Fishing conditions continue to improve as temperatures become more tolerable. Humidity levels remain high, but cooler days and gentle breezes make fishing more enjoyable as we head out of the summer season.
Active species include spottail bass, tarpon, sheepshead, flounder, spot, whiting, kingfish, wahoo, dolphin and a variety of both targeted and unexpected offshore-wreck fish.
Reef and structure fishing from deeper waters have begun to show once again and bottom anglers are taking advantage of the period.
Freshwater anglers also are getting back into the action, as the Combahee and Edisto rivers had a surge this past week. It's as if the flood gates have opened and new water was introduced. Largemouth bass, black crappie and large catfish have taken the hook. Bass and panfish favor artificials in white, while catfish are wanting natural baits, such as worms or minnows.
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Now is the time if you favor more tap-water conditions for less-seasoned species than offered in saltwater.
The shellfish season for oysters and clams will open Oct. 1 and will remain open through May 15, 2012. Twenty public shellfish grounds exclusively for recreational gathering are posted with boundary signs. A saltwater recreational fishing license is required.
The recreational limit is two U.S. bushels of oysters and half a bushel of clams in any one day. No person may gather more than one personal limit of shellfish on more than two calendar days per any seven-day period. There is a maximum possession limit of three personal limits per boat, vehicle or boat/vehicle combination.
Maps of state shellfish grounds will be available at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/shellfish by Oct. 1.
FLY FISHERS TOURNAMENT
The Sea Island Fly Fishers will be hosting their 11th annual "Friday and the Tides Right" tournament Oct. 1-7. Redfish is the target species. Winners are chosen by the number of spots on fly-caught fish hooked and released during a one-day outing.
The event is open to the public. No club membership is required. No equipment is necessary. The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate and their name will be added to the club's trophy.
Those interested in taking up the sport or just wishing to have a bit of fun on the water can sign up at Bay Street Outfitters in Beaufort or call Jack Baggette at 843-522-8911.
Albert Dunner of Columbia asks via email: "Are rod decals which indicate line and weight ratings accurate?"
Answer: The ratings give a general starting point for the purchaser. The physical characteristics of the angler, as well as the rod, come into play during use. The use of lighter lures or lines than what is on the decal will not properly load the rod, and casting distance and sensitivity suffer. On the other hand, the use of heavier lures or lines will overpower the rod and the same result in sensitivity and distance will occur, as well as placing undue stress on the rod blank.
Someone asked if I thought fishing was more luck than skill. I replied in a fashion often associated with my pride in the sport: "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."