Saturday, August 10, 2013

Redfish at the Charleston Jetties

Today Lewis and I headed out to the North Jetty from Sullivan’s Island at Station 22 from the beach this morning.  Sullivan’s Island has ties with the author Edgar Allan Poe, who was stationed at Fort Moultrie as a private in the United States Army from 1827 – 1828. He also used the island as the background for his story, “The Gold Bug”. 

From Station 22 it is just over a mile to the rock jetty. So it took maybe just under an hour for us to get there. The launch into the Atlantic Ocean was uneventful. So we managed to make it past the breakers with no problems. Along the way Lewis tried his hand with the cast net for some menhaden.
When I managed to get to the rocks I baited my rod for bull reds with a piece of horse mullet and casted the bait to my left and a bit of distance away from the rocks. Then I put a live fiddler crab on to see if I could catch some sheepshead. After a while I noticed my line from the bull red set-up has under the kayak. This is weird since the current was not flowing in that direction. I brought in the sheepshead rod and started to slowly reel in the line. As soon as the line was tight I had a fight on my hands. I managed to get the rod tip and line around the Big Tuna so that I could fight this fish on his side. He hit the surface and headed to the rocks. Uff da; at one point he was on top of the rocks that make up the jetties. Eventually he surrendered and was netted, measured, photographed and set free as he as two inches (25 inches) over the slot limited.

Re-baited and casted out for the hopes of a bull red, lowered the other rigged in the water in the hopes for a sheepshead. While I was waiting, I saw two nice sharks cruise by about 5 – 6 feet in length. Maybe today but I was not rigged for sharks that size.
Shortly after the last shark departed, I had a hook up on the lighter rod. I managed to land a small (10 inch) black sea bass.

After letting him go and putting on a fresh fiddler crab I had a hard hit, and had the enjoyment of landing an acrobatic ladyfish that measured to be 18 inches. I decided to get off of the frozen mullet and use the ladyfish for bait. After all bull reds, sharks, and tarpon find this to be the second best. Blue crab is the ultimate for bull reds, bonnet head sharks, and tarpon.
In no time I had something taking line off and heading in Lewis’ direction. Uff da; I managed to get him turned around and to the surface and had another redfish on the line. In the Big Tuna this red measured nearly 26 inches.

Freshened up the bait and casted back in the general place in the hopes for a bull red; in about 30 minutes the reel start clicking as line was going out. I turned off the bait feeder, reeled in the line, and it was a battle. Uff da; the battle turned and the fish started heading towards me in the Big Tuna. I tried to reel in the line fast, and then out of the water about 30 yards from me a 5 – 6 foot tarpon jumped. Unfortunately I did not bow to the king and his gill plates cut my twenty pound leader. Uff da!!  I got my line in and had to re-rig the bull red rod.
When I got the rod re-rigged out into the water in the general area went the bait. About 30 minutes past and I heard the clicking again. This time there was no jumping to confirm what I hooked but I was definitely have problems to get this bad fish to turn. Uff da; he was heading out to the open ocean. One last good pull and the line went dead. This must have been one of those big sharks that I saw or maybe even bigger.

Lewis came by and decided it was time to head in since the wind was picking up. I agreed because I did not have any more terminal tackle for catching any bull reds. I tried to retrieve the anchor but it was wedged in something. I tried pulling sharply to try to break the small zip tie; uff da, no luck. Then I paddled past the anchor and uff da no luck. So I decided to cut the line and lose the anchor. When we made it to the breakers it was time to be aware of the surroundings so that the waves would not swamp us. Both of us made it in safely with no harm to us or any swimmers at the beach.
All and all it was a great day; I managed to catch some fish and my first confirmed hook up with a tarpon, and great day fishing with my buddy.

Tight lines and someday that tarpon will be next to the Big Tuna so I can remove the hook with hand on the leader to get it to count as a catch.

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