Area, state fishing report (September 21)


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

Comments | Action has been very good inside Murrells Inlet at times this week, with red drum from 15 to 30 inches found on grass banks and oyster bars and good numbers of flounder available. Spotted seatrout have also made a nice showing. Plenty of sizable bluefish in the 2-4 pound range have infiltrated the creeks. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a super day on Sunday in Winyah Bay, landing three large red drum in the 40-inch range plus a 14-pounder caught on a top-water lure. For good measure, McDonald’s crew caught 36 trout on artificial grubs. The large reds were caught on cut mullet. The large bull reds are available at all area jetties and ocean passes and measure well over South Carolina’s 15 to 23 inch slot limit. Anglers should catch the reds as quickly as possible and revive them before releasing them.


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

Comments | More king mackerel have been landed off Grand Strand piers over the last week including a 23-pound, 6-ounce king caught by Dave Thompkins off Apache Pier Sunday and a 16-14 king landed by Andrea Garcia off Cherry Grove Pier Saturday. Overall, fishing has been good on the piers with whiting, black drum, pompano, flounder, Spanish mackerel and bluefish leading the way. Other species landed this week include red drum, sheepshead and spadefish. Apache Pier will stage a king mackerel tournament on September 29 with a $20 entry fee. Area nearshore artificial reefs are producing Spanish mackerel, flounder, weakfish and spadefish. King mackerel and cobia may also be in the neighborhood. Anglers are reminded the recreational black sea bass fishery is closed until June 1, 2013. The surface ocean water temperature at 2nd Ave. Pier was 80.18 degrees Thursday at 3 p.m.


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

Comments | Friday through Sunday recreational anglers are allowed to harvest one red snapper per person per day with no minimum size limit but then the fishery will be shut down again indefinitely. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources wants the carcasses of any red snapper caught this week for biological information. By providing data on any red snapper caught, anglers are contributing to the agency’s understanding of the current condition of the stock and long-term sustainability of the fishery. Anglers may donate their carcasses to the S.C. DNR by dropping them off at Fish On Outfitters in Cherry Grove, Harrelson's Seafood Market in Murrells Inlet or Georgetown Landing Marina in Georgetown. Other than red snapper, best catches on bottom fishing trips include vermilion snapper, grouper, triggerfish and amberjack. Trolling boats can find a mix of dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel and sailfish.


Look for | Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments | “The fall fishing season has basically gotten off to a good start on the river,” said Jay Booth of Fishermen’s Headquarters in Conway. “It’s been a real good week. The crappie bite has really picked up on minnows.” Best areas including the Punch Bowl vicinity, Yauhannah, Samworth and Bucksport. Look for bream hitting crickets and worms in 2-3 feet of water. Crappie are a little deeper and can be found around structure such as brush piles. Craig Parker of Conway landed 10 crappie on the Little Pee Dee including several fish over a pound. Crappie have a 8-inch minimum size limit and daily bag limit of 20 fish. L.G. Todd of Conway caught a 30-fish limit of shellcracker and bream in the Ricefields vicinity Saturday. Bob Causey of Conway had a mix of largemouth bass, morgans, bream and catfish caught on worms fishing in 2 feet of water at Bucksport Wednesday afternoon. Shawn Taggert of Conway won the weekly bass tournament out of Conway Marina with a three-fish aggregate of 6.33 pounds. The next tournament will be held out of Conway Marina Saturday from safe light to 1 p.m.

By Gregg Holshouser, For The Sun News

State Fishing

Santee Cooper System | Crappie: Good to very good. Capt. Steve English reports that crappie fishing has been strong and fish are really ganged up on brushpiles. Fish are suspended in 7-18 feet of water around the tops of brushpiles in approximately 15-28 feet of water. Generally fish are about to 8-10 feet off the bottom (at the top of the brush) and they will usually eat minnows. Recently the upper lake has been better producing than the lower lake with white crappie in the upper lake concentrated in tight schools. Bream: Good. Capt. English reports that the better bream are starting to leave the shallows and grouping up on mid-depth brush piles. As temperatures continue to cool, almost all of the better fish will be around brush where they can be caught on crickets.