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Cooler water brings active fishing

I recently received an e-mail from David Pointer, a longtime friend and fishing partner. David wanted to know if my duties as Deacon had interrupted my fishing. In the e-mail, he attached this little ditty:

A young boy arrived to Sunday School class late. His teacher knew that the boy was usually very prompt and asked him if anything was wrong. The boy replied no, that he was going to go fishing but 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, to which the boy replied, "Yes he did. My dad said that he didn't have enough bait for both of us."


October has arrived and with it comes more uncertain weather conditions. It's thunderstorm season. As we get further into the month, it will be necessary to keep a keen eye for any tropical development as well. The water temperatures will begin to drop to the low- to mid-70s as we progress into November. With the cooler water temperatures, we will begin to see more active fishing.

First off, the winds should die off drastically and the tides will be more in line with the season. When this occurs, most fish will become more aggressive as bait and the food source of the species begins to be harder to locate. Many anglers will target spottail bass and trout as the month progresses. Offshore anglers will once again seek larger late-season mackerel as well as numerous bottom species. The wrecks and reefs become more active during the month and with a favorable weather report, trips are productive and well-deserved.

Spottail will be more easily located due to thinner, more clear water along the flats and around oyster and shell rakes. This is the time of year I favor natural baits for spottail. One of the most productive is small pintail fished with a bobber, glass bead and as little weight as possible.

Sheepshead will seek refuge around the piers and docks. On occasion, an angler will happen upon a nice catch of bandits now and then. Most trout will form into tighter schools and seek areas of refuge and ambush. Creek and main water river mouths will start them off and as the cooler months arrive, habitat will be more critical along the grass and deeper drops. Whiting will remain stable as long as shrimp are in the creeks. Flounder fishing will pick-up along muddy bottom reaches, provided water temperatures remain in the upper 70s.

Surf fishing will be a large attraction for many anglers as the water temperatures drop. With cooler water, fishing improves in the surf and anglers will be pursuing some of the best fishing of the season. Black drum, spottail bass, shark and flounder will top the list of possibilities, but like most of the waters of the Lowcountry, you never know what to expect.


The 2010 Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival will present a tour of the Waddell Mariculture Center, located at 211 Samill Creek Road in Bluffton, at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 18. The tour will be presented by wildlife biologist Al Stokes and will be followed by a dinner buffet provided by the Bluffton Oyster Company.

The buffet includes oysters, chili, cookies and tea. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. By touring the center, you can see several marine species important to South Carolina. Discover how imperative it is to act now upon the preservation of our marine life and estuaries so vital to our way of life here in the Lowcountry.

The cost is $20 per person. Reservations can be made by calling Mary at 843-815-2472 or 843-815-2474.


Eleven teams registered for the 14th annual Beaufort Sportfishing and Diving Club Family Fishing Tournament. Seven of the boats weighed in 22 fish representing all eight of the eligible species in the tournament.

The big winner was captain Frank Gibson of My Time Out III with four first-place fish.

Here are the category winners:

Fly Fishing: Capt Owen Plair, Lucky 7.

Barracuda: 1st : F. Gibson (My Time Out III). 2nd T. Ogle (No Slack). 3rd N. Russell (Sweet Sara IV).

Bluefish: 1st: F. Gibson (My Time Out III). 2nd T. Ogle (No Slack). 3rd B. Currin (Froggy Daddy).

Flounder: 1st M. Linker (Jean Rae).

King Mackerel: 1st F. Gibson (My Time Out III). 2nd T. Thomas (Top Gun 5). 3rd N. Russell (Sweet Sara IV).

Sheepshead: 1st M. Linker (Jean Rae). 2nd B. Currin (Froggy Daddy).

Spanish Mackerel: 1st F. Gibson (My Time Out III).

Spotted Seatrout: 1st. B. Currin (Froggy Daddy). 2nd M. Linker (Jean Rae).

Red Drum: 1st B. Currin (Froggy Daddy).

Outstanding Female Angler: 1st J. Linker (Jean Rae). 2nd C. Currin (Froggy Daddy). 3rd. K. Harrington (My Time Out III).

Outstanding Youth Angler: 1st K. Kindwall (My Time Out III).


The Beaufort Sportfishing and Diving Club's October meeting will be held Thursday at the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club on Lady's Island. This month members and guest have a special treat. Tony Royal, fisherman extraordinaire, and three guides from Bay Street Outfitters will be demonstrating fly fishing techniques beginning at 6 p.m. The social will also begin at 6 p.m. and the regular meeting will start at 7 p.m.

In addition, captain Chris Butler will display sonar depth finders, the newest innovation in fishing electronics, now available for small, medium and large boats. Reservations are not required and guest are welcomed. For additional information, call captain Frank Gibson at 843-522-2020.


Jenny Adams of Allendale sent an e-mail wanting to know what a saddle was.

"I hear my Granddad talk about saddles in saltwater a good bit. Can you clarify?," she asked.

As it relates to fishing in the Lowcountry, the best description I can offer is this: A thin piece of land that extends out from the shoreline (it can be a visible point or not) and connects to an underwater island or hump.

This thin piece of land will dip down in depth before it meets with an underwater island where it will again come up in depth, thus giving it the name "saddle." On a topographic map, the contour lines will appear like an underwater point coming from the shoreline. Out from the shoreline, the lines on each side of the point will get closer and then start getting further apart until they reach the hump or island. Hope this helps.