Grand Strand Fishing Report: Spotted seatrout action has picked up over the past week

Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters reports spotted seatrout action has picked up this week in the Little River area.
Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters reports spotted seatrout action has picked up this week in the Little River area. Captain Smiley Fishing Charters


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

Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River says the spotted seatrout bite has picked up. “The trout bite has been kind of the thing the last couple days,” said Kelly Thursday afternoon. Kelly has worked the Intracoastal Waterway in Little River using live shrimp on a popping cork to catch the trout, with best action on a rising tide. “It’s been best on three hours of the rise when the current gets moving pretty good,” said Kelly, who says red drum, black drum and flounder have also been caught this week. Kayak angler Rob Birchmeier has also found solid trout action in Murrells Inlet. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has had solid success with a variety of species in the last week including trout, reds, black drum, flounder and ladyfish. McDonald has used finger mullet, cut shrimp and topwater lures to catch his fish. Tarpon activity is probably at a peak in Winyah Bay and surrounding waterways. “There’s plenty of tarpon, everywhere from Cape Romain to North Inlet,” said McDonald.


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

Comments: The annual Spanish Mackerel Derby will be staged Friday and Saturday out of the Mullet Hut on the Marshwalk in Murrells Inlet. The event features a $5,000 guaranteed first-place prize for the heaviest Spanish mackerel weighed in. Entry fee is $50 per boat, with three TWT categories also at $50 each. Registration opens at 5 p.m. Friday with the Captains Meeting to follow at the Mullet Hut. Lines-in is at 8 a.m. Saturday and boats must be in line to weigh their catch at 3 p.m. For more information, email capt.thompson@gmail.com. Spanish can be found in many areas of the near-shore waters, from the surf line to in the vicinity of jetties to the artificial reefs within 10-12 miles offshore. The near-shore reefs are also producing flounder, black sea bass and weakfish. Sharks, particularly blacktips, spadefish, Spanish, kings and cobia are all possibilities around the reefs. Also, don’t be surprised to find bull red drum on the reefs or near-shore hard-bottom areas as Labor Day gets closer. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters says king mackerel are hitting live menhaden and cigar minnows in depths of 40-90 feet. Steve Gann of the Cherry Grove Pier reports “several nice flounder” were caught Wednesday morning, with whiting and Spanish also being caught this week. The ocean water temperature is consistently 85 degrees along the beach.


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

Comments: Capt. Buddy Smith headed out of Murrells Inlet on Capt. Shawn Thomas’ Underdog on Monday for a charter trip and found solid trolling action. Fishing in the vicinity of the Winyah Scarp in 81-degree water, the crew landed three wahoo in the 38-50 pound range, four king mackerel, a gaffer dolphin and jumped off a sailfish. “The only thing I didn’t see was a tuna, not even a bonito,” said Smith. “The bottom looked good, and we caught the dolphin around flying fish. There was no grass to speak of, formed up or scattered. Overall for August, I was happy. That’s encouraging.” Capt. Shane Bashor of Sidekick Charters out of Crazy Sister Marina had a super catch on a Wednesday trip, landing five nice scamp, vermilion snapper, grey triggerfish and red hind while bottom fishing, plus added a nice pair of king mackerel. Bottom fishing is also producing red porgy, black sea bass, grunts and amberjack. Plenty of red snapper are being caught but must be released in the South Atlantic Region.


Look For: Bream, crappie, catfish, bass.

Comments: “The fishing is still amazing, there’s just not many people going,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway, pointing to the start of the 2019-2020 school year this week for the lack of anglers. Bream activity is excellent, with fish hitting crickets, worms and beetle spins mainly in 2-4 feet of water. Bass action continues to be good with Texas-rigged worms and spinner baits working well. Catfish will hit a variety of baits including fresh cut eel, live bream and cut mullet. River levels are excellent, even a little low. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry was low, at 4.53 feet at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Waccamaw at Conway was at 7.09 feet at 4:15 p.m. Thursday and making good tides.

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