Outdoors

Stokes: Magazine subscription crisis averted

rodcrafter@islc.netMarch 3, 2013 

I doubt it was intentional, given the fact I am on a first-name basis with the majority, known by the masses and ridiculed by those I choose to ignore.

It usually happens during the second week of January, but for some reason things got off to a poor start. Many calls and a few threats later, I am back on track and the next few weeks will be costly. The magazines have finally arrived and I can begin my trek down the path of fishing and hunting oblivion.

You would think those subscription guys would show a bit more concern for their most ardent purchaser of the new and not necessary.

FISHING TRENDS

Alternate warm and cold fronts have made fishing a bit more of a chore. Feeding patterns are hard to establish and anglers are forced to be satisfied with the minimum. The next week promises improvement; I hope the fish have been informed.

Presently, the most active species and the most numerous from inshore and offshore waters are sheepshead.

The mention of sheepshead often draws attention to bridge and pier, although this is not the case right now. The most active area and those giving up the majority of fish are rocks and old timber. Collapsed and dilapidated sea walls, fallen trees and rotted wood structures seem to be harboring large and numerous sheepshead during the current cold spell. According to my log, this has occurred three times this year with similar weather fronts and may be a developing pattern to follow.

After inspecting the stomach contents of a few well-girthed specimens, it appears sheepshead are targeting mussels, clam and oysters heavily. Shrimp and fiddler crab were low on the menu or too scarce to consider. Two anglers at the landing verified my findings and mentioned that a good bit of activity was coming from the rocks where sand and oyster rises have made deposits. This is another factor I will be following whenever fish are scarce and temperatures fluctuate.

Spottail bass are still present but a lot more skittish and hard to track. When spooked, schools break up quickly and definition is hard to predict.

Trout are slowly taking baits, with artificials the dominant entry. However, the catch is more prone to few and far between.

On the freshwater scene, action seems to have picked up for the ponds and rivers. Largemouth bass, panfish and a substantial number of catfish have taken the hook. Tap-water fishermen seem satisfied with the current trend.

NIGHT HUNTING

Hogs, coyotes and armadillos may be hunted at night with or without the aid of bait, electronic calls, artificial lights, and night vision devices using any legal firearm, bow, or crossbow until July 1 -- but only if you give the S.C. Department of Natural Resources at least 48 hours advance notice.

To register, call the DNR dispatch center at 803-955-4000 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

TACKLE TIP

Retread your tackle box: By purchasing a few sheets of cork lining, you will improve your fishing and save a lot of clean up. Line the drawers and dividers of your tackle box with cork. Your lures will last longer and be more accessible, and cork will keep your tackle box dry and odor-free while making the contents less noisy.

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