Grand Strand Fishing Report: Last chance for anglers to keep this popular fish in ’18

A young angler displays a red snapper caught last weekend while fishing with Aces Up Fishing and Capt. Jay Sconyers out of Murrells Inlet. The 2018 red snapper mini-season continues this weekend, Friday through Sunday.
A young angler displays a red snapper caught last weekend while fishing with Aces Up Fishing and Capt. Jay Sconyers out of Murrells Inlet. The 2018 red snapper mini-season continues this weekend, Friday through Sunday.


Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, ladyfish, bluefish, tarpon.

Comments: Flounder are the best bet in local estuaries with live finger mullet currently the prime bait. Fish the dropoffs along the banks, and don’t be surprised to also catch red drum or spotted seatrout on the finger mullet. Live or fresh cut shrimp is the prime bait for black drum. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has hooked up with plenty of reds this week, but he has either caught dink reds in the 12-inch range or bull reds well over the 15-23 inch slot limit. McDonald has used live finger mullet in Winyah Bay, North Inlet and areas south of Georgetown, and has also caught flounder and ladyfish. Tarpon are available in Winyah Bay and the Santee Delta region south of Georgetown.


Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.

Comments: The flounder bite is good on near-shore artificial reefs such as Jim Caudle Reef, Ron McManus Memorial Reef and Paradise Reef, with spadefish and black sea bass also available. Live finger mullet are a choice bait for flounder, but anglers should keep in mind the minimum size limits of 15 inches for flounder and 13 inches for black sea bass. Always be ready for pelagic species like Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia to show up while fishing the reefs. Moe Deets of The Pier at Garden City reports an angler caught four pompano include two sizable ones Thursday. Deets notes whiting, croaker and Spanish mackerel have also been landed this week. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports whiting, croaker, spadefish, ribbonfish and a few Spanish have been caught this week despite muddy water conditions. The ocean water temperature at the pier was 85 degrees.


Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, king mackerel, sailfish, barracuda, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.

Comments: We’re right smack in the middle of the 2018 red snapper season in the South Atlantic Region. This weekend, Friday through Sunday, recreational anglers can harvest one red snapper per person with no size limit. The same limits were in effect last weekend, and sea conditions were very nice on Friday and Saturday, allowing numerous boats to get offshore. Among those was the New Inlet Princess party boat out of Murrells Inlet, which had a boatload of anglers aboard last Friday, the opening day of the season. About a dozen red snapper were landed on the trip and fishing proved to be very good, with many anglers taking home a limit of five vermilion snapper. An assortment of triggerfish, red porgy, black sea bass and grouper along with a king mackerel in the 15-pound range were also caught. A cobia in the 30-inch range was also caught and released. Trolling action is good for wahoo near the break, with the field of 41 boats in the Georgetown Wahoo Challenge catching a combined 67 wahoo last Friday and Saturday.


Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: Despite high water levels fishing is still productive on local rivers. The Waccamaw River near Conway was still above nine feet, at 9.39 feet at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, but was forecast to begin falling over the weekend. The Little Pee Dee near Galivants Ferry has remained near steady over the last week and was at 6.47 feet Thursday at 4 p.m. “The next couple weeks things will be leveled out,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Bream will take a variety of baits including worms, beetle spins and popping bugs, but crickets are the best bet. Bass are hitting top water. “Trick worms and buzz baits have been the hot (lures) this week,” said Stalvey. Catfish action remains good, as Stalvey reports flatheads weighing 50 and 37 pounds were caught this week. Eel and bream are top baits for catfish.