I was asked by Mary Coldmather, an Atlanta native and longtime reader visiting the Lowcountry, to include this bit of levity in this week's column. Enjoy ...
One recent Sunday, a young boy arrived to his Sunday school class late. His teacher knew that the boy was usually prompt and asked him if anything was wrong.
The boy replied no, that he was going to go fishing, but that his dad told him that he needed to go to church instead. The teacher was very impressed and asked the boy if his father had explained to him why it was more important to go to church than to go fishing.
The boy replied, "Yes, ma'am, he did. My dad said that he didn't have enough bait for both of us."
Despite a few rainy days, fishing has been excellent inshore and offshore. Anglers are gaining the edge on a number of species, and water conditions are more stable with normal salinity levels and only occasional cloudiness or undue sediment in the shallows.
Inshore fishermen are taking good numbers and quality fish from the shallow flats, along grass and weed lines and around rocks and oyster croppings. Mud flats and rises have produced some large flounder, while points and drops are harboring large spottail bass and trout. Inshore species eager to take the hook include spottail bass, flounder, whiting, bluefish, trout, sheepshead, spot, black drum and shark.
Offshore, plenty of floating grass and debris has made trolling a bit hazardous, but for many gamefish, using the ambush tactic conditions couldn't be better.
Offshore species currently active are wahoo, tuna, dolphin, grouper, king mackerel, bluefish, vermillion snapper, grunts, blackfish, shark and triggerfish.
Cobia are moving from Broad River into more defined water bodies. St. Helena Sound and the Betsy Ross are two areas not to be overlooked, as are channel markers and offshore buoys.
Licenses expire June 30. Hunting and fishing license sales for 2012-2013 began June 11.
Know Your Limits
Effective July 1, 2012, fishing laws will change. Among them will be creel, size and possession limits; definitions of water bodies, gear types; and nongame devices allowed by location.
Both fresh and saltwater will be affected. Highlighted at this time is the recent regulation change for sheepshead which took effect June 7. The new sheepshead regulations now allow 10 fish per person per day not to exceed 30 per boat per day with a 14-inch total length minimum size limit. Using circle hooks is no longer a requirement when fishing for sheepshead.
Locals place well in Governors Cup tournament
The first tournament of the series took place over the Memorial Day weekend at the 45th Annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Billfish Tournament. Six-year-old Rance Jennings of Beaufort won first place for Outstanding Youth Angler.
The second round took place June 6-9 at the Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament where Kimberly Smith of Beaufort earned top honors as Outstanding Lady Angler for the release of one blue marlin aboard "Summer Girl." Also "Miss Magnolia," owned and captained by Tram Colket of Hilton Head Island, was awarded second place Outstanding Billfish Boat.
Three tournaments remain in the 2012 Governor's Cup Billfishing Series: Carolina Billfish Classic, June 27-30 at Toler's Cove in Mt. Pleasant. MEGADOCK Billfishing Tournament, July 11-14 at the City Marina in Charleston and The Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament, July 25-28 at Edisto Island.
For information, contact Wally Jenkins at 843-953-9835 or Amy Dukes at 843-953-9365.