David Lauderdale

Fishing from the couch, and other advances in Lowcountry life

A Lowcountry man caught a redfish while sitting on his couch watching a Clemson football game Saturday.

About the same time, another man pulled up an 11-inch Asian tiger shrimp in waters off Hilton Head Island.

"Now," surmised Fuzzy Davis, a graybeard of the local charter-boat industry, "if the guy on the couch had caught a tiger shrimp while watching the Tigers play football, you'd really have a story."

Until we hook that whopper, we'll consider Tommy Braswell's story in Charleston's Post and Courier a keeper. He wrote Tuesday about Jason Schall's miracle catch in his Daniel Island living room.

"I ran a line with bait from the living room out a crack in the door, through the yard and into the lake behind my house," Schall said. "I felt a bite while sitting on the couch watching football, set the hook and caught the fish."

Schall is an experienced fisherman, with lots of whoppers to his credit. But with this one, the 38-year-old retired financial adviser laughed and said, "My life's work is now done."

His friend took pictures, of course, before the big red drum was released.

In the Lowcountry, we call the guy with a remote in one hand and a fishing rod in the other a Renaissance man.

But before we start keeping records on fish caught from sofas, we better set some ground rules. The sofa cannot be outdoors; it cannot even be on the porch, and it cannot be in a home on wheels.

As for the tiger shrimp, it's an unwanted invasive species that remains under study. Ken Burch said it came up in the 35-foot trawl net he was pulling behind his 24-foot Mako boat to catch shrimp for the family. For three generations, Burches have been enjoying life on the Chechessee River. You may have heard that checking on heaven from there is a local call.

Burch turned the giant shrimp over to the state's Waddell Mariculture Center in greater Bluffton. Scientists are concerned about a recent surge in the exotic sea creatures found in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Eastern Seaboard because the shrimp are a menace to the ecosystem.

Our most exotic fish tales have involved fish falling from the sky. A largemouth black bass landed on a car windshield near Coligny Plaza 20 years ago. More recently, a lady was taking a Sunday evening walk in Rose Hill Plantation when a speckled trout landed in front of her on Spartina Crescent. "It made two lovely fish sandwiches," she said.

Flying fish, it turns out, are dropped by eagles and osprey, sometimes as they fight over them in mid-air.

But who really knows what the fish are up to? It could be a dry run for the day they run down the hill into Death Valley for a Clemson football game. As seen on TV.

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  3. Asian tiger shrimp invade US waters