Nearshore Warming Up and Identification Help Needed

Headed out to fish nearshore this morning (3/26) since the forecast was for 3 feet on 6 foot intervals. Forecast pretty much spot on for waves.

Fished in 40 to 50 feet, multiple spots outside St. Helena sound. Water temps 62 to 63 degrees. First spot, no bueno. Second, much better.

Got into plenty of Atlantic bonito, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Zero false albacore. Size not great, numbers good. No surface activity or bird activity visible. Fished #1 and #2 planers with 25 feet of fluoro as leader. Also, a 4 ounce trolling weight with 10 feet of leader. Just had the three lines out. Clark spoons, drone spoons - gold or silver - it didn’t matter. Everything worked.

After awhile and some fish in the box, switched to casting spoons or jigs. That worked too but more bluefish and fewer of the others. Many bluefish thrown back with the three fish limit.

Saw lots of small critters in the water that we had not seen before. Almost looked like little shrimp - half and inch long to maybe a little over and inch. Active in the water but definitely not little fish. The fish we caught puked up a bunch in the fish box but not identifiable.

What are they? Any help identifying would be appreciated.

Quit early because of the (incorrect) forecast of storms but had enough fish for a few dinners. May smoke some bluefish and mackerel. Everything cleaned up and put away at 2:30.


I’ve not seen them other than others posting about them. I did a search and could not find anything, but I remember “sells fish” talking and describing them here. He used to post up some really good fishing tips and info. Has a lot of youtube videos from grouper advise, anchoring, oystering, claming, etc.

If you have some time on the John to spare, do a search of Sellsfish. It’ll bring up many good threads with many other older members adding in fantastic info.

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Maybe Barbawang will be along with an identification.

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same date 11 years later… synchrony incarnate!

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Wow. That’s a weird one. I thought hermaphroditic fish were odd and here comes something to top that. Until I looked it up just now, had no idea there were so many types of sea worms (polychaete). It’s a big ocean.

Thanks for the response.

Is this the same thing? We called them May Worms

Stripers aka rock fish would gorged on them

i enjoy your posts, respect for going in 3x6’s! only a few folks say “bonito” and know what they mean. i’ve never caught one but heard good things. you mentioned fishing spots, do they associate with bottom structure at all, or were they color breaks or some other cue?

a smoker full of spanish and blues sounds like a great project, set you up for some dip!

yep, same thing. seen a hatch as a kid up at Hampton Beach NH that had folks running for the dunes… felt weird crawling on me, glad i didn’t know then what i know now.

many, many kinds of polychaetes/bristle worms out there, they are near the base of the food chain for almost every shallow marine ecosystem I can think of

i bet @Fred67 has heard of a person or two catching a sturgeon on a bloodworm…

Catamaran hull makes a big difference. It was slow but not unpleasant.

The bonito I have caught are around structure but seem to be always moving. They tend to like smaller baits and lures, even the larger fish. The smallest 2 sizes of Drone and Clark spoons work. I have had the most success trolling for bonito.

The public numbers near me - Edisto 40 and 65, Fripp Island, Hunting Island all have bonito sometimes. They don’t seem to hang around long. Once temps are in the higher 60’s they must be gone to the north.

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No sir, my experience with sturgeon was as a little kid and some less than honorable Neighbors when it came to “harvesting” fish and wildlife. Ate some from a net out of the Combahee. (40-45 years ago) Not a fan of the eggs, but the meat is delicious. Kind of like a pork chop texture or maybe a chicken breast. Very mild.

I’ve had the good fortune of seeing them breach the water in the North and South Edisto and Up from otter Island headed up the Combahee over the last few years. Never targeted them. A good friend of mine that has a place on the Edisto near Jellico had one jump in his docked boat. Was over 5’ and sadly dead when he found it.

When I was fishing every available moment off shore we were in a 26’ cat with twin Honda 130’s. Terrific fuel mileage and like you said, an unbelievable ride. I had to get used to the steering and not try to oversteer/ constantly steer. Went with my friend to get boat and the owner on the sea trial cut it as hard as he could and scared the heck out of me, but to my surprise they will take a heck of a hard turn. We “buddy” boated a lot with some out of Beaufort and it was crazy on the rough days watching the V hull’s taking a beating while we were running smooth with the occasional “sneeze”. Some good times at the Deli and bottom drift fishing over the Spires.

My biggest dislike was icing it up and getting it loaded while on the trailer. Those rascals sit up High.

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They are called Cinder worms.

I expect our big spring “worm hatch” of epitokes next Friday/Saturday after the new moon.

Now that I’ve called it, it won’t happen…

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Fred, just caught this thread today. I had a great interest in the cat boats early 90’s, then a small dealer brought a couple Sea Cats to the Charlotte boat show. I let him kniw how excited I was a out the concept, so he let me keep one at my home a month or so to “research” it.

Took it to the coast, he said “run the heck out if it”, abuse it, whatever, so my mate and I did that.

WIDE OPEN in 3-4 ft. seas, bone jarring until we got the hang of it, to quarter the seas, then simply AMAZING!!!

Funny story, we bounced a TLD outfit out of the rod holder in the grunwale to the ocean, but worth the loss for the fun. I became a rep for him, and my buddies in the Charlotte Offshore Club laughed and scorned at the ‘ugly’ appearance, but later years cats were the talk of the club, so I got the last laugh, ha ha!)

my retired previous boss has spent well over half his life scientifically fishing this area, and he said the worm hatch will likely happen Sunday or Monday. Not sure why it wouldn’t happen right on the new moon, but we’re about to see


Is the fishing good during the worm hatch?Would the worms be offshore or inshore?TIA

The fishing was good the day of the worm hatch, but that is the first time I have seen a worm hatch. We were not “matching the hatch” though and it did not seem to stop us from catching fish.

We saw the hatch nearshore, in about 40 to 50 feet of water, did not see any inshore.

possibly a Bar Jack

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What happened here,was the boss right?

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