Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weakfish, Sheepshead, and Bull Reds Oh My!

My fishing buddy convinced me that we need to fish the Charleston Jetties; in particular the North Jetty off of Sullivan’s Island. Besides Lewis, Henry and Dayne also accompanied me on this journey. We planned to launch from Station 22 for the North Jetty. Reports from the various tackle shops in the area that the jetties will be getting hot for bull redfish.

Tide conditions for the Charleston area for the weekend are classified as a flood tide. So when we hit the beach to prepare to launch the waves were going to actually the most challenging for the few trips that I have experienced since I have started going beyond the breakers.
Timing to launch was tricky as the wave interval was fairly close; eventually there would be a slack in the interval and I was able to get into the Jackson Big Tuna, paddle over the incoming waves and past the breakers. Then the rest of the trip would be smooth paddling.

Along the way, Henry had mirage drive issues on his Hobie Adventure; so he stopped to try to figure it out and I radioed a message to Lewis about the situation. Lewis peddled over to Henry and determined the issue. There are a couple of set screws that hold the fins in place and they were loose. Lewis had a needle nose plier in his tackle and managed get the set screws tight.
So in the mean time Dayne and myself kept paddling toward what I thought was the North jetty. In a little while we received a radio message from Lewis asking us if we were going to fish the harbor side. Uff da! It did not hit me that we had paddled over the stone wall; after all it is a super high tide so the North jetty was under water. So Dayne and I turned around to paddle out of the harbor and back to the safe side of the North jetty. By the time we got to the section of the jetty that is normally above the water it was really evident that what I thought was the jetty wall in the distance, actually was the far coast line of Morris Island and Folly Island.

For a while the fishing was hot for rat reds, oyster toads, black sea bass, and weakfish for all of us. My first fish happened to be a nice weakfish but I did not manage to get the fish into the kayak. Instead of using the Ego Net I decided to just swing the weakfish into the Big Tuna. So during this process he managed to throw the hook and back into the water. Uff da! I guess if you what to catch fish you should use the net. Anyway even if the weakfish made it into the kayak he would have been released after the photo shoot and measuring.
I’m not sure how long into the fishing at the jetties; Lewis started yelling that he was on his first sleigh ride. He had something big towing him and the Hobie Pro Angler 14. I started bringing in my sheepshead setup and the big rod that was soaking some cut bait on the bottom. Pulled the anchor up and started paddling towards Lewis to assist and document the event by taking photos. By the time I got to Lewis he had a nice bull red in the PA. I took a few hero shots of Lewis and the bull, and then we made an attempt to measure the monster.  The bull measured at 38”; making this redfish Lewis’ personal best.

Then I paddled back to the rocks to soak some bait for my monster and try for some sheepshead with fiddler crabs. Uff da; I just could not understand why I had not had any hits on the cut bait. Then I started getting some hits with the sheepshead setup. I kept losing the little fiddler, adding another fiddler to the hook, and kept missing whatever it is. Then I managed to hook into the thief. In no time the net was at the ready and I netted a rat red about 13”. Well at least I will not be skunked. After releasing the small redfish to grow up to be a bull red for the next angler, I decided to do a bait check on the other rod.
The Lewis got all excited again; this time he was battling another big fish. This time the fish was not a spot tail but a nice sheepshead. In this area the he was fishing he managed to catch several sheepsheads. The best sheepshead that he managed to land measured 17” another personal best for Lewis.

Then Dayne hooked into a nice size fish and in no time he landed a 17” weakfish into the Jackson Cuda. This weakfish became Dayne’s personal best weakfish; Uff da!! Correction this is he personal best fish!
Now it is time to paddle back to Station 22 on Sullivan’s Island. This was a smooth return till I had to do the surf landing. Uff da the water depth was about a foot deep. Everything was going great till I lost control and the Big Tuna positioned itself sideways. The next wave hit and the kayak flipped. With the help of Dayne and Lewis I managed to retrieve all my floating gear and get the gear back into the Big Tuna.

This was a banner day for Dayne and Lewis on achieving their personal best for fishing. Congrats guys. How about you? Have you ever had a banner fishing day?

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