The best catch in fishing is the bond that it creates between children and their parents. For me, fishing is the very definition of “quality time”. If you want to learn more about fishing on and around Daniel Island, I recommend the Daniel Island Inshore Fishing Club. If you want to begin creating a lifetime bond with your children, do not miss the 9th Annual Kids Fishing Tournament at Smythe Park Lake on June 15 from 8:30 to 10:30.
Speaking of bonds between children and their parents, I recently had the pleasure of fishing with Trent and Grant Gustafson. They are good friends, fellow members of the Daniel Island Inshore Fishing Club and a great example of the best catch in fishing. Our plan was to fish the harbor and nearshore waters, targeting Bull Redfish and Sharks. Typically, these species are pretty easy to catch. However, after fishing multiple sections of the jetties, the Bull Redfish eluded us. No worries, shrimp boats were clearly in sight just outside the jetties. Shrimp boats are Shark magnets. So, we netted up a couple of dozen Menhaden and headed towards the nearest shrimp boat. While I positioned the Pathfinder a respectable distance behind the trawler, Trent rigged a lively Menhaden on an unweighted 5/0 circle hook. Once in position, I let the bay boat drift and Grant cast the Menhaden into the wake of the trawler. This process usually results in an immediate bite from a Shark. Not so, on that day. We moved from shrimp boat to shrimp boat until we finally got a bite.
Grant held the rod as the Shark rapidly peeled 150 yards of 30-pound braid from the 6000 frame Shimano Saragosa spinning reel. The fight was on. For about 30-minutes the outcome was in doubt. Throughout the battle, Trent stood next to Grant and provided encouragement. I thought to myself, this is what fishing is really about. Eventually, Grant wore the Shark down and brought it boat side. Where it thankfully released itself.
By all accounts, we had a very slow day of fishing. Yet, Trent and Grant made the best catch of all, quality time together.
Yesterday, I fished with my old friend and longtime fishing buddy Ben. Back in the day, when I used to guide, Ben was one of my favorite fishing clients. Now, we are good friends that like to fish together.
Ben got this one on a Z-Man StreakZ 3.75 (Blue Back Herring) on a Finesse jig. When I get to be Ben’s age, I hope I can fish like he does!
Over the past few weeks, I have fished the Heron in a variety of conditions. From super shallow on calm days to submerged ledges in a nasty chop, in all situations, the skiff performed flawlessly. Thus, I declare the new skiff Rigged and Ready to Roll!
Finesse Techniques Producing Fishing
Yesterday, was windy and cold. Post cold front conditions made producing fish a bit of a challenge. However, by using my fish finder to locate Trout holding on a ledge in 10 feet of water and vertical jigging a Z-Man TubeZ on a NedlockZ jig, I put together a pretty good day. The bite was very light and it took a good bit of concentration to feel it. On days like yesterday, a light and sensitive tackle system made a big difference.
As winter approaches, post cold front conditions will become the norm. If you want to consistently catch fish in the winter, I recommend finesse!
This week, one of the first cold fronts of the season passed through the Lowcountry. Leaving behind, strong northeasterly winds and lower water temperatures. These conditions are a mixed blessing for anglers. When the wind is blowing against the tide, the Wando River can be downright nasty. However, anglers willing to brave the rough conditions will often find ravenous schools of Trout and Redfish.
On Friday and Saturday, the nasty conditions kept me off the water. On Sunday, conditions were not much better but Elliott and I decided to go fishing anyway. The Wando River was rough but my new skiff handled the chop extremely well. After a short run up river, Elliott and I began fishing on a shallow flat with a slight channel running through it. I cast a Z-Man TRD TubeZ on a 1/5 ounce NedlockZ jig into the channel and erratically hopped the lure back to the boat. Halfway through my retrieve, a Redfish crushed the lure. While I was fighting the fish, Elliott staked the skiff with the Power Pole Micro and fired a cast into the channel. He hooked a Redfish as well. We released our fish and then immediately caught two more. After releasing the second set of fish, we decided to put away the spinning tackle and switch to flyrods. Given the strong breeze, casting was a bit of a challenge. It took me a few tries but I eventually made a long cast into the channel. The fly, a chartreuse Clouser Minnow, was eaten immediately. Elliott and I figured it was another Redfish but when it came to the skiff it was a nice size Trout.
We continued to work the channel with our flyrods and enjoyed steady action with Trout and Redfish. The fish were still biting when a strong gust of wind caught my front cast and the fly hit me in the arm. Good thing the fly was tied on a barbless hook. It came right out and only hurt a little bit. Just enough to convince me it was time to stop fly-fishing.
Conditions on Sunday were not optimal but Elliott and I managed to catch a good number of fish. I even caught myself!
After a few of more trips on the Salt Marsh Heron, I even more impressed with how it performs. My low cruise speed at 4,200 RPMs is 25 MPH. When I am in a hurry, the fast cruise speed at 4,800 RPMs is around 30 MPH. The Evinrude ETEC 60 is a great match for the Heron. Recently, the Redfish and Trout have been on a post cold front pattern and are holding a little deeper. So, I have not been in the ultra-shallow water that I normally fish in. However, I have been surprised by how well the skiff handles open water. In the chop, a little bit of trim tab smooths things right out. The skiff is dry as well. So far, the Salt Marsh Heron is exceeding my expectations.
This week, the fishing slowed down a bit but it is still very good. The post productive technique (for the post cold front conditions) has been erratically bouncing a Z-Man Trick ShotZ on a NedLockZ jig down depth transitions. My new favorite Trick ShotZ color is Twilight. It seems to be what the Trout and Redfish want.
Like Halloween, the fishing this week was scary good! On Saturday, I experienced perhaps the best Trout bite ever. My brother Dave and I were fishing a submerged oyster bar in the harbor. The bar was about 2 feet deep and directly adjacent to deeper water. We cast Z-Man Trick ShotZ on 1/5th ounce NedlockZ jigs on top of the bar and let the incoming tide sweep the lure into deeper water. Our retrieve was a slight jigging action. Trout in the 14 to 20-inch range were crushing the Trick ShotZ before it could hit the bottom. We caught fish on almost every cast.
After releasing 15 to 20 Trout each, we put away our spinning tackle and began casting flies into the area. Results were the same. More Trout! We literally got tired of catching them. So, we left them biting and went deep hole shrimping. The shrimp tricked us. After several casts of the deep hole net, we had zero shrimp. Dave and I debated catching more Trout but decided to target Redfish in the flooded marsh instead. A quick run run up the Wando, put us on a small school of Reds hanging around a shallow marsh channel. I cast a Trick ShotZ ahead of the first fish and it slowly swam forward and ate it. The fight was spirited and the Redfish won. Dave was still making fun of me when the school came back into casting range. He picked up his fly rod and made a quick presentation. A Redfish inhaled the fly as soon as it hit the water. Unfortunately for me, this one did not get away and I was reminded of it for the rest of the day.
Fishing is really good right now. REALLY GOOD! So, treat yourself to some Halloween fun and go fishing.
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.
Picking up the new skiff on Monday! Thanks to the team at Salt Marsh Skiffs for a great build process. Can’t wait to get the Heron home and out on the water. Stay tuned for updates and fish pictures. Lots of fish pictures!
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!