In a recent column I wrote about trolling for spottail bass. A number of readers suggested I include other methods employed, and which ones I preferred. The following is offered on their behalf.
While some fishermen will employ the suggestion of using spinners and trolling spoons, many more will anchor and toss natural baits. This technique will work perfectly with favorable tides, provided you are using the right bait. I generally use a 30-pound spinning outfit and a standard fish-finder rig with a 6-ounce pyramid sinker.
An added plus is the right hook size, I prefer to use 8/0 in either a "J" or circle hook. I like to use J hooks because my preferred bait -- blue crab -- dictates a bait rig hook with a longer shank than a circle hook. Personal experience has shown I get more hook sets with crab using J hooks.
Other baits in this field are spots, mullet and fiddler crabs. Be cautious with your hook sets, as there are abundant bait-stealers this time of the year. Crabs, shark and numerous other species find these baits equally tempting.
If you decide to use live blue crab, take a few more steps with your rigging. A trick the late Jack Skinner shared many years ago was to remove the spine tips on the front and back of the shell and the claws. Using an 8/0 J hook, run the hook point up from the bottom at the rear of the crab, pierce the shell and expose the tip of the hook.
I have found the perfect period to be just before first light with an outgoing tide. The last two hours work best. Time your arrival to be rigged, ready to drop anchor and make that first cast before the sun breaks the horizon. Points and channels at the mouth of feeder creeks are outstanding. You may also do well around oyster beds if you locate one that has a large mud rise on the opposing side of the tide.
OYSTER SEASON CLOSED
The South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department closed this year's oyster season May 15. Shellfish harvesting is prohibited during the summer months because of higher bacterial levels that occur when water temperatures are above 80 degrees. This year's clam season will close Monday, May 31. Shellfish harvesting is expected to reopen Oct. 1.
During the 2011 deer season, it is estimated that a total of 120,407 bucks and 106,051 does were harvested for a statewide total of 226,458 deer. This represents a 1.2 percent increase in harvest from 2010.
Beaufort County had 782 residents participate in hunting last year, with a 74-percent success rate. County residents took 673 bucks and 654 does for a total harvest of 1,327.
Also during the 2011 period, 187 wild hogs and 83 coyotes were taken in Beaufort County.
Although wild hogs inhabit a relatively small portion of the state as a whole, during 2011 an estimated 32,494 wild hogs were harvested by hunters in South Carolina, which is a decrease of 10.8 percent from 2010. Evidence of the presence of hogs was found in all 46 counties. The top five counties for wild hog harvest per unit area were Allendale (6.5 hogs/mile), Marion (4.3), Abbeville (4.1), Hampton (3.2) and Dorchester (3.0).
If you have questions regarding this survey, please call 803-734-3886 or write 2011 Deer Hunter Survey, SCDNR, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202.
An angler is a man who spends rainy days sitting around on the muddy banks of rivers doing nothing because his wife won't let him do it at home. -- Author Unknown