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Homework done in winter can bring fishing success in future

If you aren't having much luck landing fish this winter, don't worry. Better days are ahead, and you can get a jump on them now.

The winter months can be a bonus period for finding spring and summer hot spots. Lowcountry fishing is a year-round affair, but there are times when weather conditions might cause you to change your plans. When this occurs, there are usually distractions to get you through the void. None, however, will replace your passion for the sport, and if you favor my line of thinking, secondary distractions are just that.

Colder days afield and afloat provide many opportunities not normally available to fishermen. When the tides are at their lowest, you are able to see more productive areas, such as which areas provide structure, ambush points and holding areas for bait fish. While the waters are low, you will see actual water-flow patterns. This will allow you to distinguish between where the strongest currents flow past points, where the larger pools are and which spots provide the most runoff.

Doing a bit of homework when fishing conditions are poor does not mean you can't get out on the water; bundle up and take advantage of the opportunity.

Fishing is considered a sport, despite what some people say. Granted, fishing may not involve much physical dexterity, and I doubt very seriously if you will ever be called to task on your physical abilities as a fisherman. However, fishing does require a good bit of thought, preparation and strategy. Your prowess as an angler is essential, as it allows you certain bragging rights when others around you are casting blindly at dead water.

Take advantage of those days when it's too cold to fish or the fish aren't biting. Mark key points and locations on a map or use GPS technology and your digital camera to better pinpoint key structures, drops and possible hot spots.

Be prepared when the warm weather arrives, and you will be much more consistent in landing quality fish.


Photographers of all skill levels are invited to participate in South Carolina Wildlife Magazine's 2011 outdoor photography competition and print exhibition, which will be held at the 2011 Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic from March 25-27 at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia.

To request an entry brochure, write Tricia Way, South Carolina Wildlife, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, S.C. 29202-0167, call 803-734-3972 or send e-mail to


After being rained out in December, the Beaufort chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation has scheduled a make-up turkey shoot for Feb. 12 at 5 p.m.

The shoot will be held at Duncan Farms. For more information, send e-mail to or search "Beaufort NWTF" on Facebook.


The Beaufort Year-Round Fishing Tournament has announced its 2010 winners, including: Duncan Gibson (10 and under angler), Zack Brown (16 and under angler), Carol Currin (female angler), Captain Frank Gibson (male angler), Bob Currin's "Frog Daddy" (best recreational boat), and Captain Wally Phinney's "Wolf VI" (best commercial boat).


  • The Hilton Head Island Fly Fishing Club will hold a fly fishing course from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 27 at Southern Drawl Outfitters in Bluffton's Moss Creek Village. The cost is $59, which includes lunch. Instructor Don Kowtko will cover the fundamentals of the sport for both beginners and experienced fly fishermen who want a refresher course. Fishing in local waters will be emphasized. The course will include information on fly fishing tackle, what you need, and how to assemble and use basic casting techniques. The instruction will be followed by an outdoor practice and workshop. Learn where to find redfish, bonefish and tarpon, as well as what they eat and how to catch them. Learn how to tie the most common knots for fly fishing. Each student will receive a comprehensive notebook covering the course material. Students can bring their own fly rod for the practice session, but equipment will be provided for those who don't have a rod. For more information, contact Kowtko at 681-6338.
  • The Beaufort Sportfishing and Diving Club will meet Feb. 10 at the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club on Meridian Road on Lady's Island. The social begins at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7 p.m. Captain David Harter, president of the Hilton Head Fishing Club, will speak on triggerfish and the use of rigs with circle hooks. He will also explain the special skill of cleaning triggerfish and share some of his special recipes for this delicious fare. He will also have a short program on the Right Whale recovery plan. Nancy Schilling, president of the Friends of the Rivers, will give an update, along with Amber Von Harten of the Sea Coast Consortium.

    In putting together this column each week, I try to inform, educate and otherwise entertain all readers. I constantly get replies to certain columns with, "I don't fish, but I enjoy your introductions," or, "Your columns are informative for everyone, including those who do not fish and hunt."

    I enjoy reader comments, especially those like the ones above. It's great to get a response for one's efforts, even those with humble ramblings such as mine. Thanks, and I hope you continue reading.

    Now, for some of nature's most curious oddities and phenomena. Did you know that:

  • A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle, but a group of geese in the air is a skein. A hummingbird weighs less than a penny. A mosquito has 47 teeth. A pregnant goldfish is called a twit, and a shrimp's heart is in its head.
  • Despite common belief, when you are eating shrimp 'tails' and lobster 'tails', you are in fact eating the abdomen of the creature. The real tail is made up of the inedible fins at the end of the abdomen. Also, the 'vein' running down the back of shrimp 'tails' is not a vein, but the intestines of the shrimp.
  • A new innovation in bandage material has been made that has significantly improved clotting ability compared to gauze bandages. These new bandages contain a mixture of ground shrimp shells and vinegar, a mixture that has been found to clot blood almost instantly. The chitosan in the shrimp shells has a positive charge, while the cells present in blood have negative charges. The negative charge of the cell is attracted to the positive charge of the chitosan. As soon as they touch, the cells fuse to the chitosan and form a clot. Bandages of this type are already in use by the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • And finally, 14 percent of all facts and statistics are made up and 27 percent of people know that fact.