Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Cooper River Coal Docks

This morning my fishing buddy Lewis and I set out on a journey to the Cooper River Coal Docks by way of Drum Island in the search of redfish and speckled trout for the upcoming Inshore Fishing Association (IFA) Kayak Fishing Tournament in Charleston. We launched nearly at dead low about 9 AM; Lewis fishing along the Charleston Peninsula while I paddled the Jackson Big Tuna across the Cooper River to fish the Drum Island shoreline. This shoreline is supposed to be hot for speckled trout during March through May but not too great for June. Uff da here it is the first of June so one can only hope. The water temperature today ranged from 78 – 81 degrees. The water also looked extremely clear to Charleston standards.

Lewis radios a report to me that he caught a small trout near Newmarket Creek. Hey maybe there could be an opportunity for me along the far shoreline. Somewhere along the Drum Island shoreline I caught a very small oyster toad fish. Uff da they are ugly.
Eventually I make it near the old Coal Docks. Fish opportunities by these old structures are speckled trout, redfish, and sheepshead. These structures date back to the mid 1800s according to a few postings on several web sites. As South Carolina has no history of coal mining to my knowledge my guess the purpose of the Coal Docks was for unloading barges or containers of coal to be transported to the various power plants in South Carolina.
Towards the part of the Coal Docks that start emerging from the shore in a small creek that winds its way through a marsh lined with spartina grass. Eventually the creek makes its way to Magnolia Cemetery. Magnolia Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Charleston.

About 100 yards into the creek, Lewis spots a redfish crushing bait. He reports back that this is a nice fish. At one point the red just swam past his paddle tail and just ignored the presentation. Lewis then lost the sighting. But wait; uff da that red is crushing bait in front of me, and of course ignored my presentations of D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad and the D.O.A. C.A.L. Airhead as well. Lewis continued to drift along fan casting as he went. After I gave him some distance I start the same process.
Traveling a short distance and uff da!! Fish on!!! A nice 14.5 inch spotted trout using gold glitter colored D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad. Using a red colored C.A.L. Jig Head with a short shank 1/8 oz. My lovely wife, Marian requested fish for dinner tonight so in the polar bear cooler the trout went. Now I needed another fish for dinner since there is four of us to feed.

Heading towards Magnolia Cemetery and rounding a bend a cast in front and uff da; this is a weird feeling on the line. It felt like I had something that had some weight not a lot. Just different than the normal lure weight at the end, occasionally there would be like a head shake but really no fight. Uff da breaking the water surface is a small 13 inch flounder. He was not a keeper so I let him go to grow up and provide someone some day with a much fiercer fight.
Made it to the end of the creek at Magnolia Cemetery so Lewis and I decided to head back to the launch site to call it a day and head home. Occasionally we would stop and fan cast. Somewhere along the many bends, uff da fish on!! I yell at Lewis and then he reports back with fish on as well. I get my nice speckled trout on the measuring board and the fish measures a nice 16 inches. This fish completes the task at hand to provide fish for dinner. Lewis reports back that he has his fish in the kayak that measures at 15 inches.

With the excitement of my 16 inch trout; I thought that I had stowed my paddle securely. Uff da I had drifted about 30 feet away from my paddle that is now stuck in the spartina grass. So I had to use my YakAngler Hog Trough as a paddle so that I could retrieve my paddle. It did take some effort but I was successful.
I did purchase some live bait for today’s journey. I decided to try live shrimp in the Big Tuna live/bait well. I would have to say that of the dozen shrimp that I put in the bait well only about a third of them died either by feeding the fish with them while fishing or in the bait well during the duration of the trip. I’m very happy with the Jackson Big Tuna and the converted center hatch into a free flowing live/bait well.
On my next kayak angling journey maybe I will see you on the water fishing.

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