Flounder must be released in North Carolina as of Sept. 4
Look For: Red drum, flounder, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, bluefish.
Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River has been targeting red drum in the vicinity of the state line this week, but has encountered plenty of flounder in the process. Kelly has had to release all flounder caught in North Carolina, since the flounder fishery in North Carolina waters has been closed since Sept. 4, as mandated by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission. On Wednesday, one of those flounder released was a nice one. “We caught two flounder in North Carolina and three in South Carolina on that trip,” said Kelly. “I released a 3.5-pounder in North Carolina, and caught one about five pounds in South Carolina and put him in the ice chest. We’ve been mainly looking for reds, but flounder are scattered all over the place.” Kelly said red drum action has been very good since the passage of Hurricane Dorian. “The reds have been very plentiful, a lot of small ones, several around 20-25 inches,” said Kelly. “After the storm they have really been piled up.” Kelly has used finger mullet, which are plentiful, for bait for both reds and flounder. The storm schooled up fish in the Winyah Bay vicinity, too. “We’ve caught a lot of fish this week, but there hasn’t been much to them,” said Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown. On a Tuesday trip in the vicinity of the bay, McDonald produced 23 red drum with two keepers, six flounder with one keeper and 11 black drum with no keepers. McDonald used finger mullet for the reds and flounder, cut shrimp for the black drum and caught a few fish on plastic grubs.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, red drum, flounder, spadefish, whiting, pompano, black sea bass, weakfish, black drum.
Comments: Norma Madaras of the Apache Pier had good news for anglers eager to get in on some productive fall fishing. First, angler Mike Jocoy landed a 21.2-pound king mackerel from the pier on Tuesday, marking the 32nd king caught off Apache Pier in the 2019 fishing season. Of note, Madaras reported numerous catches of ribbonfish, a premium bait for kings. Spanish mackerel action on straw rigs has been very good in the last few days including a few five-pound fish. Madaras also reported catches of pompano, whiting, croaker, flounder, red drum, black drum and black sea bass. With plenty of bait around including mullet and menhaden, look for excellent Spanish mackerel action from the surf zone to 10 or so miles offshore as autumn inches closer. With mid-September here, look for bull red drum to be on hand at area jetties and near-shore hard-bottom areas, where weakfish, black sea bass and flounder are also available. A variety of species are available on near-shore artificial reefs including black sea bass, weakfish, flounder, spadefish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and sharks. The ocean water temperature remains very balmy, in the mid-80s.
Look For: Wahoo, dolphin, blackfin tuna, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, red snapper.
Comments: Jeff Martini and cohort Nomar McKenzie headed out aboard the Dirty Martini from Little River Tuesday to see what the post-Dorian offshore waters held in store. On a tranquil sea, they found trolling action slow and not quite the blue water they were looking for. “We went to the 100-400 and the Blackjack,” said Martini. “It was slow, the water temperature was 81 and the water was kinda blue, just a little blue.” The duo landed one 38-pound wahoo, lost another at the boat and released a barracuda. Martini also reported the water visibility in depths of 110 feet east of Frying Pan Tower was very poor early in the week. As the water continues to clear on the ledges in 90 feet and deeper, look for super fall bottom fishing to be available for grouper, especially scamp, vermilion snapper, grey triggerfish, red porgy, black sea bass, grunts and amberjack. Red snapper are regularly found on the bottom spots but must be released in the South Atlantic Region.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: Some areas of Horry and Georgetown counties were the recipient of in the neighborhood of 10 inches of rain thanks to Hurricane Dorian. The good news is the rivers, namely the Little Pee Dee and Waccamaw, were on the low side before the storm’s passage. The Waccamaw in particular is currently high, but all area rivers are out of flood stage and fishable. The Waccamaw in Conway had dropped out of flood stage, to a level of 10.5 feet by 2:15 p.m. Thursday. The Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry never reached flood stage and was sitting at 6.8 feet at 2 p.m. Thursday. With warm weather still in place, typical summertime action is available for bream - floating crickets in 2-4 feet of water along the banks and dropoffs. Lead-lining red worms on the bottom can also produce fish. Try buzz baits, trick worms and Texas-rigged worms for bass. Catfish will hit a variety of baits including live bream, cut eel, cut shad and cut mullet.