Outdoors

Local fishing report (July 23)

Estuary

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

Comments: Summertime action has been good in local estuaries from Winyah Bay to Brunswick County, N.C. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown has had good success with spotted seatrout and red drum, plus flounder have made a good showing this week. On a Thursday morning trip, McDonald produced a Carolina Slam for his customers who caught seven flounder, a three-pound trout and a pair of over-slot reds (15-23 inch slot limit) weighing five and seven pounds fishing in North Inlet and Winyah Bay. McDonald noted a warm water temperature of 88 degrees on the trip. McDonald's group caught 11 flounder on a Wednesday trip. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters has found a good trout bite, with fish hitting live shrimp on popping corks, in the Little River and Sunset Beach, N.C. vicinity. Kelly has produced some trout over four pounds, with some under the 14-inch minimum size limit. Kelly has found flounder and small reds receptive, plus has caught bluefish on topwater lures near Little River Inlet. ``It's been a good week,'' Kelly said. Capt. Jacob Frick of Ocean Isle Fishing Center in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., has found good flounder action, fishing finger mullet on a Carolina rig near creek mouths. There are plenty of sharks, large and small, roaming the estuaries, so get your catch to the boat quickly to either harvest or release it.

Inshore

Look For: Spanish mackerel, bluefish, king mackerel, cobia, flounder, whiting, pompano, croaker, black drum, spadefish.

Comments: Simply put, like it or not, sharks are the best bet on the inshore waters. From just off the surf line to the near-shore artificial reefs, sharks including Atlantic sharpnose, blacktips, sandbar, hammerhead and tigers are dominating catches. For instance, Dr. Jason Rosenberg's slow-trolling effort for Spanish and kings aboard Painkiller at Belky Bear produced plenty of action, all from sharks. Spadefish have made a good showing this week on reefs such as Jim Caudle, Paradise (Three-Mile) and Pawleys Reef. While Spanish action has been scattered at best, look for them around inlet passes, along the beach and on the reefs. Of course, kings and cobia can show up at any time on the reefs during the summer months, so have a live bait ready. On Grand Strand piers, there have been scattered catches of bluefish, Spanish, flounder, whiting, croaker and spots.

Offshore

Look For: Wahoo, dolphin, blackfin tuna, sailfish, blue marlin, grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, porgy, triggerfish, grunts, amberjack.

Comments: When the wind has allowed boats to get offshore, and it hasn't been often, trolling action is producing scattered catches of dolphin and barracuda, with a few wahoo and blackfin tuna available too. Sailfish and blue marlin are also possibilities for trolling boats. Bottom fishing continues to be very good for grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, and triggerfish. Also look for amberjack, porgy and grunts on bottom trips. Some catches of red snapper, and some sizable ones at that, have been reported this week. But the species, known locally as genuines, is off-limits indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region and must be released.

Freshwater

Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie, stripers.

Comments: The water is warm and low on local rivers, with bream and catfish remaining the best bet reports Kelly Woodward of Rick's Bait and Tackle in Conway. Look for bream hitting crickets in 2-5 feet of water, but with water temperatures in the upper 80s, larger fish are a little deeper, in depths of 4-5 feet. Cut eels, live bait and other cut bait are top baits for catfish. The Little Pee Dee and Great Pee Dee rivers are both low and boaters should be wary of shallow water. The Between The Bridges Catfish Tournament will be held July 31-Aug. 2, based out of Bucksport Marina. Registration begins at 5 p.m. on Aug. 31. For more information, call Brandon Strickland (843-742-9060) or Eddie Martin (843-340-7857).

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