Outdoors

Area, State fishing report (Oct. 5)

Estuary

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

Comments | All three Carolina Slam species – red drum, spotted seatrout and flounder - are biting well in local estuaries as the calendar turns to October. Look for bull reds at local jetties and near inlet passes with smaller fish in the 14-30 inch range in the creeks around grass banks and oyster bars. Trout can be found in depths of about 3-8 feet of water. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown produced 17 trout and six flounder on Tuesday and had caught five reds and three flounder as of mid-morning Thursday. McDonald reported a water temperature of 79 degrees in North Inlet Thursday morning. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Charters has caught trout in the ICW on DOA shrimp, live shrimp on popping corks and Gulp’s swimming mullet. Kelly has also landed flounder this week including a six-pounder on a swimming mullet. Jackie Pusser of Perry’s Bait and Tackle reports a six-pound flounder was also landed in Murrells Inlet with trout hitting live shrimp. Catches of spots have started to pick up a bit but no major run has occurred yet. “When we get that little cool front next week, maybe that will get them turned on,” Pusser said.

Inshore

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

Comments | Catches of king mackerel have picked up on Grand Strand piers over the last week with the Cherry Grove Pier producing five kings last Friday topped by a 25-pound, 10-ounce fish. A 24-pound, 9-ounce king was also caught off Apache Pier last Friday. Other species to target off the piers include whiting, pompano, black drum, sheepshead, flounder, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and spots. Catches of spots have been sporadic with no major runs yet. The bite of king mackerel along the beach and at near-shore bottom spots has picked up nicely over the last week. Look for Spanish mackerel, flounder, weakfish and spadefish on near-shore artificial reefs such as Paradise Reef (Three-Mile Reef) and Jim Caudle Reef plus kings and cobia. Anglers should note the recreational black sea bass fishery is closed until June 1, 2013. The surface ocean water temperature at Apache Pier was 79.02 degrees Thursday at 11 a.m.

Offshore

Look for | Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, king mackerel, sailfish, grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish.

Comments | Now is the time to book your fall offshore charter, as wahoo and blackfin tuna action is very good with dolphin, king mackerel, sailfish and possibly blue marlin also available in the blue water. Bottom fishing also continues to be very good for vermilion snapper, grouper, triggerfish, porgy and amberjack.

Freshwater

Look for | Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments | “It’s status quo – the fish are really biting,” said Jay Booth of Fishermen’s Headquarters. Bream are still in 2-3 feet of water and are hitting crickets and worms in areas such as the Punch Bowl, Yauhannah, Samworth and Bucksport. Booth doesn’t expect the cool weather coming at the end of the weekend to move the panfish. “I still don’t think [the coming cool snap] will back them off much,” Booth said, “But I expect the crappie bite to really pick up with the cooler weather.” Booth noted a water temperature reading of 77 degrees on the Great Pee Dee at Yauhannah on Tuesday. Crappie action is fair to good on minnows while the bass bite is fair to good on white/black buzz baits. Catfish action is picking up, with Booth noting flatheads weighing 35 and 22 pounds have been caught this week. The weekly bass tournament will be held Saturday from safe light to 2 p.m. at Bucksport Marina.

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 better than the lower lake with white crappie in the upper lake concentrated in tight schools. Largemouth bass: Slow. Capt. Jimmie Hair reports that bass fishing is very tough on Santee Cooper. As temperatures cool October fishing should improve and fish will make their way to the creeks. Catfish: Slow to fair. Capt. Jim Glenn reports that there is no real productive Santee Cooper catfish pattern to fish most of the time, and cooling water temperatures will have fish scattered until later in the winter. Quality catchable fish are not being caught with any regularity right now, but just recently Lake Marion seems to be producing slightly better numbers of quality fish. There is some indication – smaller fish showing up – that there have been a couple of successful spawns in the recent past. Channel catfish are being caught fairly frequently and can be found in a wide range of depths.

S.C. DNR

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