Look For: Spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments: Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown found decent success on a trip in the Winyah Bay vicinity last weekend. McDonald worked the bay and areas to the south on Saturday, with his crew catching eight spotted seatrout and four red drum. Soft plastic grubs produced the trout while McDonald enticed the reds to hit cut shrimp. McDonald noted he ran across some 60 degree water on the trip, but the cold front a few days later ended that. Capt. Dan Connolly and a few hardy anglers braved the cold, windy conditions on Wednesday to land a nice catch of spotted seatrout and red drum in Murrells Inlet. Connolly continues to catch gator trout on live shrimp.
Look For: Black sea bass, sheepshead, black drum, flounder, weakfish, whiting.
Comments: Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters had to move out to 60 feet of water on a Thursday trip but the captain said he “tore up some (black) sea bass.” Maples started at the 10-mile range and was fishing in 54 degree water but found only small black sea bass at that 40-foot depth. He made the move to depths of 60 feet and found much bigger black sea bass, along with 58 degree water and an active ocean. “I think the bigger (sea bass) have started moving on out,” said Maples. “There was a lot of life out there, dolphin and birds diving.” The same activity - birds diving on bait - was seen from the Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach, reports Norma Madaras of the pier. The action was spotted well offshore of the pier, and anglers on the pier continue to catch small whiting and croaker. Madaras reported an ocean water temperature of 57 degrees.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack.
Comments: Dr. Jason Rosenberg, owner of Painkiller, and Capt. Jay Sconyers had a whirlwind trolling trip on Thursday out of Murrells Inlet and found wahoo at home in the offshore waters. Despite a short amount of trolling time, the crew brought home four wahoo including a smoking 75-pounder. Trolling boats are also catching blackfin tuna, and a few dolphin were also caught off the Beaufort-Hilton Head Island area last week. Bottom fishing continues to be very good for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, red porgy and grey triggerfish. Closures of reef species currently in effect for recreational anglers in South Atlantic waters include the annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure and deep-water blueline tilefish and snowy grouper closure until May 1. Red snapper are also off-limits indefinitely and must be released.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: A fast-moving downpour early in the week brought a rise once again to the rivers, a recurring theme since September 2018. “It wants to get good and then (the river levels) shoot back up again,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “I’ve never seen so much water in my life.” Before the rain last weekend, Stalvey called conditions “perfect.” The Waccamaw was peaking at just over 10 feet at Conway on Thursday and the Little Pee Dee was forecast to inch into Minor Flood Stage at 9 feet Saturday. Right now, Stalvey suggests targeting bream in holes in 10-15 feet of water using red worms. Catfish are hitting live shiners and fresh cut shad. “This time of year (catfish) are in deeper water,” said Stalvey. “Focus on deep holes and channels.” Crappie are hitting jigs and medium shiners. Bass have been nosing around shallower water in pre-spawn mode recently and Stalvey recommends using spinner baits, chatter baits, shallow-running crank baits and Texas-rigged worms.