Stokes: Lowcountry providing outdoorsmen a dilemma with no wrong answer

rodcrafter@islc.netOctober 7, 2013 

The weather has been good, baitfish are plentiful and the waters are clear. The problem, as I see it, is there is not enough time to do all that is offered.

Between the hunting and fishing, daylight and dark moves a bit too fast and choices need to be made. Lately it seems the decisions are becoming harder and harder -- a heck of a dilemma, but lots of fun.

Spottail bass have been actively tailing in the shallows and along the flats. Best baits are artificials such as gold spoons and shrimp and crab patterns. Better natural baits are mud minnows and shrimp.

With milder weather comes flatfish. Flounder have made a great showing this past week from mud rises along main river cuts and around oyster beds. Trolling mud minnows behind a torpedo rig will show results quickly.

Sheepshead are holding close to pier and pilings and most of the shallow points around bridge drops. Clam, mussel and oyster strips are working when fiddlers are hard to find.

A few scattered trout have been taken but mostly only sighted among the grass edges. Strikes are slow, but when a hook-up occurs the reward is usually a large trout hungry for a quick meal. Shrimp is best.

A few whiting and croaker were reported from the docks hitting shrimp and fresh cuts of baitfish. There are lots of acrobatic ladyfish and some large jack crevalle coming from the main rivers recently and anglers are getting lots of tugs from small shark and rays.

Offshore wrecks and reef structure are giving up a combination of large bottom fish, and the large wahoo are making the trip a bit more manageable while trolling en route.


The Bluffton Marine Rescue Squad's Fallen Members Tournament is coming soon. The captains' meeting will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the MRS Hut in Bluffton (38 Confederate Avenue).

There will be payouts for the largest redfish and sea trout.

MRS is a non-profit organization that is an all-volunteer group dedicated to assisting boaters in distress in our local community. Their primary mission is to assist and support federal, state and local emergency response agencies such as the Coast Guard and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Please support their efforts.

Details: Bobby Heslin 843-816-0213 or Bill Ludwig 843-422-5881


Hilton Head Sail and Power Squadron will be holding a Safe Boating Course on Saturday, Oct. 19 and 26, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hilton Head Boathouse (405 Squire Pope Road). The course will cover boat handling, seamanship, equipment, navigation aids, radio use and more. An optional on-the-water training activity is available. Cost is $75 for one or $125 for two. Contact Leslie Gilroy at 843-785-8876 or go to www.hhsps.org.


The Sportsmen's Act is a bi-partisan effort to protect hunting, fishing and recreational shooting on federal lands and to eliminate many legal loopholes used to impede the sporting community. The Sportsmen's Act was introduced in the Senate by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.

The National Wild Turkey Federation is among the Act's supporters. If you would like to support the Act, contact your congressional representatives to urge their support of the legislation.


A fish scale has rings, like those found when cutting down a tree. These rings can determine the age of a fish in much the same way: one growth ring for every year of age.


When I met Butch for a bit of fishing this week, he appeared a bit down. Most of the morning he simply was not himself. Over coffee, before the launch, I asked him what the problem was.

This was his reply: "A few years ago we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash. Now we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash. It looks like my retirement will involve a bit more fishing and a lot more wishing. "

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service