Do you believe in magic? Wait a minute, isn’t that the title of a song? Oh lordy, now I’ll be humming that tune the entire time I am writing and no doubt well past the time I finish.
I think I read somewhere that, when a song gets stuck in your head and plays over and over and over again, it’s a sign that one might be a simpleton. I guess that might be true, because as of late my mind has been heading in some mighty odd places, but in hindsight, it always has.
So I guess I should get back to my original question about magic. Starting right about now, if there was ever a time to get out on the water, this is that time.
I am sure the near miss from Hurricane Irma has affected the natural flow a bit, but just as soon as the water clears up, it is going to be bonkers out there. The shrimp are as thick as thieves and reaching their maximum size, crabs are fat and juicy, and the fish are getting ready to go on a near manic feeding frenzy.
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I don’t know about you, but when I have been out lately, I can’t go 50 feet without seeing schools of panicked mullet or menhaden racing across the surface to escape predators that are hell bent and determined to get their fill for the day.
Especially at low tide, I can putter along the shoreline in creeks nearby and right behind my outboard engine, shrimp of all sizes skitter across the surface by the hundreds as the prop stirs up the mud. Maybe it was this year’s regular afternoon showers that helped the shrimp crop to blossom, but whatever it was, they are absolutely everywhere.
Another observation that really has me excited is the number of undersize redfish I am seeing. I was really getting worried about our redfish because, until this year, it seemed all I could catch were big bruiser reds, mostly over the slot size. No matter where I go now, I am catching reds in the 10- to 12-inch size. I do know that the Waddell Mariculture Center in Bluffton has released a ton of juvenile redfish around the Lowcountry, but the ones I am catching appear to be wild fish.
This year also has seen a bumper crop of menhaden. No doubt the primary food for many of our local fish, the schools are absolutely massive. Off the beaches and in the sounds, the menhaden are big ol’ slobs that are perfect for catching king mackerel and bull redfish.
Traveling way up some of our estuaries, such as the May River in Bluffton, schools of small menhaden are packed tight from shoreline to shoreline. Maybe this has contributed to this being the best trout year in nearly a decade. Not only are there tons of trout to be had, but even cooler is the number of huge “gator” trout around. By far the best time of day to catch them is at first light using top water lures such as a chartreuse Yo-zuri Super Spook.
I won’t say you will catch as many trout as you might using live shrimp, but the ones you do catch are going to be huge. Retrieving a Super Spook in a walk-the-dog fashion, the bites are incredible.
Because all these darn storms have kept me from getting offshore, I am sure the bite out there is ready to explode, and if I don’t get out there soon, I too am going to explode with little chunks of Collins plastered all over the wall. I just know the grouper are getting ready to fire up, and my favorite eating fish — triggerfish — are no doubt stacked up like cordwood.
One thing I always think about but never really do is to hit the Gulf Stream either this month or sometime in October. Everyone knows that wahoo, mahi, tuna and other pelagics migrate north during the summer, so at some point they have to come through our area on their way back south. I would love to figure out their migration pattern, because I guarantee the bite would be just as good if not better than the spring months when they pass by our area on their way north. Maybe this will be my year to give it a shot.
One thing is for certain: You probably won’t see a lot of me in the next few weeks because my plan is to get the getting while the getting is good!