Latest News

Stokes: If your angling has been lacking, try some slacking

Slack line is not normally a favorable trait among anglers.

I have always been schooled that you must be in constant contact with your bait to know what is going on at the other end of the line. This may not be the case after my visit last week.

While stopping at the Charleston Marina, a group of anglers got together to share a few stories. During the gathering, a technique was introduced that merits further investigation.

Todd Washington came from more northern regions, but tales of big fish and those that got away are always the topic whenever those of such ilk congregate. We listened intently as he told of halibut, steelheads, salmon and magnificent trout from the region of clean air and colder waters.

Todd's guide introduced a slack line fishing technique to move easily spooked fish to the hook. Normally, Todd would have been using a fly rod, but on this occasion he chose spinning gear. The guide told him to cast beyond a point downstream of the flow.

A small pool just beyond the rocks was showing slack water and was a target of interest. The cast was made and the guide urged him to leave his line slack and watch the bow, as well as the coil of line on the surface of the water. The line moved slightly back to the rocks against the current flow. Todd readied the hook set, but again was urged to wait.

Once the slack line on the surface went under, his instructions were to lift the rod tip just enough to remove the bow in his line. At that moment, the surface came to life and a huge trout was hooked. Numerous other fish took his bait using the procedure and Todd was converted. As were many of his audience.

It sounds reasonable, as do most new adjustments and alignments introduced to the fishing scene. Does it work? Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words regardless of how long the storyteller's tale.

Todd had pictures, and the only slack in the telling was when he asked for another cool beer or cleared his throat. Towards the end he grew a bit hoarse, explaining that he was not used to such a captive audience of intense listeners.

Perhaps a new slant needs to be employed in your fishing style, or maybe you have used a similar method. I would like to think that I am open to any improvement that would help me increase my odds.

For fly fishermen, this may fall under the "nothing new" category. But for those more inclined to the toss and haul, slack line may be just the edge needed for those wary and unpredictable Lowcountry species.

My next trip: You look, I'll watch.


Fresh and saltwater anglers have a lot to smile about over the past week. Although rains were in the forecast, many opportunities developed and plans were altered to fit the occasion.

Active Species: Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, Trout, Spottail Bass, Whiting, Flounder, Dolphin, Sheepshead, Wahoo, and Cobia remain fish of interest, both inshore and offshore.

Anglers are anxious, fish are plentiful and the weather looks to be clearing, with little wind in the forecast. Odd weather patterns can put a halt to your trip. But things change rapidly, so be on the edge of ready when the opportunity presents itself.


Someone once asked if I lied about the fish I catch. I thought the question was a bit invasive to my delicate state of affairs, as some say I have a reputation to uphold.

Looking for a simple answer, yet one that would save face, I said, "I don't exaggerate; I just remember BIG!"