Outdoors

Area, State fishing report (September 14)

Estuary

Look for | Red drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, black drum, sheepshead, tarpon.

Comments | The big boys have moved in for the fall. Bull red drum are being caught around area jetties and channels near inlet passes on their autumn spawning mission. Red drum measuring from 35-45 inches are being landed but must be carefully released to help preserve the spawning stock for the future of the species. Anglers should beef up their tackle to quickly bring the reds to the boat and revive them before releasing them. South Carolina features a 15 to 23 inch slot limit on red drum and a 3-per person per day bag limit. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has had a big time catching and releasing the big reds this week. “They are coming in to spawn, they come in every year this time of year,” McDonald said. “We are interrupting their spawning pattern when we catch them, so we need to carefully release them.” On Tuesday, McDonald’s crew caught five of the bull reds, along with several small reds measuring 12 inches or under, plus 32 spotted seatrout, in Winyah Bay. The largest red caught and released by McDonald this week measured 44 inches and weighed 32 pounds. Also look for flounder, trout, sheepshead and black drum at area jetties.

Inshore

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

Comments | Maybe, just maybe this is the start of decent king mackerel fishing on the piers and along the beach this fall. Two kings were caught on Apache Pier on Wednesday, including a 31-pound, 1-ounce fish landed by Steve Pugh and a 15-pound, 8-ounce fish brought in by Don Christy. While catches vary from pier to pier, action has been good this week for pompano, spots, whiting, flounder, black drum and bluefish. Also look for Spanish mackerel, sheepshead and red drum off the piers. On inshore artificial reefs such as Paradise Reef (Three-Mile Reef) and Jim Caudle Reef look for Spanish mackerel, flounder, weakfish, spadefish and possibly kings and cobia. Anglers are reminded the recreational black sea bass fishery is closed until June 1, 2013. The surface ocean water temperature at Springmaid Pier was 80.84 degrees Thursday at 4 p.m.

Offshore

Look for | Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, sailfish, king mackerel, grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish, cobia.

Comments | Look for king mackerel in 50-80 feet of water with dolphin and sailfish also a distinct possibility. If weather permits, trolling near the Gulf Stream is producing good shots at dolphin and wahoo, with sailfish also in the mix. Anglers are reminded the recreational black sea bass fishery is closed until June 1, 2013. Bottom fishermen can expect to find plenty of options, though, including vermilion snapper, grouper, triggerfish, amberjack, porgy and banded rudderfish. This weekend, add genuine red snapper to the available species as a short recreational season for red snapper is on. Friday through Sunday and again Sept. 21-23 recreational anglers will be allowed to harvest one red snapper per person per day with no minimum size limit.

Freshwater

Look for | Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments | “It’s been a pretty good week this week, with the exception of the Punch Bowl area,” said Jay Booth of Fishermen’s Headquarters in Conway. Look for bream, morgans and shellcracker in 2-3 feet of water at the same top locations – Yauhannah, Samworth and Bucksport. Luke Cannon of Conway landed 21 bream Sunday at Bucksport. “I guess this little bit of cool weather has helped but the crappie have picked up on minnows and bass have picked up on shiners,” Booth said. “That’s encouraging.” Bass are also taking top-water lures while catfish action is fair on live bait, cut mullet and nightcrawlers. Kyle Johnson of Conway won the first annual Fish Five Classic out of Bucksport with 6.53 pounds for three bass including the big fish of 3.82 pounds. Johnson topped a field of 29 anglers to win the tournament. The regular weekly bass tournament will be held Saturday out of Conway Marina from safe light to 1 p.m.

By Gregg Holshouser, For The Sun News

State Fishing

Santee Cooper System | Catfish: Fair. Capt. Jim Glenn reports that there has been some improvement in daytime blue cat fishing over the last couple of weeks, and some folks are boating very nice fish both drifting and anchoring. Fish are scattered with some fish being found in the usual deep water for summer and some shallow. Overall fishing seems to be a little more productive in Lake Marion than the lower lake, and night time fishing has been limited due to frequent storms and wind. Largemouth bass: Slow. Capt. Jimmie Hair reports that bass fishing is very tough on Santee Cooper, and typically September is one of the slowest months of the year. Very little bass fishing is going on in the lakes and most clubs are fishing the Cooper River right now. By late September and October, fishing should improve and fish will make their way to the creeks.

S.C. DNR

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