Friday, November 28, 2014

Wando River Stripers

Lately there have been a lot of reports of anglers catching tagged strippers on the upper Wando along with some reds and trout. Greg and I decided to give the upper Wando a try since the reports indicated a hot bite near Paradise Landing. On this trip the Jackson Big Rig with the Power Pole Micro-Anchor and Raymarine Dragonfly will be my fishing vessel.
It was a great morning for this section of the Wando, the water surface was like glass and the wind was very slight. So stopping any schools of fish should not be an issue. We decided to fishing down river for some distance and then paddle up river to check out some other stops.
Heading down river I would stop by lowering the Micro-Anchor near mouths of creek that came out of the grass. At one of these mouths there was a shallow area next to a deep hole. The water looked like it was flowing pretty well. This seemed to me to provide an opportunity to catch some speckled trout. On this trip I had a 1/8 oz jig head with a Slayer Sinister Swim Tail (S.S.T.) in the golden bream color. A few cast into the deeper water and bouncing the Slayer lure off the bottom eventually I had a nice hookup. It felt like a good size fish so I readied the Ego landing net. As the fish got closer to the surface I got the net out to scoop the 15 inch trout into the Jackson Big Rig, removed the hook and set the trout free. After a few more cast I did not get anymore bites so I decided to move onto the next likely stop.
Was I worked my way toward other likely stops the result was they were not so likely. Uff da!! Also I was not seeing any schooling redfish to cast to. I managed to arrive to a small grass island that was shallow on the back side but deep on the river side. So I casted the Golden Bream Slayer SST on the deep side, bounced it along the bottom and bang. I had a hard hit from a fish. Maybe this was a redfish the closer I fought the fish toward the shallower water I noticed that this was not a redfish but a small striper. I did not have the desire to lose this fish. The striper will be my first in a kayak. Using the Ego landing net I had the striper on the Big Rig and on the YakAngler Hawg Trough. My first kayak striper measured in at 15.5 inches not a trophy to most but for me I managed to cross a species off my bucket list.
After releasing the striper, I repositioned myself and lowered the Micro-Anchor to see if I could get another striper from this deep channel. I made another cast to the same area as the cast that caught the striper. Nothing, I made a few more cast and then it was fish on. Sure enough I had my second striper in the Big Rig. I did not measure this one because the fish looked similar in size from the first one. At this time I motioned for Greg to come over to try his luck. I managed two out of this deep channel just maybe there were a few more.
Greg and I fished the little channel for a while with no luck. At this time the wind was starting to pick up so we decided to paddle back towards the landing to check out some other possibilities for some redfish, trout or maybe some bigger stripers. We managed to pick up a few more trout but no redfish or no more stripers. We decided to call it a day to load up the kayaks and head home.
I stopped at the West Ashley Charleston Angler the next day after work to talk about the stripers of the Wando River. One of the guides that work at the Charleston Angler explained to me that according to the South Carolina DNR that the only stocking of stripers have been on the Ashley River or the Cooper Rivers closer towards the areas that are considered freshwater. The DNR is assuming that the stripers are moving through the waterways around Charleston. Or maybe these fish don’t like the Ashley River and are moving into the Wando.  In the past there have been reports of stripers being caught on the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Just recently the reports have been coming out of the upper Wando River.
If you are interested in catching a striper here in the Charleston area check out Bushy Park on the upper Cooper River or the Paradise Landing area on the upper Wando River. Unfortunately I have no idea where on the Ashley River you can go to target stripers. If I had to guess maybe the area of the Ashley River that flows near the old historic plantations would be a great start. Maybe sometime in the near future one of my journeys might take me there so that I can report back on fishing the freshwater side of the Ashley River.

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