Outdoors

Area, state fishing report (July 20)

Estuary

Look For | Flounder, red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, sheepshead.

Comments | Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters has had success with a variety of species this week including red drum, black drum and flounder. Dickson has landed red drum at the Sunset Beach (N.C.) Bridge, reds, black drum and flounder at the Little River jetties and flounder in Tubbs Inlet. Dickson also reports a manatee was spotted on the Intracoastal Waterway near Sunset Beach this week. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service has caught red drum, spotted seatrout and flounder the last few days in the Winyah Bay vicinity. On Wednesday, McDonald produced 11 red drum which hit floated cut shrimp and on Thursday caught eight trout including three keepers along with a flounder and a ladyfish. Tom Craddock of Inlet Convenience and Fishing Supplies reports catches of flounder in Murrells Inlet have been “pretty decent with a lot of throwbacks but also some nice fish.” The Murrells Inlet jetties are producing red drum over the 15-23 inch slot limit while smaller fish are being landed in the creeks of the inlet. Look for sheepshead at all area jetties.

Inshore

Look For | Spanish mackerel, cobia, king mackerel, bluefish, whiting, flounder, black drum, pompano, sheepshead, weakfish, spadefish.

Comments | Connor Stone of Marlin Quay Marina reports Spanish mackerel action has been very good around the jetties and near the sea buoy at Murrells Inlet. Look for Spanish near all ocean passes, near inshore artificial reefs and hard-bottom areas and along the beach. Also look for flounder, spadefish, weakfish and possibly cobia and kings at the near-shore bottom spots. Nothing is red hot for anglers fishing off Grand Strand piers but a variety of species are a possibility including whiting, pompano, flounder, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black drum, red drum and even king mackerel or tarpon. A surprisingly large number of spots have been caught off the piers in recent days. The Pier at Garden City reports numerous small pompano caught in the last few days. The ocean water temperature was a warm 86.26 degrees at 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the Apache Pier data station.

Offshore

Look For | Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, billfish, yellowfin tuna, king mackerel, grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish, cobia.

Comments | Billfish action is excellent in the offshore waters, with sailfish leading the way and plenty of blue marlin encounters. Dolphin are the top meatfish for trolling boats, with blackfin tuna and a few wahoo mixed in. Ocean Isle (N.C.) Fishing Center reports kings have been found in 65 feet of water consistently this week, but the Tailwalker Offshore Challenge out of Georgetown Landing Marina has been postponed due to expected rough seas this weekend. The tournament has been moved to Aug. 10-11. Team OIFC/Toes Up finished eighth in the East Coast Got-Em-On Classic last weekend out of Carolina Beach, N.C., with a 33.15-pound king. Bottom fishing has tapered off a bit but is still good for black sea bass, vermilion snapper, grouper, triggerfish and amberjack. Also look for porgy, banded rudderfish and the occasional cobia. Red snapper are the only common reef species that currently cannot be harvested in South Atlantic waters.

Freshwater

Look For | Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments | “It’s been on the upswing, I’ve seen lot of nice fish this past week,” said Jay Booth of Fishermen’s Headquarters in Conway. “The bream bite has been really good this week – lot of big shellcracker. The water stayed up for about five weeks but since it came down fishing has been really good.” Bream action at the Punch Bowl vicinity near the confluence of the Great Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee rivers has been particularly good. Other top areas include Yauhannah, Samworth, Bucksport and Bucksville with fish hitting crickets and worms in 2-3 feet of water. Mickey Barfield of Conway had a limit of bream including several shellcracker over 1 pound on Saturday while Craig Parker of Conway landed 19 bream, both fishing near the Punch Bowl on Saturday. Catfish action is good on live and cut bait. Don McCloud of Conway won the Thursday bass tournament with one fish weighing 1.8 pounds. Tom Alexander of Conway won the Saturday bass tournament with 6.07 pounds for three fish with Danny Martin catching the big fish, a 2.3-pounder. The Saturday bass tournament will be held out of Conway Marina.

By Gregg Holshouser, For The Sun News

State fishing

Santee Cooper system | Catfish: Slow. Capt. Jim Glenn reports that, while there are exceptions, blue catfishing can be characterized as very slow most days and nights. Fish are scattered, and the few active fish that have been caught are coming from shallow water as well as water down to 30 feet by anglers using both anchoring and drifting techniques. Decent numbers of channel cats have been caught recently in deeper water by anglers drifting with cut bait, and some catches have been reported in shallow water on commercially prepared baits as well as cut baits. Fish range from one pound to around 8 pounds, with smaller fish generally being caught on prepared baits and larger ones coming on prepared baits and cut baits. Crappie: Good. Capt. Steve English reports that crappie have more or less moved into a traditional summer pattern and can be found around mid-depth brush piles. Fishing minnows and jigs around brush in 10-15 feet of water has been the best pattern. Larger fish are being caught in the lower lake, but the numbers are better in the upper lake. Bream: Good. Captain Steve English reports that bream beds are apparent in the shallows on Lake Marion, and around the full moon he expects to see tons of bream bedding. Bream and shellcracker can both be caught in the upper lake fishing worms and crickets around shallow cover. Largemouth bass: Slow to fair. Capt. Jimmie Hair reports that bass fishing has been pretty tough on Santee Cooper, but anglers are starting to catch fish in the eel grass. It’s important to cover a lot of water, but fish can be ganged up once they are located. The best baits have been fluke-type baits and particularly the Gambler Super Stud fished with a light belly weight in watermelon seed color. The bite in the cypress trees is below average for this time of year, but some fish can still be caught there. Finally, in the lower lake fishing small worms on a Carolina rig in 10-14 feet of water around stump fields and drop offs will catch fish.

S.C. DNR

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