Mild winter weather is confusing for angler and fish alike

rodcrafter@islc.netJanuary 28, 2012 

Fishing lately has been a stage of enthusiastic actors playing to an audience of uninterested critics. While the fish are present, their willingness to participate has left a good bit to be desired.

The weather has been good, baitfish are plentiful and waters are clear. The problem, as I see it, is transition. Fluctuations in water temperatures and seasonal patterns cause confusion to the angler and the fish they seek. To say this has been a mild winter thus far would be an understatement. I'm not complaining, it's just the fact that what may work for us may not be working for our sport.

Spottail bass are schooled in good numbers close to grass and feeder creeks. Trout are favoring grass as well, and are not easily spooked. Sheepshead are visible around the docks and bridge pilings, and there are good numbers of smaller species as well as large concentrations of bottom fish from the outer structures.

However, bragging rights have been minimal.

RIVER ACTION

The weather confusion does not seem to have made a difference to equally abundant freshwater stripers. Action on the Combahee River and the lower portion of the Edisto for stripers (rockfish) has been exceptional.

Normally, Lowcountry stripers will seek the worst winter weather to make a move, but apparently they are not affected by the latest seasonal discrepancy. Large red/white jigs fished around the deep banks of the Wimbee north to the 17 bridge have shown excellent returns. The west bank of the Edisto south along the drops and close to tree lines also has been good. Trolling deep divers in the center water is working, as is casting spoons and jigging the deeper bends of both rivers.

So, if your itch still needs to be scratched, you might try a bit of less-seasoned water; the results may prove rather interesting, and you'll still have fresh fish for supper.

Caution: There was a good bit of debris floating along the west bank of the Edisto the past few days. Gerald Foster and Bill Tomey, while happy with their returns in fish, were a bit surprised when their boat hit a submerged log just south of the bridge. Gerald stated it looked as if the log came from a dock or pier, and he advises all boats to travel with caution in the area.

A BETTER DEFINITION

Someone asked me how my wife puts up with my constant outdoor pursuits. I simply stated that she enjoyed the outdoors and often accompanied me on my excursions.

With that, the query seemed to get a bit more personal -- "Would you define your wife as being a fishwife?"

I thought I already had answered the question, but elaborated a bit more to make sure my point was clear.

"Fishwife" carries with it a degree of propriety that might not translate correctly. For clarity, let me just say that I define my bride in this way: one who has long suffered the addiction of another destined for great things not yet accomplished. In this way, I engender a tone of sympathy and understanding.

TACKLE TIP

If you are having trouble with spinning reels and twisted lines, there is an answer.

Most fishermen use the bail far too often. By this, I mean there is an alternative to tripping the bail with the reel handle.

The first few inches of line are twisted on because you are forcing the spool to move opposite the direction intended. By hand-tripping the bail, you move the spool in the right direction, thereby saving yourself from the proverbial bird's nest or, as we old pros like to say, professional overruns.

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