Stokes: We're blessed with alternatives

rodcrafter@islc.netJune 16, 2013 

With the abundant wildlife, numerous fish species and outdoor privileges afforded its citizens, there is little doubt that we live in a sportsman's paradise.

Given the vast expanse of water that surrounds us, many feel saltwater fishing is their only option. However there are opportunities unnoticed and too often undiscovered.

A good many visitors and residents of the Lowcountry are unaware we have outstanding freshwater fishing in the vicinity as well.

The Ace Basin (Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto) rivers hold some of the best freshwater fishing to be found in the area. Although not as pristine due to tidal influences, these brackish waters still maintain outstanding bream, crappie, catfish, striper and largemouth bass.

Closer to home numerous lagoons, plantation ponds and golf course waters are available as well. These waters are often overlooked but favor large panfish as well as largemouth bass. There are a good many clubs and organizations dedicated to this resource which again are taken for granted.

If you find yourself in a quandary about what to do on any given weekend, why not experience a return to the basics. Give the freshwater scene a visit. Take a kid along. You will be pleasantly surprised.

The species may not be as large, but less stress, less fuel and easier access generates fun for the entire family.

For that matter, recipes are simpler as well, and it's a great way to exercise your options when you have the itch to go but don't wish to break out the big stuff for a few hours on the water or along the bank.

There is hope and optimism. The only drawback is not believing. Every time we fish new waters, we dispel rumors and write a new chapter of which every fish is a reminder.

WHAT TO EXPECT

What Should you expect from "tap" water fishing? If the urge to get to it has you wondering where to go, the best choice at this time is the Combahee River.

I fish this river often, and in the many years I have tossed and lost lures along its bank, I do not recall another time it has been as active.

Ditto on the choice of lures -- white top water, not one I normally associate with moving water. But recent catches of huge largemouth has me reconsidering.

The Ashepoo is slower, but large black crappie are seeking small hooks tipped with Louisiana Pinks or large nightcrawlers.

No success stories on the lower Edisto, but higher up, numerous full strings of panfish and bass have been reported.

Jimmie Daves summed it up when he recently said, "I think the fish are confused. Colder-than-normal waters and large amounts of rain have thrown them off their normal patterns."

Whatever your choice or location -- be it fresh or salt, inshore or offshore -- the fishing has been strong. Perhaps not up to par for some, but for the majority, it's been good enough to get us off the couch, out of the yard and onto the water.

TACKLE TIP

Loose Rods -- The best way to keep sectional rods from separating while fishing is to employ a light sanding. Lightly roughing the male end of the ferrule with 400 grit sandpaper breaks the glaze enough to prevent separation while fishing and will cut down on rod rotation as well.

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