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. 

Good Luck Jack!

This week, I felt my age.  On Monday, I pulled a muscle in my back.  On Tuesday, I could barely get out of bed (much less go fishing).   So, I spent most of the week laying about feeling sorry for myself.  Thankfully, my back recovered enough to fish with Jack Gardner on Sunday.   Jack and I have been fishing together since he was in middle school.  He is now an alumnus of The Citadel and beginning his career in Virginia.  Sunday was the last opportunity for us to fish together before he left town.  I was not going to miss it!

Circumstances were not optimal on Sunday.  Strong winds made for rough conditions and poor water clarity.  If this was not our last fishing trip before Jack left town, I would have cancelled.  It was that awful.  Our first stop was a marsh point swept by the current of the outgoing tide.  It was exposed to the wind and the waves.  Given limited mobility due to my back, not falling out of the boat was a major accomplishment!  We cast Z-Man Finesse TRDs on 1/5-ounce NedlockZ jigs to the marsh point and let the tide sweep our lures into deeper water.  It was difficult fishing.  Thankfully, we managed to catch a few Trout and a Flounder.  So, our attention turned to completing the inshore slam with a Redfish.  As we ran from place to place in search of a Red, Jack and I recalled memories from each spot that we visited.  We shared stories.  We laughed a lot.  I marveled at the person he had become. 

Jack and I did not catch many fish, but we did take the opportunity to catch up.  Perhaps, that is the best catch of all. 

Fishing vs. Catching

Fishing and Catching Are Not Synonymous!

Fishing and catching are not synonymous.  Sometimes, I get to believing that they are.  But Mother Nature always steps in to remind me they most certainly are not.  Saturday was one of those days.  The tide was wonky.  The wind was howling.  The water clarity was abysmal.  It was a tough day for fishing.  Wait, tough is not a suitable description.  Awful, that is a better word.  Simply awful.  To tell the truth, I was not even having fun.

The search for synonymous took me from Daniel Island, throughout the harbor all the way to the end of the jetties.  After catching no fish, I ran the Pathfinder back up the Wando past the Highway 41 bridge.  Still no fish.  It was frustrating to say the least.  With literally no place else to look, I let the boat drift along the edge of the marsh and told my crew, David and Andrew, we should call it day.  They readily agreed.  As we got ourselves situated for the ride back to Daniel Island, I spotted a Redfish tailing in the marsh and it was moving toward us!  As quietly as possible, I nudged the bow of the Pathfinder into the edge of the Spartina.  To our amazement, the Redfish swam within easy casting distance of the boat.  Andrew cast a Z-Man 4-inch PaddlerZ into the path of the Red.  We held our collective breath and were elated when the fish ate the lure.  Our hoots and hollers could be heard from miles away.

After landing the fish, taking a few pictures and letting it go, we could not stop smiling and laughing.  That fish changed the day from awful to joyful.   It also served as a reminder that fishing and catching are most certainly not synonymous.

Dog Days

Brody, the amazing fish finding and stock trading dog

With Memorial Day in our rearview mirror, the dog days of Summer are just ahead.  However, when your fishing partner is Brody, the amazing fishing finding and stock trading dog, every day is a dog day.

In warm weather, the best bite is typically at first light.  So, Brody and I get out early.  Around 5:00 AM on Saturday, I was having a wonderful dream about being kissed by a Victoria’s Secret super model.  As it turns out, Brody was licking me on the face to wake me up and go fishing. 

On the way to the boat landing, we stopped at Refuel for coffee, chicken biscuits, drinks and ice.  Brody’s job was to grab the drinks while I picked up everything else.  Upon meeting at the cash register, Brody had a 12-pack of Coast Island Lager.  After explaining that beer is not adequate for warm weather hydration, he reluctantly agreed to return the beer and select something else.  In the blink of an eye, Brody came back with Truly Hard Seltzer Berry Mix.  With daylight rapidly approaching, we agreed to disagree and paid for our stuff.

We reached the end of the jetties, just after sunrise.  The wind light and the seas were calm.  Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish were busting minnows on the surface.  I deployed the trolling motor and spot locked the Pathfinder an easy casting distance from the end of the rocks.  Brody was looking at a 15-pound spinning outfit rigged with a Shimano 21-gram Colt Sniper jig.  So, I picked it up, made a long cast and began a high-speed retrieve.  A big Bluefish crushed the jig.  The Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish were fired up and feeding aggressively.  We kept a few of the smaller Bluefish for bait to target sharks behind shrimp trawlers.  When the incoming tide slowed down, the bite turned off.

It was time for sharks.  I positioned the Pathfinder a good distance behind a trawler and cast a 30-pound class spinning outfit rigged with a small Bluefish on 6/0 circle hook.  It only took a few seconds for a large Spinner shark to eat the Bluefish.  It jumped several times before settling in for a punishing fight.  It took 30-minutes to catch and release the shark.  By then, I was hot and thirsty.  The Truly Hard Seltzer was cold, tasty and refreshing.   Sadly, I could only drink one because Brody refused to be the designated boat driver.

With shark checked off the list, we turned our attention to Bull Redfish back at the jetties.  I began casting a Z-Man 5-inch Jerk ShadZ on a 3/8-ounce jig to the rocks.  After several minutes and a couple of lost jigs, we checked Bull Redfish off the list and called it a day.

Other than the face licking episode, I love the dog days of summer.

Take What She Gives You

When fishing, you just have to take what Mother Nature gives you.  Or, be willing to stay home.  On Sunday, Mother Nature gave us conditions that had me thinking about staying home.  A strong wind blowing against the incoming tide made for standing waves in the Wando River.   The heavy wave action made for poor water clarity.  Simply awful conditions for targeting Trout on the fly.  While preparing my skiff to launch, the thought of going home did cross my mind.  I was on the fence.  So, I asked Brody (the amazing fishing finding and stock trading dog) what we should do.  He responded by jumping into the skiff.  We were going fishing. 

It was a wet and bumpy ride up the Wando.  Brody and I quickly changed plans and tucked into the relative calm of Beresford Creek.  We pulled up to a wind sheltered shoreline with lots of oyster bars.  The water clarity was not great but is was better than everyplace else.  In these conditions, the fly rod was out of the question.  I picked up my favorite 8-pound class spinning outfit and tied on a Z-Man 1/5-ounce NedlockZ jig with a Finesse TRD lure.  After the wet ride, Brody was more interested in getting dry than finding fish.  So, I made a random cast to an irregular spot in the shoreline and a Trout ate the Finesse TRD.  Somehow or another, Brody and I stumbled upon a hot Trout bite.  Most were small, in the 12 to 14-inch range but we did not care.  Awful conditions.  Lots of Trout.  We thanked Mother Nature!

For the next few hours, we searched for areas out of the wind with oysters and better water clarity.  Almost every time we found this combination of elements, we also found Trout.  I patted Brody on the head and thanked him for making me go fishing.  A few minutes later it started to rain.  Brody said it was time to go home.  Who am I to argue with a fish finding and stock trading dog?  We called it a day.

Shark Fishing

Shark on Shark Violence

Sharks are an overlooked sportfishing species.  They are large, powerful and abundant.  However, they can be a bit of a challenge to catch and release.  Especially, if you target them with lures.  This week, I set out to do just that.

Recently, at the nearshore reefs, small sharks have been eating the Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish that I have been catching.  At first this was a frustrating experience.  Upon further reflection, it became a new fishing opportunity.  So, I put away the light tackle and began casting a Shimano Flat Fall jig on 30-pound class spinning tackle.  After a few casts, a small shark ate the jig.  The 3-foot shark was over matched by the heavier tackle and it quickly came to the boat.  While I was trying to take a boat side picture of the little shark, a big shark ate it.  Somehow, the 6-foot shark got hooked in the mouth by the Flat Fall jig and a battle of epic proportions began. 

The initial run was fast, taking nearly all the line off the 30-pound class spinning reel.   Thankfully, the shark made a U-turn and swam right back to the boat.  This allowed me to recover most of the 30-pound PowerPro fishing line.  When the shark saw the boat, it turned and made another long run.  For the next 30 minutes, this process was repeated several times.  At one point in the fight, I thought about breaking the shark off.  But I knew without a photo, it did not really happen.  So, the battle continued.  Eventually, by some miracle, the big shark came to the boat.  After taking several pictures, I released the behemoth and watched it swim away.  For some reason, I thought this was funny and spent the next few minutes laughing. 

Yes.  Sharks are an overlooked sportfishing species!