Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, bluefish.
Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters has had a mixed bag of a week. “We’ve had some good trips and some struggling trips,” said Kelly, who has taken youngsters from his Palmetto Kids Fishing Camp out this week. Kelly has been fishing mainly around the Little River Inlet and produced red drum, spotted seatrout and flounder. The highlight of the week was a 5-pound trout that hit a live mullet. The best action, Kelly said, has been red drum hitting live or fresh cut finger mullet. Kelly noted a water temperature of 85 degrees Friday morning. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown is seeing fishing pick back up a bit after a slow stretch. “It’s been tough but it’s starting to open up pretty good,” said McDonald. While many of the fish have been on the smaller side, McDonald produced spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, ladyfish and bluefish on a Wednesday trip in the Winyah Bay vicinity. McDonald noted a water temperature of 82 degrees in the bay.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cobia, bluefish, whiting, pompano, black sea bass, spadefish, weakfish, black drum, flounder.
Comments: Capt. Danny Juel of Fish Screamer Charters in Little River reports the excellent mid-range king mackerel action of this spring and summer continues. “The kings, right now you can catch all you want in 50-70 feet, 10-12 miles out,” said Juel. Areas adjacent to Little River Inlet such as The Jungle and 65-Foot Hole have been holding good numbers of fish. “There’s a lot of bait balls, a lot of fish in there,” said Juel. The near-shore bottom spots such as Paradise Reef and Pawleys out of Murrells Inlet and Jim Caudle and Ron McManus reefs out of Little River are holding black sea bass (13-inch minimum size limit), flounder, spadefish and weakfish, with Spanish and possibly kings and cobia roaming the vicinity. Juel reports Spanish action is very good 3-5 miles offshore in the Little River vicinity. It’s been a slow week overall from Grand Strand piers, with scattered catches of whiting, pompano, black drum, sheepshead and trout reported off the Apache and Cherry Grove piers. However, pier angler extraordinaire Joe Nelligan of Garden City has landed some nice Spanish off The Pier at Garden City this week, including one weighing in at 4 pounds, 11 ounces. The ocean water temperature according to the Apache Pier data station Friday at 11:30 a.m. was 83 degrees on the surface and 82 on the bottom.
Look For: Dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, red snapper.
Comments: The first weekend of the 2019 red snapper mini-season is in the books, and plenty were brought to the docks as recreational anglers were able to harvest one red snapper per person per day with no minimum size limit. Like most other area boats, Capt. Juel’s Fish Screamer III sat out last Friday due to rough seas but fished Saturday and Sunday out of Little River. “(Fish Screamer III) limited out on red snapper,” said Juel. “They were real nice fish, anywhere from 18-25 pounds.” Two party boats, Juel’s Atlantic Star and the New Inlet Princess out of Murrells Inlet, also had solid catches of red snapper along with typical reef species last Saturday and Sunday. The red snapper mini-season continues Friday and Saturday, but after midnight Saturday the species will be off-limits until the next mini-season, likely in 2020. Juel reported trolling is decent, but well offshore. “We’re still picking away at scattered (dolphin), wahoo and blackfin (tuna),” said Juel. “We’re having to fish a little deep, anywhere from 400 to 600 feet, looking for good purple-blue water that’s been pushed offshore.”
Look For: Bream, crappie, catfish, bass.
Comments: “Fishing in general, even though it’s been hot as the dickens, seems to be better and better for the people that are going and toughing it out in the heat,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “Normally right now (this time of year) it’s good but not that good.” Bream fishing in particular has been very good. “It’s taking people an average of two hours to get their limit of bream, I’m talking nice, nice bream,” said Stalvey. “The Little Pee Dee and big Pee Dee have the best quality of bream. They’re catching them around mouths of creeks 2-4 feet deep on crickets.” Stalvey is also surprised at the quality of bass action in the heat of summer. “The bass are still good on topwater, but more on Zoom trick worms and Texas-rigged worms,” said Stalvey. “Any kind of u-tail worm, Senko or craw in deep curves and ditch mouths. If you’re fishing shallower, use the Zoom trick worm, let it sink, twitch it and hang on tight.” Stalvey said catfish action is good on live bream and cut eels.