Fisheries & Fish Industry

The Sun News Fishing report (March 17, 2017)

Estuary

Look For: Spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, sheepshead, tautog.

Comments: A major drop in the water temperature – thanks to this week’s late-winter arctic blast – has slowed the activity of fish and fishermen. With a return to normal late March air temperatures this weekend, look for spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum and flounder to be more active. A variety of species are available at area jetties at Winyah Bay, Murrells Inlet and Little River, including spotted seatrout, weakfish, red drum, black drum, sheepshead and tautog.

Inshore

Look For: Sheepshead, black sea bass, black drum, weakfish, tautog, flounder, whiting, croaker.

Comments: There has been an expected big drop in the ocean water temperature thanks to the cold spell, says Carsten Fischer, manager of Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach. A week ago, the data station at the pier recorded a water temperature in the low 60s, but as of Thursday afternoon had dropped to 56 degrees on the surface and 55 on the bottom. The best bet on Grand Strand piers is whiting and croaker, with a few trout being caught, reports Fischer. “The whiting are getting a little bigger,” said Fischer. Although few anglers have hit the near-shore artificial reefs this week due to nasty conditions, they are still holding sheepshead, black sea bass, weakfish and black drum, with flounder and tautog also a possibility.

Offshore

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

Comments: It’s been cold, windy and rough offshore this week, with virtually no angler action. But wahoo are available on the offshore ledges through the winter and into spring, with blackfin tuna also a possibility for trolling boats. Bottom fishing for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, red porgy and amberjack is excellent if you can get to bottom spots, especially those in 80-100 feet of water. The annual Shallow-water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect through April 30. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.

Freshwater

Look For: Catfish, crappie, bream, bass.

Comments: “Not many have been fishing but when they do go they’re still biting,” said River Squires of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. Bream had been hitting crickets near the banks before the cold snap arrived. With cooler water temperatures, bream are currently most likely to be found near the bottom hitting worms. Crappie are available, hitting minnows around brush and other structure while eels and shad are top baits for catfish. Squires notes bass action is good on the Little Pee Dee River.


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