and bluefish, including some large ones, by jigging mackerel trees and casting Gotcha plugs. Anglers fishing on the bottom at the pier have caught whiting, a few spots, small black drum and one large red drum. Wallace noted a cooler water temperature of 75 degrees on the surface and 76 on the bottom. Cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: The rainy, stormy weather has kept most boats from venturing offshore this week, and the north wind that kicked in Thursday morning produced a gale warning. Conditions were set to improve starting Saturday, with a favorable east-southeast wind in the forecast. Dolphin are still the best bet for trolling boats, although numbers of fish caught has slowed overall of late. Blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish and barracuda are also in the trolling mix. Bottom fishing is very good for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack, especially in depths of 90-plus feet. Scamp are the most common grouper species being caught, with gag and red grouper also available. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region. Cobia cannot be harvested in 2017 in South Carolina waters (to three miles offshore) or federal waters (beyond three miles) and must be released.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: Despite an overload of rain from Monday through Wednesday, the river levels are still in decent shape. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was at 6.48 feet at 1 p.m. Thursday while the Waccamaw at Conway was at 8.6 feet. Both rivers were forecast to slowly recede. “Fishing’s still great,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. One of Stalvey’s customers caught a limit of bream – bluegill with four shellcracker – on the Little Pee Dee on a rainy Wednesday. The fish were caught on worms in four feet of water. In general, look for bream in 2-4 feet of water hitting crickets and worms. “Bass have been biting good still and there’s a lot of catfish being caught,” said Stalvey.
Gregg Holshouser: email@example.com