Finally, you can feel fall starting to creep in. Don’t get me wrong, its still hot as hell in SC, but there are other signs that indicate my favorite season is just around the corner. The trout are biting and the blue wing teal are making their early push south. This is the one time of year where it is truly impossible to do all the things you would like to do in a day…there are that many options. You could tarpon fish, chase tailers in the flooded grass, throw nets for shrimp, trout fish, drink beer, watch football, catch big reds in the surf, dove hunt, deer hunt, and the list goes on. We only got to do a few of those things this week…here’s some photos from our outings. Stay tuned as things are heating up here in the lowcountry.
Everybody gathering at the ramp for a little pre-dawn planning session…
Couple of trout macros…
Had a chance to ride along with the crew of the Rascal out of Georgetown, SC for the 45th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament. The Georgetown tournament kicks off the South Carolina Governors Cup Billfishing Series. We had great weather on day 1 and released a white marlin and a sailfish – day 2 was a little sporty with the tropical storm brewing in the atlantic, but we still managed a blue marlin. It was a refreshing change to get out of the marsh for the weekend and watch some big ticked-off fish get airborne in blue water.
Had to fight off the dolphin throughout the weekend – I’m not ever going to get accustomed to trying to avoid bites from 20lb fish. Despite our efforts, we couldn’t keep the bait away from this guy.
This was pretty much how things looked arriving at the dock at 430am the morning after the captain’s dinner – wishing I had gone to bed a little earlier.
Our first fish of day 1 was this white marlin – it uncharacteristically stayed down pretty much the entire battle, only showing itself once we got it close to the boat.
The second fish of the day was this nice sailfish – it on the other hand freaked out and put on an aerial display that I still can’t get out of my mind.
Congrats to the winner – the Sadie Beth out of Charleston, SC (2 whites and 5 sailfish) – and thanks to the owners, Captain, and Crew of the Rascal for asking me to ride along for the tournament.
Capt Jay Nelson
You’ve got to love seeing a fish feeding nose-down, completely oblivious to everything else around. The full moons of summer bring high tides that flood the spartina grass flats, enabling us to search high in the marsh for tailing redfish. The “redneck” in me really digs being able to hunt and fish at the same time. The fish weren’t tailing as much as usual tonight, but we spotted several fish gorging themselves enough to get a few shots.
Perry, an excellent fishing mentor and a good bud. It had been awhile since we last chased redfish on the grass flats.
Chad had the mojo tonight – he managed one on fly and another on spinning tackle.
A group of us all had the same weekend off and free from family responsibilities. The water temperature had been rising steadily for the last couple of weeks here in South Carolina, so we decided to get out and look for a cobia. Sure enough, they were at every can/buoy we checked. Only problem was we couldn’t get them to eat anything we threw at them. We got a late start and blamed it on the time of day. We saw some PIGS – they denied live eel, menhaden, herring, various flies, the list goes on. Fortunately, some of our friends on other boats were able to connect with one or two.
On the way to the ocean, we stopped in Winyah Bay to catch bait and jumped up a pile of wood storks. To my knowledge, they are still considered endangered in NC, SC, GA, & Fl. We jumped around 400 of them in a flooded field. They definitely aren’t endangered in that spot.
Amidst our frustration with the cobia, I finally talked Douglas in to casting to an amberjack. He said that he hadn’t bothered with a “reef donkey” in over a decade, but he obliged. This fish charged the bait and left Douglas on the bow of the boat for what seemed like a half-hour…hahaha. He loved every minute of it. In the box or not – we were enthusiastic that the cobia had officially arrived.
After our semi-failure at sea, we headed inshore to enjoy some of the usual suspects. The great thing about this time of year is that there’s always something willing to eat.
The bonnethead sharks put up a great fight on redfish tackle and you can catch as many as you want in the Ge0rgetown, SC marsh.
Top wrap up the weekend, our buddy Craig raided his dad’s crawfish pots and put on a serious crawfish boil. The rising water temps have the “mud-bugs” nice and grown.
The end to a good weekend – a bunch of salty bastards sharing a nice pile crawfish. Our water is warming and the anticipation is building – hopefully this tarpon season will rival the action that we were blessed with last year.
Georgetown, SC had the pleasure of hosting Lefty Kreh for a couple of days this weekend. Without a doubt, it was one of my favorite events on record. There was some local interest in setting up a private fly-casting clinic so my friend Heather Templeton called her God-Father, Lefty Kreh and told him to get on a plane. This was my first chance to spend time with Lefty since my friend Perry Peace introduced me to his casting principles a few years ago. He was even more charismatic than I expected – what an awesome guy. Of course it is great to see how effortlessly he can cast a perfect loop, but the most impressive thing was to see the way Lefty can teach others to cast a perfect loop. The private casting clinic was hosted on Saturday at a historic Lowcountry Plantation called Ricehope. The 15 guys that signed-up got to experience something very special. I watched as all of them improved their fly-casting within a very short amount of time. On Sunday, Lefty stopped by our local tackle shop, Pawleys Island Outdoors, for a casting demonstration and book signing. An overwhelming crowd showed!
My friend , Newman Weaver (www.gtownkingfisher.com), and I had been getting excited about a potential opportunity to get Lefty on the water this weekend. At the last minute Lefty had to pass – his schedule for the weekend didn’t leave him any time to relax. Fortunately, we were able to fill Lefty’s spot with our friend Kent Edmonds (Temple Fork Outfitters). Historically, March is not the best month for sight fishing in our marsh but today was special. The redfish were still in large schools, but were finally riding high in the water column and chewing small shrimp and glass minnows. We got to watch fish flare gills and vacuum our flies over and over again. Thank God our fish seem to be making the transition out of the winter funk. Come on Summer!
Probably my favorite moment of the weekend – Lefty entertaining my 7 month old daughter Addie. Lefty and I both agree that she will probably be out-casting daddy pretty soon.