They call them "flounder jubilees," odd happenstances when the fish come up into the shallows in masses and people gig them by the hundreds. A few Gulf of Mexico beach communities have a reputation for jubilees. And they're apparently not new to Myrtle Beach.

Wes Wagner was a college student in the early 1960s, spending the summer at his parent's Cherry Grove Beach oceanfront motel. One morning, a man came running off the beach saying hundreds of flounder were trapped in tidal pools left by the ebbing surf. People were grabbing sharp-edged sticks, spearing the fish and coming away with all they could carry for a feast.

"The flounder were fighting. They were live," Wagner said. He caught a cooler full.

Researchers point to Wagner's experience as anecdotal evidence that hypoxia events have occurred in the past on Myrtle Beach. But there's no way to tell whether they were caused by nature or man. Testing didn't really begin in the area until the 2004 incident.