I met Mike at a yard sale. A few months later, we wound up in a boat together.
Now, let me set a few things down that will add a slant to his introduction.
First, he is from New York, a condition accepted since his purchase of a home on the island. He has been here a few years so his accent has weakened a bit.
I was relieved that he didn't use the long rods that dominate much of the fishing up north.
Never miss a local story.
His boat is unique, a well modified, reinforced wooden vessel of doubtful lineage. He qualified the craft with his choice of color, canary yellow. Hand painted in all it's glory and stored with by boats twice its size.
I offered my organizational skills a few times, but he would have no part of it. As he explained, "I put it there, I know where it is, and there it will stay."
Maybe not in those exact words, but I got the message. After all, he was captain, and I had not yet qualified to be a worthy deck hand. Time will tell if I am adopted or not.
The days fishing didn't go well -- poor planning, old bait, strong winds and rough seas kept us pinned close to the shoreline.
I did learn one thing quite unexpectedly, however. Mike seems to prefer a more direct approach to his fishing. One I associate more with aggravation than any form of recognized style.
But traits he possesses are that he can handle a boat and he doesn't quit. A position due praise considering some seats I have shared.
I can only hope to learn as much from him as he expects to learn from me. After all we need to hone up on our excuses before the season gets too advanced, and at this junction things look promising.
If you are planning a bit of water time this weekend, things look pretty good. Saturday conditions are predicted as partly sunny, around 78 with a slight west wind. Conditions duplicate Sunday with a high expected in the low 80s. The tides are expected to mark at 8 feet, which leaves plenty of margin for late launches and early retrievals.
Past rains, wind and high water will have you looking a bit harder for some species.
With tides running into the grass and marsh, gamefish will leave the borders for more productive waters. A majority of fish will chase their meals in shallows too thin for most anglers.
But, there is hope. Mud banks and oyster beds will provide a much needed break. These spots hold stragglers from the larger schools and often are more aggressive. Flounder thrive in these areas and wait for a meal to drift into range. Trout do this as well, but when waters are stained or cloudy, they often move closer to larger creeks or main river points.
The eddy downstream of the current just out of the pocket is prime water for this toothy gamefish. Sheepshead will vacate piers and bridges and locate close to rocks and shell structures. For a sure table bet, fishing docks and bank drops along the shoreline will provide full stringers of whiting.
Now's the start, get on with the doing.
So where are the cobia? Few but not so far between.
Designated fishing days and plans to participate do not deter anglers with cobia fever.
When mid to late April arrives, the call is out for those in pursuit of the torpedo brawler.
There have been eight verified, but more numbers have been claimed. You can still see the water between the boats on the Broad River, a condition soon to change.
Bluewater fishermen have been rewarded with a mixture of bottom fish, runs of wahoo, schools of bluefish, scattered dolphin, Spanish mackerel and a few tuna. Other fish of interest are snapper, triggerfish, porgy, flounder, sheepshead and short runs of larger spottail fondly referred to as channel bass or redfish.
Tackle Tip -- Play the Drift
Windy conditions make fishing difficult and create havoc when casting. To move to the plus side, learn to play the drift, keep the wind at your back as much as possible.
If you are in productive waters and the wind picks up, cast parallel to your target and let wind and current move your bait. Fish in pursuit of a meal will always face into the current, so your presentation must look natural.