Back at It

Now that my son Elliott has returned from Japan, we are reinstituting our long-standing tradition of fishing on New Year’s Day.  Regardless of weather (or hangover) conditions, we get together and try to catch the first fish of the year.  We may not catch a fish, but it is a great way to begin the new year.

Wanting to stack the first day of the year odds in our favor, my brother David, Elliott, and I did a little pre-fishing on the day after Christmas.  We launched the Pathfinder at dead low tide.  The water was clear and 51 degrees.  Our plan was to locate and pattern schools of Redfish that we would re-visit on January first.   After a bone chilling run to a shallow oyster laden area, I deployed the trolling motor and we began quietly moving down the shoreline.  When searching for Redfish in the shallows, it is important to operate your trolling motor at low speed.  High speed trolling motor operation will often alert the Redfish to your presence and make them much for difficult to catch. 

After several minutes of slowly searching the shallows, we spotted a large school of Redfish swimming towards the boat.  I cut power to the trolling motor and deployed the Power Pole to hold the Pathfinder in place.  Quietly, we waited for the fish to swim into casting range.  As the approached, we cast our Z-Man Finesse TRD lures well ahead of the school and them sit.  When the Redfish were a few feet away, we gave the lures a slight twitch.  Several Redfish darted forward.  Bam. Bam. Bam.  All three of us hooked up.  Our level of excitement went through the roof.  Typically, we are pretty quiet on the boat.  However, the triple hook up had us hooting and laughing.  As we set-up to take a picture, I thought about my Dad and thanked him for making fishing such an important part of out lives. 

Make 2021 a great year.  Go fishing with your family.

Brody’s Christmas List

For Christmas this year, my family has decided not to exchange gifts.  Instead, we will make donations to help people in need.  However, Brody, the amazing fish finding, and stock trading dog did not get the memo.  Here is Brody’s Christmas Wish List.

  1. A smarter human.  While my human is nice enough, he is not able to find fish or trade stocks without me.  Frankly, my back hurts from carrying this guy. 
  2. A human that can recognize a fishing pattern.  Everyone knows that when the water temperature drops below 52-degrees, the metabolism of Trout and Redfish really slows down.  To catch them consistently, you must use smaller lures with a super slow retrieve cadence.   Is it too much to ask that my human learns this?
  3. A human that does not want me to launch the boat. It is a major accomplishment for a dog to drive.  Heck, I even have super high Uber and Lyft driver ratings.  However, my human insists that I learn to back up a boat trailer.  I feel like my accomplishments are undervalued.  How about a little recognition under the tree?  I promised not to pee on it!
  4. A new life jacket.  It is important for dogs to wear a life jacket while on a boat or dock.  I have gained a little weight and my jacket is a little snug.  Please make it adjustable.  I plan to lose the weight before beach season.
  5. A Peloton bike so I can get back into shape.  If I can drive and back up a boat trailer, riding a bike should be a breeze.  The Spring fashion line up for dogs is most revealing.  If I ever encounter a fashion designer, I swear I will bite them.
  6. A three-month supply of Z-Man Finesse TRD lures in The Deal and Hot Snakes colors.  My human spends entirely too much time at the tackle store.  To tell the truth, he should spend that time learning to throw a stick.  His throwing technique is embarrassing.  All the other dogs laugh at him.
  7. Santa, I have been a good dog.  Please make a note of it. 

Brody and I wish you the happiest of holidays.  Give yourself a present and go fishing. 

Smart Dog

Brody on the way to his office

Recently, the weather has been very comfortable.  As such, Brody (the amazing fish finding and stock trading dog) and I have been spending a lot time outside.  Brody loves to sleep in the sunshine on the floating dock.  From this vantage point, he can inspect all the boats that pass by.  To my surprise, many of them stop and greet Brody by name.   Most of them ask Brody where the fish are.  A few ask for a stock pick.  Then, they notice me and out of politeness ask me as question so I don’t feel left out.  This week, Brody and I will endeavor to answer all your questions.

Brody says, with shorter days and cooler water temperatures, Trout and Redfish are schooling up and feeding aggressively.  On the falling tide, predators are holding in the mouth of creek drains waiting for the tide to bring them an easy meal.  Brody recommends a run and gun fishing strategy.  Basically, keep moving until you find actively feeding fish.  This time of year, the fish are stocking up before the lean days of winter arrive.  If they are holding in a creek drain, they will be eating.

Brody asked me to remind you that he is a dog.  As such, he does not hold any “human” stock trading certifications.  With Brody’s disclaimer out of the way, he has an option to buy Apple at $109. 

As for the election, Brody voted by mail-in ballot.  However, he is unwilling to reveal who he voted for.  Also, Brody says the rumor that he considering a run for the presidency in 2024 is absolutely false.   But he does want to be the next Governor of South Carolina.

Many of the people who stop by the dock ask me, what is it like to be Brody’s assistant?  Challenging but I love my job!

Island Fishing Tournament

My Tournament Crew

One of my favorite fishing events is the Daniel Island Inshore Fishing Club member tournament.  However, I think we should rename the event to the member “fun-a-ment” because everyone has fun.   The purpose of the tournament is to meet new members, fish and have fun.   So, current members host new members on their boats. My crew for the event was Gus Musmanno and Nathan Holleman.  Gus is a freshman a Bishop England and an avid angler.  Nathan and I live near each other, but this was out first time to fish together.

Conditions were perfect on Saturday.  Clear skies, warm temperatures and calm winds had me feeling pretty good about catching a few fish.  As we idled away from the dock, we agreed to focus more on fun and less on winning the event.  After a short run, we started fishing in an oyster laden channel.  I picked up a rod with Z-Man StreakZ 3.75 on a Trout Eye Finesse jig and cast to a submerged oyster bar.  A Trout immediately ate the lure.  We were off to a good start.  Gus and Nathan began casting Z-Man Finesse TRD lures to the same oyster bar and began catching fish.  Most were small but we submitted a few larger specimens for the tournament by texting a picture of the fish on a ruler to the event message thread. 

When the bite slowed down, Gus began making lure and retrieve adjustments until he started catching fish again.  Pretty advanced fishing technique.  I was impressed.  He is a great angler and an even better young man.  Nathan had a knack for catching fewer but larger fish and he ended up winning the Trout division. 

On the ride back to the dock, we tried to count the number of fish we caught and released.  After a few minutes, we quit counting and agreed it a lot.  A lot of fish and a lot of fun. 

Shrimp Season

Recently, while on my daily pilgrimage to Publix, some one stopped me and asked two questions.  Can you really catch shrimp in the waters around Daniel Island?  What does Brody do when he is not finding fish or trading stocks? 

In regard to catching shrimp, the answer is a resounding yes!  Especially, this year.  An unusually warm winter has contributed to a bumper crop of shrimp in our rivers and creeks.   Shrimp baiting season is now open, and everyone is reporting good catches around Crab Bank and Bulls Bay.  Shrimp baiting is a simple affair.  You place (up to ten) marker poles in shallow water and toss shrimp bait around the poles.  After waiting a few minutes, you throw a cast next over your bait.  Viola, shrimp dinner.  While shrimp baiting is a highly productive technique, these days I more often than not catch my shrimp by deep holing.  This technique allows me to fish when the tide is moving (and the fish are feeding) and switch to shrimp when the tide slows down.  On the surface, deep hole shrimping sounds simple.  Position your boat over a twenty to forty-foot depth transition and throw your deep hole net.  If the net lands on a concentration of shrimp you probably have enough for a nice dinner.  The trick is to determine the depth that the shrimp are in and then to calculate the set and drift of the net to land in the appropriate depth.  Given variables like current, wind and the sink rate of your net it can be tough to get the net to land in the right spot.  But, when you do, it is a great way to catch shrimp!  Typically, I toss the deep hole net 5 to 10 times and this produces enough shrimp for a dinner or two.

Finding fish and trading stocks keeps Brody pretty busy.  It seems there is not enough time in the day.  Soon as the market closes, Brody shuts down his trading station and runs to the end of the dock.  If we do not go fishing, he sits on the dock and looks for fish.  This time of year, he does not have to look very much.  The creeks are full of Trout, Flounder and Redfish that are feeding aggressively before the lean days of winter. 

The best fishing and shrimping of the year is happening right now.  Get out and enjoy it. 

Brody Fishing Forecast

Brody Bossing Me

On Labor Day, the stock market was closed.  This provided Brody, the amazing fish finding and stock trading dog, with a little time off.  I figured he would sleep late and then drive his golf cart to IMPISHI for brunch.  Brody actually drives pretty well.  Although, he has not yet fully mastered backing up the boat trailer.  To my surprise, Brody woke up early and wanted to go fishing.

We pulled away from the dock shortly after sunrise.  The morning was calm and kind of cool.  Our plan was to fish top water lures near oyster bars being submerged by the rising tide.  I pulled up to the first location and Brody gave me no indication that fish were there.  It looked perfect, so I decided to fish the area anyway.  Brody laid down on the deck and gave me the “you won’t catch any fish here” look.  Try as I might, he was correct.  Not even as single bite.

So, we moved to another oyster bar.  When I stopped the boat, Brody gave me the same look.  This time, I just kept moving.  At the next oyster bar, Brody jumped up and gave a single bark.  I took this to mean “fish here stupid”.  So, I did.  On the first cast to the submerged oyster bar, a Trout crushed the Zara Spook top water lure.  I glanced over at Brody.  He shook his head and gave me the “I don’t even know why I fish with you” look. 

For the next hour, we enjoyed steady action from Trout and Ladyfish.  They were not particularly large, but they were fun to catch.  After releasing a dozen or so fish, Brody gave me the “it is time for breakfast” look.  I was getting pretty hungry myself, so we called it a morning. 

Fall is officially here, and the best fishing of the year is about to take place.  Well, at least that is what Brody says!

Birthday Fishing

Birthday Party Crashed by Trout

Years ago, I decided to celebrate my birthday by going fishing.  Of course, since I fish pretty much every day, fishing on my birthday is inevitable.  Therefore, every day is my birthday.  Well, that is what I tell myself.   

On Saturday, it really was my birthday.  So, I invited my brother Dave and his son-in-law Andrew to go fishing.  We launched about 7:30 AM.  The sky was overcast, the wind was calm, and the tide was just beginning rise.  Perfect conditions for deep hole shrimping.  Collectively, we decided to shrimp first and fish later. 

Upon arrival at Crab Bank, I began idling around the depth transition from 20 to 40 feet and looking for shrimp on my fish finder.  Once located, I stopped the boat and Dave cast his 12-foot deep hole net.  It took a minute or two for the net to hit the bottom (25-feet below).  Dave pulled the net back to the boat and it was loaded with Shrimp.  We cast the net one more time and had enough Shrimp for a big family dinner.  Shrimp baiting season opens in a few weeks.  Based upon our results on Saturday, I expect the season to be a good one. 

With shrimp in the cooler, it was time to go fishing.  Given the flat calm conditions, I decided to look around the harbor for Jacks.  Clearly, the Jacks forgot is was my birthday.  They failed to show up for the party.  That’s OK, I am used to Jacks hurting my feelings.  Trout, on the other hand, just love me and crashed the party in great numbers.  They were eating a Z-Man TRD Ned Rig like I eat birthday cake, fast and furious.  For the most part, every marsh point and oyster bar being swept by the incoming tide held hungry Trout.  Dave, Andrew and I would sometimes be fighting fish simultaneously.  Trout sure know how to throw a birthday party.  I hope they know; every day is my Birthday!

Epic Fail

Before I became obsessed with Jacks

Anglers can be very creative when explaining why they did not catch any fish.  After getting abused by a large Crevalle Jack last week, I dedicated this week to getting even.  Every moment on the water was spent looking for a school of Jacks upon which I could take my revenge.  Sadly, the Jacks once again got the better of me.  So, here are my excuses for not catching a Jack.

Excuse number one – Brody (the amazing fish finding and stock trading dog), opted out on my quest for Jack revenge.  He muttered something along the lines of “You put on a fur coat and stand in the blazing sun for hours; see how much fun you have”. 

Excuse number two – I put on a fur coat and stood in the blazing sun for hours and passed out from heat stroke.  Brody was right.  It was not much fun.  To make matters worse, I lost two days of fishing while recovering from heat stroke.

Excuse number three – Severe dehydration from wearing a fur coat in 92-degree temperatures reaggravated my back injury.  It is impossible to catch a Jack when you cannot stand up straight.   However, on the bright side, I am a finalist for the lead role in the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Excuse number four – Subconsciously, I do not want to catch a big Jack.  Thus, I unwittingly sabotage every opportunity to catch one.   I use tackle way to light for the job.  Hooks that are not strong enough.  Oh yeah, and fish in a fur coat.  Who does that?

Clearly, I am obsessed with targeting Jacks.  But, apparently not very good at it.  So, there will probably be even more creative excuses next week!

Back to the Dog Days

Brody Trading Stocks

People that live on Daniel Island have a couple of characteristics in common.  They are nice and genuinely care about the community.  Thus, it should not have been a surprise when so many people reached out to wish me a quick recovery from my back injury.  I am happy to report that it is feeling much better.  Thanks for all the get well soon wishes.

What does a guy that fishes every day do when he cannot fish?

Brody (the amazing fishing finding and stock trading dog) wakes me up at 6:30. As smart as he is, Brody has not yet mastered operation of the TV remote.  So, I must turn on the TV and set the channel to the financial news.  Brody likes to be well informed before placing his first trades of the day.

Brody’s breakfast is served promptly at 7:30. His favorite is an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese.  Brody takes his coffee black with a couple of cubes of ice.  He hates to burn his tongue when drinking coffee.

At 8:30, Brody takes me for a walk.  This gets us back to the house in plenty of time before the market opens.  Frankly, I am not sure why we rush to get home.  Brody has several trading apps on this iPhone.  To tell the truth, I am very impressed that Siri responds to a barking dog.

When the market opens, Brody sends me to my room.

Now you know why I fish so much!

Back Problems

For the past few weeks, a nagging back injury has limited my fishing and my mobility.  Just about the time it gets to feeling better, I do something stupid (like going fishing) and set my recovery back.  This week I decided to truly limit my fishing.  Not surprisingly, my back felt much better.  On Saturday afternoon, I was bored and could move around without a significant amount of pain.  So, I decided to go for a boat ride.  Not one of my better decisions.

The boat ride went fine.  However, things went downhill when I returned to the dock.  There was another boat tied to the floating dock but there was plenty of room for me to tie up the Pathfinder.  The tide and the wind were at my stern, moving me toward the dock.  Rather than circle around and dock into the wind and the tide (which how I usually do it), I decided to ease the bow near the floating dock, step off the boat and tie up.  Then, let the wind and tide bring the boat around to the dock.  Easy stuff.  I have done it literally hundreds of times without incident.  This time was different story.  When I stepped from the boat to the dock, my back seized up.  Subsequently, I did not secure the bow. The wind and tide brought the stern of my boat around and into the side of the boat tied up at the dock. 

In pain and totally embarrassed, I expected an angry response from the other boat owner.  However, they were gracious and kind.  In return for their kindness, I would like to take them fishing (when my back is better).  Please reach out.  I will feel guilty if you do not allow me to return the kindness.

Not much of fishing report.  But I am including a picture of a Red Snapper from last week.