‘BAIT-STEALING CRITTERS’ ARE LINGERING IN WARM WATERS,
Look For: Spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, flounder, sheepshead.
Comments: It’s just a little warm for early November, says Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions in Murrells Inlet, although colder weather is on the way. Connolly has noted a water temperature in the upper 60s, when lower 60s would be considered closer to normal. “It’s been a little strange for this time of year,” said Connolly. “It’s a higher water temperature than normal, and that’s keeping the bait-stealing critters around.” That has also kept more finger mullet around than usual, and that’s good news. “If you want to catch an inshore slam of nice keepers, getting your hands on some live finger mullet is the way to go,” Connolly said. On a Wednesday trip, Connolly’s crew used mullet to catch several trout, flounder and two upper slot red drum, plus used a combination of shrimp and fiddler crabs to catch four keepers out of eight black drum. Connolly notes that floating live shrimp will also produce fish, especially trout. “With live shrimp on a float, you’ll catch 90 percent dinks and 10 percent keepers,” said Connolly. Artificials such as Z-Man paddle tail Swimbaits, Vudu shrimp, DOA shrimp and Trout Trick will also work for trout.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, red drum, bluefish, spadefish, sheepshead, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: King mackerel action has slowed near the beach except, perhaps, a few large loner kings. Capt. Perrin Wood of Southern Saltwater Charters recommends heading to live-bottom areas and ledges in 50-60 feet of water to find schooling kings. The water temperature is about to take a major plunge in the next week, meaning action for black sea bass (13-inch minimum size limit ) will be good on bottom spots from three to 15 miles out in 30-50 feet of water. Near-shore bottom spots are holding weakfish, whiting, flounder and perhaps bull red drum. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reports a good run of spots occurred on the pier from Friday through Sunday, with most of the fish being small. Apache Pier also reported a spot run last weekend. The piers are producing a mix of whiting, pompano, black drum, red drum, flounder, bluefish and a few Spanish mackerel. Wallace reported a water temperature of 69 degrees Thursday afternoon.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, dolphin, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters headed offshore in his 30-foot Sea Hunt on Wednesday with wahoo on the brain. Carey tried high-speed trolling and meat trolling, but didn’t get a wahoo bite in the vicinity of the Georgetown Hole in 75degree water. Carey and crew did land six blackfin tuna. “The water is still on the dirty side out there,” said Carey. “That water’s got to get bluer.” Carey and crew did hit the bottom and had a very good catch of standard reef species such as vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish and porgy. The highlight of the day was four hogfish, including a huge 19-pounder that hit a secret bait. They also caught three red snapper, including one in the 15-pound range. Of course, red snapper cannot be harvested in the South Atlantic Region and must be released.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: After the worst flooding in the history of the Waccamaw River, there are finally signs of life. “We’re starting to see a little life bream, crappie, bass and catfish,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle. The lower end of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, in the Ricefields vicinity, has produced some fish this week. Anglers are urged to limit the number of fish harvested until the full extent of the fish kill caused by Hurricane Florence’s flooding can be determined. Further upstream, the situation is dire. Stalvey noted a bass tournament was held on the Waccamaw River in the Conway vicinity and there were no bass caught by the field. “Nobody’s fishing up there on the Waccamaw near Conway,” said Stalvey. The Waccamaw was at 8.61 feet at 3:15 p.m. Thursday at Conway and making good tides. The Little Pee Dee River was still high, at 7.67 feet at 4 p.m. Thursday at Galivants Ferry.