Saturday, August 3, 2013

Savannah, Georgia IFA Kayak Tour Pre-Fish

Lewis and I departed Charleston, South Carolina very early on Saturday morning to head to Savannah, Georgia for the IFA Kayak Tour. The plan was to fish two or three areas prior to the Captain’s Meeting at Hogan’s Marina. The areas that we planned to pre-fish are Turner Creek launching from the Turner’s Creek Ramp, the Cocksboro Lighthouse/Fort Pulaski Point launching from the Lazaretto Creek Launch, and the Priest Landing on Skidaway Island near the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography facility.

We arrived at the first area which is Priest Landing that provides access to the Wilmington River. Actually the landing is more for kayaks and canoes. There is no ramp. The trail from the end of the road to the water was hard so that we could safely launch from this area. This area is known for redfish in an area known as Three Sisters by fishing the oyster reefs on low tide and speckled trout near Marker 22 by fishing the bank.
Two thousand years ago Skidaway Island was inhabited by Indians. While they lived on the island they were very self-sufficient, grew corn and other necessities. When the English settlers started settling Skidaway Island pushed the native people from their homes. Unfortunately the immigrants that set up their homes also brought diseases to which the Indians which resulted in killing a significant number of Indians on the island.

Out in front of the launch we had a five to six foot alligator waiting to welcome us onto the Wilmington River. By the Lewis was out into the river the alligator decided to leave. To the right of the launch is the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography facility where they are an independent research unit in the University System of Georgia. Just past the Skidaway Institude of Oceanography facility to the right and across the Wilmington River is Marker 22. We never made it over to that area to determine if the trout bite was on. Instead we paddled to the left of the launch towards a flat area known as Three Sisters.  The tide was going out, I did managed to sight a single nice redfish holding next an oyster rake, by the time I noticed the spot tail he had moved off of the oyster rake. Eventually we made it to another creek and paddled into the creek for some distance, all I saw were several small sting rays; on the other hand Lewis has spotted a few sharks that he determined to be bonnet head sharks as well as sting rays. We decided to head back to the Wilmington River and toward the launch site to explore Turner Creek area.
Lewis made it back to Priest Landing and made a huge discovery. The discovery he made was that there was no way for us to make it back to solid ground. I thought uff da to myself. There had to be a way for us to get back to solid ground. The first obstacle was to cross some soft mud, next cross a oyster bar, maybe some more mud, and then make it to the hard ground. Sounds pretty easy; uff da, trying to keep my balance sinking into the mud just past the ankles has really tough. Making it to the oyster bed, some live and some just old recycled shells, I managed to drag the Jackson Big Tuna onto oyster bed. Uff da I was sure tired but now I had to check out the terrain on the other side of the oyster bed and through the spartina grass. Uff da this also was soft mud. Testing the mud I sank just past my ankle, I would have keep sinking so I know that the option to get across the remaining 30 yards was not going to be possible.

Lewis decided to peddle around the area and I thought that I would sit on the oyster bed in the hot sun. Uff da; this really did not sound like a great idea. Uff da; I would be sitting on this little oyster mound in the hot sun. I need to figure out how to get the Big Tuna off of the mound, across the mud, and back into the water. This would be better than sitting for the tide to come in. This would not happen for another three hours. With a little work, I could be back on the water trying to make this fishing exploration into one of catching.
I managed to turn the Big Tuna 180 degrees with the bow facing toward the Wilmington River. I pushed the Big Tuna so that 75 percent of it was in the soft mud and got into the Jackson Elite Seat. Then I used the paddle as a push pole and the kayak slowly made its way into the river. In no time I was back on the water paddling and casting. Instead of paddling to Marker 22, I decided to drift through the Three Sisters flat to try to locate some spot tails. This time I decided to go to the end of Three Sisters and then paddle back to Priest Landing. Sure enough as I drifted through Three Sisters I managed to see some redfish but they did not appear to be interested in what I was casting to them

By the time we made it back to Priest Landing the water was high enough to get back to solid ground. Lewis & I decided that this was not going to be the area since low tide would prevent us from making the weigh in on Sunday. The day was shot already so we could not check the two other spots before the Captains Meeting at Hogan’s Marine on Wilmington Island.

So we will have to see what we decide for tomorrow for the IFA Kayak Tour for Savannah.

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