Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Copahee Stump

The first trip for 2014 felt like Lewis, Greg, and I were fishing somewhere in the Midwest or the New England area except for the snow. Weather conditions were cold; the air temperature was at 37 degrees F, water temperature at 47 degrees F, the wind from the north northeast in the low teens. Being from Northern Minnesota the clouds gave the appearance that it could snow. Conditions were almost there to make it happen.

To make the journey more challenging the area was experiencing a Quadrantids Meteor Shower that will be peaking on that day and with a crescent moon from a super perigee moon from New Year’s Day we will be experiencing an extra high and low tide swings. Today the high tide will be 6.4 feet at 10:09 AM with a low tide of negative one foot at 4:23 PM. We are planning to fish the far side of Copahee Sound near the Inter-Coastal Waterway across from Bullyard Sound.

According to the history of Copahee View the word “Copahee” refers to an Indian tribe that once lived in the coastal region of South Carolina in the early 17th century. The ending "ee" refers to "near water." Copahee View is part to the Christ Church Parish in Charleston County, South Carolina. This little community is located just north of the town of Mount Pleasant and adjacent to Copahee Sound.
So with the challenges of the wind I decided to pursue some redfish and spotted trout with a fly rod. The equipment consist of a Temple Fork Outfitter Lefty Kreh Professional Series in a 8 weight, length of 9 feet, four piece fly rod, a Lamson Guru G3.5 loaded with Scientific American Mastery Series Redfish Coldwater floating fly line with a 9 feet 12 lb tapered leader.

The fly of choice is the Brent Bauer Crafty Shrimp with a bead chain for weighted eyes set back towards the curve of the #4 hook. I’m just learning to tie flies but the Crafty Shrimp uses the following materials: red colored thread, bead chain for eyes, strands of orange colored flash, tan colored craft fur, tan colored hackle, some type of tan colored dubbing, and a brown or orange colored permanent marker to add the bars to the craft fur. For a fly tying expert this fly looks pretty easy to replicate.

It was almost high tide when we launched to paddle across the sound to our first fishing spot that we knew held some redfish; a little cove near the ICW across from Bullyard Sound behind Dewees Island. With the wind blowing about 13 knots created a good steady chop which definitely make it difficult to sight fish for schools of redfish. Also the wind would push me and the Jackson Big Tuna to drift way to fast so my plan was to stake out the Big Tuna so I could cast the crafty shrimp along the grass lines and near some oyster beds. I felt that that I could not strip the line as fast as the wind would have moved the Big Tuna across that small cove so the stick-it pin anchoring the kayak for about 15 minutes would provide me a hook up opportunity. As I moved around the parameter of the cove I was not having any luck. Lewis and Greg met up with me and they reported the same results. They decided to check out a small creek that we have had some luck in the past. For me the plan was to complete the section of grass and oyster beds that I have not yet thrown the fly at.

I decided to move to another area that had several oyster mounds. These mounds were showing a lot of oysters above the water level. Usually in the Copahee Sound when you start seeing oysters as an angler whether you are in a flats boat or a kayak one needs to start heading for deeper water or back to the boat launch. On this journey it appears that I was ignoring this major rule. The water drains really fast out of Copahee but I had a mission to catch a redfish or spotted trout on the fly using the Crafty Shrimp pattern. Moving to an oyster mound, anchoring with the stock-it pin and casting around the edges of the mound I was hoping for a hook up. Out of one of the creeks; into the area that I was attempting to fly fish; came Lewis and Greg. Lewis thought that we should head back to the launch site as it was close to 4 PM. So we started paddling across the sound towards the ramp.

The closer I got to the far grass line the shallower the water was getting. Uff da!! I could see the oyster mounds surrounded by mud. I could see Greg along the grass line paddling with no problems. There appeared to be a small creek that I could use as a short cut.  Got into the creek and it was a dead end. Uff da!! So I had to turn the Big Tuna around and try to paddle out. At one point I had decided to low the back of the Jackson Elite Seat and use the Big Tuna as a board as I lay across the back end to use my feet to push me along in the soft pluff mud toward some deeper water. At this time I was in the search of a solid bottom and water at least 18 inches or more. I decided to take a break and call Lewis. When I pulled my cell phone from the waterproof Pelican Micro Case I noticed that I had an incoming call from Lewis.

Returning the phone call Lewis asked if everything was ok. I explained to him that my marked trail from when we paddled to the fishing area was not a great trail to get me back to the launch site. The trail had me trying to cross a very soft mud flat. They could not see me from the launch site but I could see the trucks parked at the ramp. Finally I found a small creek that had water that was deep enough to paddle. I pulled myself into the Big Tuna mud and all. I worked my way paddling away from the ramp and again towards the ramp. A small used shell mound island created by the Copahee Indians started to appear. This island is next to the small creek that heads to the ramp. There was very little water in the creek. Uff da!! I knew that I will have to do the Copahee Stomp to the boat ramp dragging the Big Tuna through inches of water.

The journey ended with no fish for any of us, a great time on the water with angling buddies, and for me crossing off my bucket list of doing the Copahee Stomp. With no fish to clean when I get home or photos of fish to share; I had a Big Tuna to hose down and a fly rod to clean off the tons of mud that I pulled into the kayak and over my gear. My main lesson learned is to follow the number one rule for Copahee. That rule is when you start see the tips of the oysters you need to head back to the launch otherwise you will be stuck out in the sound waiting for the tide to fill the sound with water.

Uff da!!!

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