Grand Strand tuna starts saltwater’s March madness

Grand Strand tuna
Blackfin tuna kick off the bluewater fishing season off South Carolina’s Grand Strand when offshore water temperatures approach 68 to 70 degrees.

March marks beginning of spring tuna season

The offshore waters along the Grand Strand coast of South Carolina offer angling adventures just about every day — in one place or another — in the big, blue ocean. As March rolls around, the offshore waters fire off with opportunities for a successful haul back to the hill. Blackfin tuna are at the top of the heap. That’s especially true in the region 65 miles off the Grand Strand.

Out of Crazy Sister Marina in Murrells Inlet, Dan Carey of CareyOn Charters ventures into the deep blue every day the weather is suitable for his 30-foot boat. March is the beginning of a bountiful spring season for Carey. And Grand Strand tuna are a big part of that.

“We catch tuna and wahoo all-year long. But some months are far better than others,” he said.  “They bite great in spring and fall. Our spring season begins in March.”

Tuna are pelagic fish and shift from place to place depending on where the best opportunity to feed exists. Wherever baitfish are most concentrated is where the best bite will be, according to Carey (914-760-6452).

Finding temperature breaks is a big step

“We check for changes in temperature, chlorophyll and anything that creates something different to stack up the bait and concentrate the fish,” he said.

The temperature and temperature breaks are the leading sources for finding groups of pelagic fish wanting to play. Carey, prefers water 68 degrees or warmer.

“(That) is my starting point in spring. And anything over 70 degrees is usually a great spot to find them,” he said.

Carey utilizes a standard trolling offshore setup with multiple lines scattered at different lengths and depths from the boat. He uses a combination of eight rods rigged with cedar plugs and rigged ballyhoo to get the job done.

“We use eight rods efficiently on outriggers — the bird, planers and flatlines — without being tangled. And one of the presentations will work to make it happen,” he said.

The spring season fires off this month for Grand Strand blackfin tuna. And these fish are plentiful this time of year.

Jeff Burleson
About Jeff Burleson 1413 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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