If fishing is on the agenda this Memorial Day weekend, you will be pleasantly surprised. Recent weather and water conditions have improved greatly and most species are cooperating.
Cobia: Cobia season has arrived, as you can see by the amount of boats along the skirts and main water of Broad River. Some good runs have been sighted, but large trophies seem to be a bit hard to locate.
There have been a few 60-pounders and below, and one known 84-pounder was taken. Rumor has it that an 80-plus pound specimen came from the Combahee Cut and a 73-pound bruiser destroyed a cooler and fishing rod belonging to a trio of anglers from Allendale.
Things are getting back to normal it seems. Your better baits are menhaden, eels, herring and squid.
Spottail Bass: Feeder creeks close to grass are providing anglers great catches and fish tales. Found in shallow drops along the flats, good numbers are frequenting these areas in search of an easy meal. Best Baits are Mud Minnows, Shrimp, cut strips of mullet, and a variety of artificials. Gulp baits and gold spoons are favored.
Trout: They are hitting fresh and frozen shrimp at and around deeper points and river cuts. Light-lined spinning gear will show best using single hook/midline weight rigs with stout leaders.
Black Drum: They have been hitting cut bait from deep-water drops along bridge and pier pilings. The fish are large and most strikes are swift. A relaxed posture is not the attitude once your bait is in the water.
Sheepshead: Although fiddler crabs are presently scarce, small mussels, strips of raw oyster and shrimp are productive as well. Better catches are from bridge pilings over deep water. In spring water conditions, most sheepshead move to the back side of pilings to pick through shell and mud deposits for a meal.
Whiting: Fresh cuts of Shrimp are the answer for this plentiful dock and bank regular. An easy light-tackle species for a family outing.
Offshore: Offshore anglers have been awarded a mixed bag and are looking for bigger and better in coming weeks. Some hits and misses included Bluefish, Pompano, Spanish Mackerel, Dolphin, Blackfish, and plenty of shark.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will be conducting Memorial Day courtesy boat inspections Sunday. DNR officers will be available to answer questions and give safety tips.
Officers will perform a quick, thorough inspection for required safety equipment, and boat and motor registration. Those who are not in compliance will not be ticketed during the inspections. Instead, they will be given the opportunity to correct the problem before they launch their boat.
Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest periods for water-related interests. Be safe and vigilant. To report unsafe operations, call the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-922-5431.
A day never seems enough to pay tribute to the fallen, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom deserve more. Time is one inseparable allegiance which allows reserve, and so we set aside the last Monday of May to memorialize the known and unknown, our country's heroes.
Long after the beach and cookouts, and we are bound for home, give thought to our arrival. Take time to remember why we have that extra day to add to our summer season of memories.