Fishing finally starting to pick up around Beaufort waters

August 20, 2011 

Fishing reports have been slow but are beginning to show promise. With oppressive heat during the day, the best times for saltwater fishing tend to be before 10 a.m. and, depending on the rains, after 5 p.m.

The most active fish are spottail bass and flounder, with each species preferring clear waters but making some exceptions. Shallow waters are the place to be early and at the turn of the tide. Natural baits are best, with few artificials producing. Cast to structure and stay clear of open waters. Favored offerings are shrimp, mud minnows, cut mullet and small cuts of fresh baitfish.

Captain Wally reports some activity offshore at Beaufort 45 and the Gordon Reef. He said good numbers of five-pound Spanish mackerel are hitting trolled spoons in the area -- a bit late but well worth the trip.

Anglers wishing for a bit of change have ventured into fresher waters. Action from the Combahee and Edisto rivers has shown slightly better than saltwater. The bonus is less travel and more fishing. The rivers are producing fair catches of catfish using cut and stink baits, while crappie and bream are staying over the brush and preferring live worms and crickets.

While deeper waters may hold the cats, they are sharing the area with largemouth bass. Often, bass will move to deeper points and vertical banks when the water is hot and oxygen levels are low. Locate such an area close to a point with moving water and stick around.

Best baits are artificial worms and Carolina rigs tipped with shrimp or a live nightcrawler. Some activity can be expected early in the morning with prop baits and topwater. I prefer blue artificial worms, one-fourth-ounce bullet weights, rattles and light lines rigged Texas style. But suit yourself, as the bite is unpredictable.

Local Coordinator Honored

Staff Sgt. Lynwood Kearse of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources law enforcement division has been named Wildlife Officer of the Year by the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA).

The award recognizes an individual that goes well beyond the normal call of duty as a wildlife officer.

Kearse, a 25-year veteran, is the coordinator of the SCDNR's "Take One Make One" program. He is also involved with SCDNR's Mobility Impaired Hunts across the state and works with the Lowcountry chapter of Safari Club International and the ACE Basin Branch of the QDMA, and he supports the annual Mobility Impaired and Wounded Warriors Deer and Hog Hunt in southeastern South Carolina.

Fripp Island Kingfish Tournament

The 21st Fripp Island Kingfish Invitational Tournament will highlight Labor Day weekend for fishermen such as myself.

With a $5,000 payout and proceeds from the event to be donated to the American Cancer Society, this is your opportunity to share in a great tournament with a worthy cause. There will be a captains meeting followed by a cookout from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 2.

Fishing will begin Sept. 3 at 6 a.m., with weigh-in from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. An awards ceremony will follow with the largest king mackerel claiming $2,000 and second place winning $1,000. The largest aggregate weight of two kings will rake in $700, the largest Spanish mackerel wins $750, and the second-largest Spanish wins $550.

Only one winner per person in each category. For more information call 838-1517.

JOKE TIME

Two elderly fishermen, Jeb and Earl, were chatting when Jeb decided to play his hand at a bit of ribbing. Turning to Earl he said, "The wife got me an SUV for my 75th birthday last week, and I didn't get so much as a card from you."

Earl replied, "Jeb, you darn well know I called you on your birthday. Besides, where would I get the money to buy you an SUV?"

Jeb started to chuckle and said, "Well, according to the wife it ain't that expensive when SUV stands for Socks, Underwear and Viagra."

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