What you expect and what you receive are miles apart whenever unknown factors are part of the game.
Fishing has always been a game of chance -- the chance that fish might cooperate, and the chance you may be in the right place and not just along for the ride. By combining the known and unknown, outdoorsmen are provided at least a 50/50 opportunity to do something correct.
We are at a disadvantage. Theirs is a vast water body of various depths and sanctuaries. Ours is limited to surface waters, and we are faced with many obstacles in our search.
Weather plays the major role, and being subject to our environment, we are forced to make adjustments when conditions dictate a change. Fishing is tough, and our current heat wave doesn't appear to be getting much better anytime soon.
Summer heat is relentless in the Lowcountry, and weekend anglers and boaters often underestimate heat variables. Take precautions to keep yourself out of harm's way by limiting your exposure to times more easily tolerated. Early morning and late evening are more comfortable. Plan your trips to coincide with the tides and keep things light and simple. Cull your fishing gear to fewer rods and stay in familiar areas.
Wade fishing is a great alternative. Many species are active year round, some a bit more tolerable of heat conditions. Among the species are spottail bass (redfish). The fish might not be as big, but the action can be just as exciting.
If you have not done any wade fishing recently, you are missing an opportunity of unparalleled enjoyment.
But before you head out, a precaution is in order: Never wade alone: If you step off a ledge or into a deep hole or get stuck in pluff mud, you will wish you had a partner along.
There are ways to choose quality water over those with hazards. First, study the area you wish to fish at dead low tide and make a mental note of any problem areas. Note the type of grasses present. If you choose a spot with shorter grass, you have found a firm, hard bottom. Longer grasses like spartina tend to grow in deeper waters, along channels or edges of deep holes and drops.
You will find fishing the stubby grass is a lot more safe and less tiresome. Pulling yourself through pluff mud gets old real fast, and it is doubtful many fish will stick around after all the commotion.
Plan the day's events around a successful ending. When the heat gets to be more than you can handle, head home and take a nap under the air conditioning. Rest, relax and think of new ways to prepare your catch for an enjoyable evening meal.
Our leisure time should not be dictated by things beyond our control. Instead, concentrate more on the things we can overcome. It is the matter and the substance of life that are important.
It's summer in the Lowcountry, and we really only have two seasons in the land of sand and shoreline -- one, a time of long sleeves, cool breezes and oyster roasts, the other is reserved for short sleeves, flip-flops and festivals.
And above all else, remember: The best parking place is determined by shade rather than distance.