Day One on the Heron

Salt Marsh Redfish

Elliott stopped poling long enough to get a few of these

Got this guy on the first cast from the Heron!

Day number one on the Salt Marsh Heron was simply epic.  The wind was calm and the water was clear.  Perfect conditions to try out the new skiff.  Right away, the Heron exceeded my expectations.  It was easy to pole, floated shallow and extremely quiet.  Elliott poled me within 30 feet of the first school of Redfish we encountered.  The Reds did not seem to know we were there.  It was cool to watch them track the fly and see the strike.  We caught several fish and watched each one eat the fly.  The longest cast we had to make all day was 30 feet.  Fishing from the Heron will be up close and personal.  Just the way I like it!

The Heron performed well with the Etec 60.  Cruise at 4000 RPMs  was 25 MPH.  The highest RPM I hit today was 4800 and the GPS speed was 30 MPH.  So, the skiff has plenty of speed for my purposes.

It was flat calm today.  So, I did not get a chance to try the skiff in choppy conditions.  However, with winter coming, there will be plenty of time for that.

When the tide got into the marsh, Elliott and I switched our attention to Trout.  We made a quick run to a submerged ledge in about 10 feet of water.  I deployed the Minn Kota 55# thrust trolling motor and it easily pulled the skiff against the tide.  We cast Z-Man Trick ShotZ on NedlockZ 1/5 ounce jigs into the current and bounced them along the ledge.  They never bounced very far.  Trout pounced on the Trick ShotZ soon as it hit the bottom.  Strong Trout bite today.

Day number one is in the books.  It was a day to remember.  Very happy that my son, Elliott, was there to share it with me.


Fishing with Friends

Todd Van Hoosier with a Good Redfish

Last week, I sold my trusty Mitzi Skiff to make room for the arrival of my new Salt Marsh Heron. If all goes well, I should take delivery of the new skiff in early November. In the interim, I am limited to fishing with friends on their boats. Thankfully, I have a lot of friends with boats!

On Friday, Todd Van Hoosier invited me to fish with him. We were joined by fellow Daniel Island Inshore Fishing Club member, Dave Twitchell. The tide was falling when we launched Todd’s boat. Our plan was to target Redfish until low tide. One benefit of being a guest and not the boat captain is that I can focus on learning new lures and techniques. Recently, I have been experimenting with the Z-Man Trick ShotZ on a Ned LockZ mushroom head jig. Friday was a good opportunity to practice with the new lure. After a short boat run, Todd stopped at a small channel that drains an expansive shallow area. It only took a few minutes to locate a big school of Redfish. Unfortunately, the Redfish felt our approach and spooked away from the boat. I made a long cast in front of the departing fish and a not-so-smart Redfish ate my lure. Sometimes, it pays to be lucky.

After a quick move to another shallow area, we located another school of Redfish. The school was so shallow that we could often see their backs out of the water. However, the fish never came within casting distance of Todd’s flats boat. Situations like this are perfect for my new Salt Marsh Heron. Technical skiffs are smaller and lighter than a flats boat. As such, they can get into much shallower water. In two weeks (upon delivery of my new skiff), I plan to pay this school of Redfish another visit.

We fished several more locations throughout the afternoon and caught fish pretty much everywhere we fished. But, we never found a truly hot bite. We ended the day releasing 15 to 20 fish. While we did not catch a lot of fish, we had a great day. Good weather. Good friends. Great time. Thanks Todd!

Trick ShotZ

Windy conditions (and a trip to the mountains) limited my local fishing time this week. However, I did brave the wind a few times before heading to the mountains. On those trips, the water was clear and 76 degrees. Perfect conditions for targeting Redfish, Trout and Flounder with lures. Recently, I have been experimenting with a Z-Man Trick ShotZ lure on a mushroom head jig. While I am still refining my technique, early results have been positive. Casting the Trick ShotZ into current seams using a snap and pause retrieve has been producing good numbers of fish. Creek mouths on the falling tide have been particularly good.

Of course, the StreakZ 3.75 is still my favorite lure but the Trick ShotZ is quickly becoming a close second. As the water cools and the fish begin to slow down, I believe the Trick ShotZ will become even more effective. So, I am practicing now in preparation for Winter.

The other day, I fished with a friend who prefers to fish with live bait. On the day of our trip, he was using mud minnows on a quarter ounce lead head jig. We took turns casting to the current seams. Both methods (lures and mud minnows) produced equally well. Regardless of how you prefer to fish, now is the time to fish!

As the days get shorter and the water gets cooler, fishing will improve from very good to great (and possibly even epic). The Cooper and Wando Rivers are full of Trout and Redfish that are schooling up and feeding voraciously. If there is such a time when fishing and catching are synonymous, this is that time. Don’t miss it.

Thanks for the Memories

Over 10 years ago, Tom Mitzlaff made me a Mitzi Skiff with a super light lay up schedule.   Over the years, I fished the skiff hard (pretty much every day) and it has performed and held up very well.  Today, I sold it.

As I cleaned the skiff in preparation for delivery, I recalled countless  memories with my family and friends.  While a skiff is great for fishing, it turns out it is actually a vessel for the creation of memories.

Good bye old friend.  Thanks for the memories!


New Skiff Coming Together

The team at Salt Marsh Skiffs is building my new skiff (a Heron 16).  In a few weeks, I hope to have it in the Lowcountry.  Just in time for some fantastic Fall fishing.  Really looking forward to stalking winter schools of Redfish On the Fly.  Being light, with a shallow draft and very quiet, the Heron is an excellent platform for this style of fishing.

Stayed tuned for more updates.


Take Kids Fishing

In a world filled with electronic devices and a myriad of other indoor activities, it is important to encourage kids to play outside. So, when neighbor’s son, Luke Bishop, dropped by to talk about fishing, we decided to go fishing instead of talking about it. The purpose of our trip was to determine if Trout were already forming large schools in Clouter Creek and the Cooper River. Our plan was to run and gun (try a bunch of locations) until we located large concentrations of Trout. Typically, in the Fall, Trout congregate around creek mouths on the falling tide. While we caught a few in these areas, they did not produce the numbers we were looking for. Luke and I kept moving.

After five or six stops at creek mouths, we tried something different, a deep channel. Luke cast a Z-Man StreakZ 3.75 (Pearl) on a Finesse jig into the channel and caught a nice Trout. I cast my lure (a Streak 3.75 Blue Back Herring) into the same area and hooked up as well. For the next 30 to 45 minutes, Luke and I caught a Trout on pretty much every cast. We did not take any pictures because one of us always had a fish on. It was an epic Trout bite. Luke and I released over 50 fish (I even kept a few dinner).

During the non-stop action, I was impressed by Luke’s development as an angler. He was completely self-sufficient. We have fished together many times. Each time, his fishing skills just keep getting better. I feel sure, one day (soon), he will be teaching me about fishing. And that, is that fishing is all about.