Outdoors

Grand Strand Fishing Report: Seatrout and red drum are active in area waters

Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters shows off a red drum he caught Tuesday in the Little River vicinity.
Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters shows off a red drum he caught Tuesday in the Little River vicinity. Photo courtesy of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters

Estuary

Look For: Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.

Comments: Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions was targeting red drum and black drum Tuesday in the creeks of Murrells Inlet, but had a surprise when he hit his fishing spot. “We stumbled across a big school of trout in a redfish hole,” said Connolly. “We were fishing one of my drum spots because it was dead low tide. We had a dead piece of shrimp on the bottom fishing for drum, and my guy caught a 22 1/2-inch trout. We put live shrimp under floats, and caught a trout every throw back. Every trout was 17-23 inches.” Connolly said the jetties are producing trout, red drum and black drum, with tautog a possibility. “I think the sheepshead are starting to work their way offshore,” said Connolly. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters found trout and reds receptive on a Tuesday trip, hitting shallow spots in the Little River vicinity. “We had a great trip using live mud minnows, DOA shrimp (chartreuse) and Gulp Shrimp (white with chartreuse tail),” said Kelly, who noted a water temperature of 46-48 degrees. “(The tide was) low to rising around midday - that’s what we like this time of year.”

Inshore

Look For: Black sea bass, sheepshead, black drum, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker.

Comments: Look for sheepshead along with black drum on nearshore artificial reefs such as Paradise, Pawleys, Jim Caudle and Ron McManus. Fiddler crabs and clams are the best bet to entice bites from sheepshead, along with black drum, which will also take shrimp. Black sea bass, weakfish, tautog and flounder are also possibilities on the reefs. Lynn Galloway of Apache Pier reported a water temperature of 51 degrees on the surface and bottom Wednesday morning. Galloway noted anglers caught whiting and croaker this week, plus one trout, from the pier.

Offshore

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

Comments: On favorable weather days, trolling has been productive offshore for wahoo and blackfin tuna in the vicinity of spots such as the Georgetown Hole, Winyah Scarp and The Steeples. Numerous closures are in effect for reef species in South Atlantic waters. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure is in effect through the month of April and includes gag grouper, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney. Greater amberjack is closed until March 1, and deep-water blueline tilefish and snowy grouper are closed until May 1. Red snapper are also off-limits indefinitely and must be released. Anglers can target and harvest vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, red porgy and grunts.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments: The Waccamaw River is finally down to a reasonable level for fishermen, and some have reaped the benefits over the past week. “There’s a bunch of nice fish being caught on the Waccaamw between Conway and Bucksport,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “They’re lead-lining with red worms for bream.” Stalvey notes the Ricefields area has produced good catches of bream, crappie and catfish. Stalvey also reported good news in the form of bream catches in the Red Bluff and Reaves Ferry areas on the Waccamaw, where the fish kill was “pretty bad” during the recent flooding. Stalvey reports the fish he has seen have been healthy. “The fish that are being caught are very healthy - big, nice bream,” said Stalvey. “I’m glad to see that. You can tell the fish have been eating good.”

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