Outdoors

Grand Strand Fishing Report: King and Spanish mackerel action gets hot on north end piers

Ron Loveless caught this large Spanish mackerel from the Apache Pier earlier this week.
Ron Loveless caught this large Spanish mackerel from the Apache Pier earlier this week. Photo courtesy of Apache Pier

Estuary

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

Comments: It’s been a summertime mixed bag for Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in the Winyah Bay vicinity. On Monday, McDonald hit the Winyah Bay jetties and caught flounder, whiting and croaker. On Tuesday in the creeks of the bay and North Inlet, McDonald produced four red drum, three flounder plus scattered spotted seatrout, black drum and ladyfish. The water temperature is certainly in summertime mode. “It’s 82 at the jetties and everywhere,” said McDonald. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters hit the Little River jetties Thursday morning with a group of youngsters attending his Palmetto Kids Fishing Camps. Kelly and the kids caught red drum plus bonnethead sharks and one hammerhead shark while working cut menhaden on the bottom. Live shrimp on a float rig also produced spotted seatrout. On Wednesday evening, Kelly hit the creeks and the Intracoastal Waterway in the Little River area and caught reds on an outgoing tide plus trout while floating live shrimp.

Inshore

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

Comments: The Apache Pier went from zero kings in 2019 to a virtual feeding frenzy earlier this week. Last Saturday angler Ron Hayes caught the first king of the year on the pier, and that set the stage for excellent king action over the next four days. A total of 27 kings were caught from the pier, ending on Tuesday including a 37-pounder landed by angler Sara Barnhardt. Pier manager Calvin Dickerson also reports very good action for Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black drum and sheepshead. King catches were also excellent on the Cherry Grove Pier, where 10 were landed between Sunday and Wednesday. Whiting, blues and Spanish have also been caught from the Cherry Grove Pier. The ocean water temperature Thursday was 82 degrees. King mackerel action is also excellent on bottom spots in depths of 40-80 feet. The near-shore reefs are producing some real doormat flounder along with spadefish, weakfish and black sea bass. Be on the lookout for Spanish, kings and cobia roaming the vicinity.

Offshore

Look For: Dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack.

Comments: The Dog Days of Summer are fast approaching, but if you get far enough offshore, outstanding catches of dolphin remain available. “Everyone thinks the dolphin are gone but if you find the blue water or a weedline and start trolling at 250-300 feet out to 800 feet, you’ll probably find them,” said Capt. Ryan Powers of Murrells Inlet. On Monday, Powers fished with Capt. Charlie Mize on Blue Mile and found plenty of dolphin on a scattered weedline in 800 feet of water off the Georgetown Hole. The crew caught 31 dolphin and one blackfin tuna while trolling and pitching chunks of ballyhoo to fish following hooked fish to the boat. Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey and Brody Lovoie headed offshore early this week on a 23 Sportsman. The duo started fishing past the Georgetown Hole in about 1,000 feet of water and found a scattered weedline, where they caught nine dolphin to 23 pounds along with a dozen or more peanuts under the 20-inch minimum size limit that were released. They headed back in to a few bottom spots and added two scamp and two gag grouper, plus vermilion snapper, grunts and red porgy. They capped the day with a keeper cobia measuring 38 inches. Red snapper cannot be harvested in the South Atlantic Region but in two weeks, the 2019 red snapper season will open, with fishing set for the weekend of July 12-14 and again on July 19-20.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass.

Comments: Stalvey, of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway, hit the Ricefields area early in the week and caught 24 solid bream in an hour. “It was the same spot I fished 12 years ago with my granddad,” said Stalvey, who fished crickets on floats three-feet deep. “If you’re in deeper water, fish a worm on the bottom on a two-hook rig and you can catch good bream and catfish too.” A good summertime bait is the black salty, a minnow that will produce catfish and bass. Stalvey reports Steve Martin won the weekly Tuesday bass tournament held out of Conway Marina with a 4.68-pounder.

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