Look For: Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments: An all-star trio of anglers hit Murrells Inlet Thursday and had a banner day catching and releasing spotted seatrout. Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters hosted Capt. Alex Hrycak of Carolina Fly and Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions aboard his Sea Hunt and, suffice to say, the trout bite was on. “There were a ton of small ones but the bite overall, we hit them non-stop, on both tides,” said Hrycak. “There were multiple times during the day we were all three hooked up.” The epic bite comes after one of the worst stretches of wintry weather in memory right at 11 months ago. “It’s really surprising,” said Hrycak. “Everybody was worried about a trout kill, but there are a ton of trout. You would have thought it wouldn’t be that great of a season, but there are a lot of young fish out there.” The trio of captains started out with a standard catch of a few fish on top-water to start the day. From there, it was all soft plastics, mainly Z Man shrimp and minnow imitations, fished on 1/4 and 1/3-ounce jig heads. Hrycak noted some of the nicer trout came on the soft plastics fished under a popping cork. Hrycak said the trio caught big numbers of trout, keeping several for table fare, and released over 30 fish above the 14-inch minimum size. Several red drum were also receptive to the Z Man artificials, too.
Look For: Black sea bass, sheepshead, bluefish, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: After the coldest weather of this autumn, the ocean water temperature has taken a plunge over the past week. Apache Pier reported a water temperature of 57 degrees Thursday afternoon, a full six degrees cooler than one week earlier. There continue to be scattered catches of a variety of species from the pier including whiting, croaker, black drum, weakfish, flounder, bluefish and pompano. With the calendar turning to December, fish activity is about to wind down along the beach. The focus then turns to artificial reefs in the 3-15 mile range, where black sea bass and sheepshead action is picking up. Also look for weakfish and flounder on the reefs.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, dolphin, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: Quality trolling action can be found around areas such as the Winyah Scarp, Georgetown Hole and McMarlen Ledge when conditions allow boats to venture the more than 50 miles to get there. Blackfin tuna and wahoo are the top target for trolling boats with king mackerel and dolphin still a possibility. On bottom fishing trips, look for grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, amberjack, red porgy and grunts. Red snapper are common on the offshore reefs and ledges, but must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: In what seems to be a broken record over the last three months, local rivers are high and either at or near flood stage and slightly falling. The Waccamaw at Conway had just dropped below flood stage, to 10.74 feet at 2:15 p.m. Thursday. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry at was in minor flood stage, at 9.2 feet Thursday at 3 p.m. “Thank God they’re starting to come down a little,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “It’s not looking too hot right now, but sooner or later it will get better.” For anglers itching to get out on the water, try fishing worms on the bottom (lead-lining) for bream and catfish in the Ricefields vicinity, on the south end of the Waccamaw and Pee Dee rivers.