Stokes: Trends are looking up for Lowcountry anglers

Special to the PacketOctober 13, 2013 

Penny Malphrus and her 3 1/2-year-old son Gage show off her first-place 4-pound, 10-inch bass during the 21st annual Dottie Dunbar All Woman Fishing Tournament held Oct. 5 at Hilton Head Island's Palmetto Bay Marina. There were 14 anglers. No trout were weighed in. Second place went to Linda Fraser of Hilton Head, with her bass of 1 pound, 7 ounces. Third place went to Cindy Sullivan of Bluffton with her bass of 1 pound, 4 ounces.


The air is getting crisp, hunting seasons are opening and the fish are biting again. This is the beginning of a promising period for anglers. Although it usually happens during the third week of September, for some reason things got off to a slow start. But things are catching up real fast.

The majority of reports have come from shell banks and the skirts of oyster beds. Angler calls have shown the larger feeder creeks with drops and tapered banks are favored.

Active species for the most part have been flounder, spottail bass, trout and sheepshead.

Most of the larger schools of bass have turned for artificials but will not pass an offering of cut mullet. Artificial favorites are gulp shrimp (white) rigged with a chartreuse jig head.

Trout and flounder, on the other hand, have preferred a more subtle pick-up. Trout are taking shrimp while flounder are eagerly hitting mud minnows.

Sheepshead will always favor fiddlers, but will not shy from strips of oyster and clam at this time.

Further from the bank, the Spanish have slowed, but black drum and heavyweight sheepshead are holding close to nearshore reefs in waters of 35 to 70 feet.

A bit beyond, the Sea Wolf reports some nice catches of little tuna (albacore) around the Betsy Ross, and bottom-fishing along the Bea-45 produced good numbers of blackfish but few keepers.

Capt. Wally states: "People do not realize that the fall is a great time to fish offshore when the wind is not blowing hard, which has been nice and better than average this fall."

Muzzleloader season rescheduled

The muzzleloader season for deer has been rescheduled for three S.C Department of Natural Resources coastal heritage preserves in Horry County. To prevent interference with the coastal bear season (draw hunt), muzzleloader hunting for deer on Lewis Ocean Bay, Waccamaw River and Little Pee Dee heritage preserves has been changed to Oct. 16-23 and Nov. 6-9. The limit remains one deer per day with the option to harvest either sex during both of the hunting periods.

Lowcountry Logic

Two buddies drive to the all-under-one-roof store for lumber. One of the men says to a clerk, "We need some 4-by-2s." The clerk asks, "You mean 2-by-4s, don't you?"

"I'll go check," the man replied, and went back to the truck.

He returned shortly and said, "Yeah, I meant 2-by-4."

"All right. How long do you need them?"

The customer paused for a moment and said, "I'd better go check."

After a while, he returned to the office and said, "A long time. We're gonna build a fish camp."

Trout on the Table

I often hear people say that while they like to catch trout, they do not like eating them. To some, the fish is soft and mushy. Others state saltwater trout is too delicate to prepare and lacks flavor.

Ya ain't doing something right.

Try this simple Apple Trout Fillets recipe, and you will want to put trout on the menu more often.

Ingredients: 4 Trout Fillets, 2 tbsp apple juice (from concentrate), 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper, 1 tbsp ground parsley

Gently pat dry fillets and set aside. Mix apple juice concentrate, mustard, vinegar, paprika, pepper in glass bowl then brush lightly on fillets. Place fillets (skin side down) on well greased grill (use tin foil, punctured), over medium heat. Leave lid closed for five minutes, then brush with more sauce. Close lid for another 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Remove fish from grill, gently roll fillet over and remove skin, lightly salt, then brush on remainder of sauce, sprinkle parsley over fillets and serve.

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