Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fishing, Folly Creek, and Pirates

On this adventure I had the privilege of fishing with my buddy; Lewis. The original plan was to fish the Folly River but the Folly Landing was full there was no parking. Lewis calls and informed me of the situation. So we will not be able to fish this area. I suggested several areas like Sol Legare Landing on the Stono River, Bowens Island for Folly Creek, the Greenway a flat area near the Stono River, Cosgrove Bridge for the Ashley River were suggested as options.

We decided on the launch for Bowens Island as the boat traffic in this area will not be busy. So the plan to target some sheepshead was still in the works. We already knew that the bait shops were out of fiddler crabs so we would have to try something else. We visited my local tackle shop; the Charleston Angler in the West Ashley area to get some advice. Joe was working and he suggested using some frozen clams for the sheepshead. I was looking at these small D.O.A. Shrimp thinking that maybe these would work. After all sheepshead can be caught on shrimp as well. So I figured once we managed to locate some sheepsheads I would switch to some of these artificial baits and see if they will work.
These small 2 inch D.O.A. Shrimp are designed to be used as a teaser. Using a D.O.A. C.A.L. Jerk, Shad, or Air Head chasing a small shrimp in the hopes of a reaction from a bigger fish is not new; this concept is not new as fly fishermen have been using this technique for a long time. Using a streamer fly chasing after a nymph; I have tried this concept and have had success with this technique fly fishing in England for trout. Maybe on another trip I will try these small shrimp using this technique and report back on the success.

So with the plan in place we left the Charleston Angler for Bowens Island and our Folly Creek journey for sheepshead. Launching from Bowens Island there are several fishing areas that one can try. One can go to the right and one can fish a flat area into a creek that has Backman's Shrimp Boat and a nice flat area, or you can pass this area and head into Kings Creek Flats, and head toward where the Folly Creek enters into the Folly River. We decided to go to the left and hit the bridge that Folly Road that crosses the creek. Now there is a make shift launch next to the bridge and you will have to park off the road for this launch or you can also launch for a fee with another kayak outfitter next to Crosby’s Seafood.
When we launched the tide was pretty close to being at dead low. I started fishing the bank across from Bowens Island working my way to Blackbeard’s sailing vessel that was damaged from hurricane Hugo. OK; so maybe the sailing ship did not belong to Blackbeard but the Folly area is rich with pirate stories. So why not think of this ship wreck as a pirate’s ship that is now a possible structure to hold a spot tail, a speckled trout, a school of sheepshead, or even a flounder. After all it appears that a modern day pirate decided to fly a pirate’s flag off of the transom. Along the bank to the ship wreck I did not even get any bumps or hits at the D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad. After fishing around the ship wreck for some time I decided to cross the creek for the spartina grass line.

Fishing the spartina grass line I was hoping for a spot tail or a trout but as I progressed toward the bridge area nothing. When I reached the bridge I shifted my focus to the desired targeted species; the sheepshead. I slowly drifted into the bridge pilings which are spaced about ten feet apart; this worked really well to keep the Jackson Big Tuna anchored against the pilings as the Big Tuna is just over 14 feet in length. One of the issues with this is that the shells and barnacles will rub against the kayak and add some character to the Big Tuna’s gunnels and the various stickers attached. Uff da; anyone looking at my kayaks will be able to see that they are used for several fishing styles required when targeting fish.
I took out a nice clam and sliced a small piece from it to attach it to a size 1 hook. For my
sheepshead rig I like to use a loop to attach the hook and a loop to attach the weight. So the weight is below the hook about a foot to 15 inches. Today I decided to go with a 1 ounce stinker.

While setting up, I used my stick-it pin to knock off some of the shells and barnacles to create some chum to invite any sheepshead in the area to my piling. The water depth at this piling is about 20 feet. I lowered the baited set-up to the bottom. Then I slowly raised and lowered the bait to see if I could feel if someone down below was interested. Sometimes I could feel some resistance but nothing would remain on the hook and my bait would remain as well. After a while I would change locations and follow the same process but no luck.
While we were fishing under the bridge, a pirate sailed past and Lewis decided it was time to head back and call it a day. I agreed and we packed up the sheepshead rigs and started paddling back. Along the way I slowly fished along the spartina grass in the hopes of either a trout or redfish. I managed to get a hook-up with the D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad. The fish jumped and looked like a speckled trout. After the jump the fish swam towards me and the Big Tuna while trying to retrieve in the line, Uff da; I just could not bring the line in fast enough and the fish managed to throw the hook and sent himself free.

That was my only fish tale on this journey. If we could have managed to locate the sheepshead; I would have tried my experiment with the small D.O.A. Shrimp but since they could not be located the experiment did not happen.
At the conclusion Lewis and I decided we might have to charter a guide to teach us about fishing for sheepshead. Till my next journey report out…Tight Lines.

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