The last opportunity to take home some tasty grouper is facing South Carolina fishermen, as the annual season closure begins on New Year's Day.

Luckily for fishermen, the grouper bite off Georgetown is as good as ever right now, according to Capt. Matt Wilkinson of Georgetown Charters.

"If you can get out there, they will bite real good this time of year," he says. "They get aggressive in the cool water. A limit of grouper will not take long right now, and just in time for the end of the season around the holidays."

The last opportunity to take home some tasty grouper is facing South Carolina fishermen, as the annual season closure begins on New Year's Day.

Luckily for fishermen, the grouper bite off Georgetown is as good as ever right now, according to Capt. Matt Wilkinson of Georgetown Charters.

"If you can get out there, they will bite real good this time of year," he says. "They get aggressive in the cool water. A limit of grouper will not take long right now, and just in time for the end of the season around the holidays."

Historically, the bottomfish bite fires off during the fall and winter with grouper, snapper and black sea bass pouncing on baits as fast as you can get them to the bottom. With seasons on black sea bass and snapper already shut down, scrumptious grouper are the last of these treasured targets available for harvest until spring.

Wilkinson (843-997-9842) usually runs inshore redfish and trout trips, but he heads offshore to the bluewater on occasion aboard the 36-foot Miss Wy. As winter arrives, the cooling water moves grouper and other bottomfish inshore to livebottoms. Wilkinson finds them in 60 to 120 feet of water around good structure, but he'll move out to 200 feet on occasion. 

"They are in the typical grouper spots they are at this time of year, such as, the Horseshoe Ledge, Red Banks, and places like that out of Georgetown," he said. 

While these fish prefer live baits, the limited quantity of such in December will allow a variety of baits to dupe a hungry scamp, gag, red or snowy grouper under these conditions. Wilkinson may anchor up and drop live bait, cut fish and squid to the bottom, with very few refusals. 

Before any offshore bottom fishing excursion, always check the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council's website (www.safmc.net) for updates to creel limits by species.