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Fishing from fixed location has pros, cons

Catching fish from the pier or dock is fairly easy. Where there is bait, there are always fish of some kind around.

If you are trying to target certain species of fish from a pier, there are some things that you will need to know. You need to understand the specific species, how it feeds, when it feeds, what type of structure it houses itself in and the specific fishing tactics needed to hook it.

If you are fishing for sheepshead, you do not want to fish the non-structured, sandy parts of the pier.

You want to find structure. Sheepshead are structure-oriented. Usually where there is structure, there is bait and a food source for sheepshead. The type of bait that is plentiful in your area is the most productive because this is most likely what fish are feeding on. In this case, sheepshead will strike a baited hook with a fiddler more often than other baits.

Now that you have location and bait figured out, the only thing that you need now is the rig and technique.

Following the steps for the different species you are pursuing will improve your odds for catching fish from the pier or dock. You do have to become a little more creative when fishing from a pier because you are not going to the fish. You have to get their attention and get them to come to you.

While it may be more economical and give you quicker access, there are disadvantages as well. Some you can control, others you will have to compensate for.

You have to be extremely patient because you have to draw the fish to you. Landing large fish can be tricky. Learn to rope gaff your fish or use a drop net. Be tolerant of boaters -- this is their way point or launching area. If possible, time your fishing to compensate. Tides are helpful in this respect as most boaters will favor a high tide for launching.

There are advantages and disadvantages to pier and dock fishing, that being said all fishing is fun. You have to learn to be creative in order to be successful.

FISHING TRENDS

With cooling winds and temperature drops, fishing has been a challenge early in the season. The sharp decline and then leveling of weather has sparked fishing activity and movement in the rivers and near the beaches.

Inshore, trout and spottail fishing continues to be excellent for most anglers and it only gets better from here. Baitfish are still in the rivers and sounds, so fish have plenty to eat and will remain in the area as long as the baitfish stick around. For best results, try points, tidal rips, shell beds, covered mud banks and rises with shells and oyster banks.

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT

The Beaufort Sail and Power Squadron will hold its annual Light Up The Night event on Dec. 4 at Waterfront Park in Beaufort. This is a great community event and a fun chance to light up your boat and combine boating with the holiday season. If you are interested in being a part of the boat parade, send an e-mail to Charlie Borrmann at iw61@hargray.com. Volunteers are needed to organize the event. If you are willing to help out, please let me know. It's a lot of fun and a great chance to serve your community.

CHARLESTON BOAT SHOW

The region's premier boat dealers will feature the marine industry's newest powerboats at the 31st annual Charleston Boat Show, set for Jan. 21-23 at the North Charleston Convention Center.

Exhibitors will be on-site showcasing their products and services and industry professionals will be leading workshops and seminars on a variety of marine topics.

Show hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Jan. 21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 22 and noon to 6 p.m. on Juan 23. Tickets are $8 for adults and $3 for children ages 4-12. The entry fee is $5 after 5 p.m. each day. Find more information online at www.thecharlestonboatshow.com.

SPOTTERS NEEDED

Large marine debris objects, such as abandoned vessels and lost fishing gear, can have significant adverse effects on marsh habitats. The extent of the distribution and impact on marsh habitats requires location, assessment, and removal if appropriate.

Register now for volunteer training in GPS applications, grid search patterns and reporting protocols. Search areas include tidal channels of St. Helena and Port Royal sounds. Individuals with their own power boats or kayaks are encouraged to volunteer.

Volunteers will be trained to use GPS to spot, record and report large debris in the rivers, tidal creeks and estuarine areas of Beaufort County.

This effort is part of the NOAA project, Marine Debris and Abandoned Vessels: Identification, Reduction and Prevention through Community-based Education and Action, extending from Georgetown to Beaufort.

For more information, contact Amber Von Harten at 843-255-6060 ext 112 or e-mail ambervh@clemson.edu.

TACKLE TIP

When releasing a fish, keep handling to the minimum. In normal conditions, fish are hearty fish and most species can survive being caught and released, provided they are handled carefully. Keep them in the water as much as possible. A big fish has a lot of weight in the internal organs, keeping them in the water helps them survive. Hold their tail and move them slowly back and forth until the fish is able to swim on their own. If possible, use higher pound test to shorten the fight time.

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