Cast & Blast

Lowcountry fishing in November: Time is on my side, yes it is

I’m sure just about all of you have gotten a song stuck in your head and no matter what you do, it just repeats itself over and over much like an old school vinyl record when the needle started skipping.

So what song has me in its grasp right this moment? “Time is on My Side” by the Rolling Stones. It started as I was sipping my first cup of coffee and was wracking my brain about what to write about. Scrolling through things I have done or heard about in the last week, the song popped in there when I came to the time change. Why they still mess with time really gets my goat because my internal alarm cock is firmly set on Daylight Saving Time.

Always an early riser, I have never needed an alarm clock because I wake at the same time, plus or minus a minute of two, every day of the year. Once my eyes open for the first time I resemble a jack in the box and no matter how late I stayed up the night before, I still stick to my internal clock.

The problem with the time change is I now wake, spring out of bed, grab a cup of joe and when I get around to glancing at my wrist watch I realize that there is a good three to four hours before the rooster next door even considers crowing. Absolutely a Rolling Stones freak, it really didn’t surprise me that of all the songs out there, “Time is on my side, yes it is” took control.

Even at this very moment that tune is wreaking havoc on my train of thought as I try to tie this column together with anything outdoor-related.

Time related, hum. Okay, here I go.

The wind has kept me from getting offshore but inshore is about as hot a bite as it gets. A few years back I wrote a column around this same time of the year that compared what is going on under the water as being akin to six and eight lane highways in Los Angeles. It’s bumper to bumper out there creating the mother of all traffic jams.

No doubt triggered by a drop in the water temperature, every single critter is on the move. The southbound lanes are at darn near at a standstill and it ain’t much better going north. The bright spot in this epic migration is for us humans. This is when fishing doesn’t get simply good, it gets off-the-chart amazing.

Starting with bait like shrimp, menhaden and mullet, they are all jockeying for position with the winner getting in the southbound fast lane. For those that are stuck in the slower lanes, they run smack dab into northbound predators, like trout, king mackerel and a hundred other species looking for a quick snack.

As the water cools, both northbound and southbound lanes are rushing to get to their destination before winter hits. All that effort requires energy and the only way to keep up this frantic pace is by filling up the tank and keeping it topped off. It’s like a mile-long line at every McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s along both routes, and when you finally get to the front of the line, each order is no doubt super-sized.

On almost every excursion in the last two weeks the fish have been ravenous. Even better, if I am targeting trout, for instance, I have not only caught trout but multiple species, like redfish, flounder, tripletail and even some small grouper and snapper.

It always seems that this is also the time of year when I catch odd species. One guy in Charleston was fishing for croakers and spots and took a picture of his orange basket that held his catch. When I saw the picture, the fish on top made my jaw drop. I am not sure whether he knew what he had caught but it was a bonefish! For you non-fisherman, bonefish are found in the Florida Keys, Bahamas and other tropical waters but never here. Global warming maybe?

Yep, time is on my side, yes it is, but I will tell you this. It won’t last much longer so get out there!