3rd bottlenose dolphin found dead; cause unknown

Another sad story which has appeared in the papers the last few days with more questions then answers at the moment. Story below from Island Packet.

3rd bottlenose dolphin found dead; cause unknown

For the third time in a week, a dead bottlenose dolphin has been found in Beaufort County waters.

Beaufort resident Susan Trogdon said she was paddling in the Harbour River about 10:30 a.m. Saturday when she saw the body of the bottlenose floating in the marsh grass. The animal had a shallow, foot-long scrape on its side, said Trogdon, who contacted the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

“We saw lots of happy, healthy ones, they were all around us, so it was quite shocking and very sad,” Trogdon said.

It’s too soon to tell what killed the dolphin, or another bottlenose dolphin found dead in the May River in Bluffton on Thursday, according to Jessica Conway, a marine biologist with the center testing the animals, the Marine Mammal Stranding Network in Charleston. The Bluffton dolphin arrived at the network’s facility in Charleston on Saturday and has not yet been tested, she said.

On Monday, another dying bottlenose dolphin washed ashore on Hilton Head Island and died before marine biologists could reach it. That animal appeared to be an older dolphin and could have had pneumonia and a weak heart, according to Wayne McFee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

While dolphin populations along the East Coast have been crippled since July by a deadly outbreak of morbillivirus, Conway said she cannot speculate as to what caused the recent deaths in Beaufort County.

Those who find a stranded dolphin should not attempt to push the animal back into the water but should should call the Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-800-922-5431.

“It could injure yourself or the dolphin,” she said. “They do have teeth and they can bite if they’re hurt or struggling, and they don’t usually strand if they’re not already sick.”

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

Spring Fishing Report March 2014

For you fisherman out there; here are a few reports of what is going on.

Spottail Bass: Good.  Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) in Beaufort reports that fish remain schooled up on the flats, and the key to catching them is a very stealthy presentation.  On the fly light leaders down to 10-pound fluorocarbon, and small size 4 or 6 flies in light colors such as tan and white are best.  On spinning tackle use as light a jighead as you can get cast, tipped with a light colored grub body such as a tan/ chartreuse paddle tail grub or a Gulp! Shrimp.  Mirrolure shallow suspended twitch baits, now available in even smaller sizes, can also be good this time of year.

Captain Dan “Fishin’ Coach” Utley (843-368-2126) in Hilton Head reports that fishing is unpredictable, and on his last trip the fish had lockjaw – while two days before they caught 20 fish with half in the slot and half 24-27 inches!  On low water the fish are too spooky to feed right now, but around high tide they will feed, particularly around grass with oyster beds.   The high outgoing tide is probably best right now.  Some days fish will take a free-lined live minnow – which is very exciting to watch them eat – but on some days only Gulp! shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jighead are effective.  Cast as far away from the boat as possible and work the bait as slowly as possible – sometimes it’s necessary to let the bait sit still and wait for a bite.  Fish will get more active and aggressive as spring approaches.  Do not count on fish being in the same spots from day to day as dolphins are taking advantage of the clear water and keeping the fish on the move.

No new trout reports.

Offshore: No new report from Captain Wally Phinney (843-838-7437).

Source: “SC Fish Report