Look For: Red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, sheepshead, tautog.
Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service fished south of Georgetown last Saturday and had good success with red drum. McDonald’s crew caught 17 reds on artificial grubs in 49 degree water, before the cold front moved through early this week. “I didn’t see any dead fish and I saw a lot of bait movement (small menhaden and mullet),” said McDonald, who noted the reds were found in shallow water on the banks “like they always are, waiting on the sun to help them out.” McDonald said the fish “fought real good” and weren’t lethargic. Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions fished Murrells Inlet on Wednesday, after the cold front, and had different results. “I saw plenty of reds and a few trout swimming around in that shallow water with the sun shining on them but they weren’t eating,” said Connolly. “I threw everything I had at them, (mud) minnows, dead shrimp, artificials. Every time I threw something at them, they swam off. The water’s so damn clear it makes it even harder.” Connolly noted a water temperature of 46-47 degrees. As a precautionary measure, the South Carolina DNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September. In North Carolina waters, spotted seatrout are closed to harvest for all fishermen, recreational and commercial, until June 15.
Look For: Sheepshead, black sea bass, black drum, tautog, weakfish, flounder, whiting, croaker.
Comments: Look for sheepshead on the near-shore artificial reefs, with fiddler crabs considered a prime bait. Chum with barnacles to enhance your chance at hooking into the tricky members of the porgy family. Also on the reefs look for black sea bass, with a 13-inch minimum size limit, and possibly tautog, weakfish and flounder. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters noted a water temperature of 48 degrees Saturday at Paradise Reef, located three miles east of the Murrells Inlet jetties. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports action is slow from the piers that are open, and in the surf zone. “If they get lucky, they might catch a little whiting,” said Wallace, who observed a water temperature of 46 degrees at the surface and bottom Thursday at noon.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, grouper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy, black sea bass, grunts.
Comments: Ocean Isle Fishing Center (OIFC.com) reported one week ago that a local crew led by Brad Wood had a super wahoo trip just inshore of the Same Ole Hole. Nate Horn was the angler on a monster wahoo weighing in at 102.3 pounds, plus the crew put three more wahoo weighing 77, 52 and 48 pounds on the deck. Three of the fish hit Ilander/ballyhoo combos and one took a Black Bart lure. A cold front roared through early this week to put a damper on offshore trips, but when conditions allow trolling action is good for wahoo, blackfin tuna plus a few dolphin and kings. Bottom fishing is also excellent when conditions permit for grouper, amberjack, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy, black sea bass and grunts. Be prepared to release some fish though. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect through April 30, the Greater amberjack fishery is closed to harvest for recreational anglers until March, and red snapper are closed indefinitely in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Look For: Bream, crappie, bass, catfish.
Comments: “Nobody’s going fishing, it’s been another dead week,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “There were some nice bass caught on Saturday but from Sunday on I haven’t heard the first thing.” As for the fish, “they’re deep,” Stalvey said. Look for bream hitting red worms and nightcrawlers on the bottom in 8 to 16 feet of water on the Waccamaw, Little Pee Dee and Great Pee Dee. Look for crappie in the same depths with fish hitting crappie minnows or jigs. Crankbaits, Texas-rigged worms and Shaky-Head worms are working for bass, Stalvey noted.
Gregg Holshouser: email@example.com