Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through the alley. -- Anonymous
While the big mark has been centered around the arrival of cobia to offshore waters, opportunity was halted due to winds and rains.
Closer to the bank, inshore anglers have been blessed with outstanding returns of a variety of species, the most dominant of those being spottail bass and sheepshead. Bass have broken the pattern and are congregating more along the drops and ledges of deeper feeder creeks and main river points. Schools are positioned in areas that provide the greatest flow of water from the shallows during tidal changes, and singles are leaving the group to chase baits, which is an added bonus to overzealous anglers using artificials.
Sheepshead are tightly packed around inshore structures and are taking baits easily. Fiddlers are the norm but, oddly enough, strip baits of squid also have produced. Strong, short shank circle hooks make the catching easier when coupled with long rods and strong leader. Piers, bridge pilings, sea walls, oyster beds and rock formations are presently holding heavyweights.
Other inshore species have included a good many whiting, which are hitting small bits of shrimp on light lines as well as shark, which are not as finicky and hit most, if not any, bait tossed in their direction.
Each of these tournaments fully participate with the SC Department of Natural Resources in their on-going study of cobia species, especially as it pertains to the Port Royal and St Helena sounds. For information, call 843 489-7142.
SEA ISLAND FLY FISHERS
The next meeting of the Sea Island Fly Fishers will be 6 p.m., April 11, at Bay Street Outfitters in Beaufort. Following a social hour, the club will recognize the winner of its recent fly-only redfish tournament, Tom Blair. Blair won with five fish, and receives a trophy and $100 gift certificate.
The scheduled program presentation will be on cobia fishing. The club's perennial winner of its fly-caught-cobia competition, Paul Burton, will share his secrets on finding and catching these great fighters.
The public is invited to attend, especially if interested in fly fishing. For more info, call Jack Baggette at 843-522-8911.
Don't dump your bait: It has been well documented that freshwater lures attract saltwater fish. Most lures are molded plastic and will survive the rigors of saltwater with little or no damage. While you may opt to change the hooks, delaying the change will provide many trips before corrosion makes it necessary. Colors may fade faster, but this can be delayed as well by rinsing your lures in freshwater after each use.
A variety of lures will increase your chances of a hook-up, so don't dump freshwater lures for more expensive saltwater versions. Rummage through your tackle box, modify a few freshwater lures and get back on the water. Some of the action you experienced while tossing a lure along freshwater lakes and rivers can be rekindled.
The bonus of adding another page to your fishing arsenal just adds more pleasure to the sport. Some tried and true lure types include plastic worms, spinner baits and soft-body versions.