• Volume 7 Number 4 - April 2012

    Features

    Follow these instructions, and tagging an old tom will become much easier.

    A grand old South Carolina turkey hunter from yesteryear, Archibald Rutledge, once wrote: “Some men are mere hunters; others are turkey hunters.”

    Those who belong to the latter clan recognize that it is a sport chock full of mishaps, miscues, mistakes, mischances, misses and pure misery. In no other sport do participants actually revel in misfortune, but spend any time in a turkey camp, and it’s a virtual guarantee that you’ll hear at least as many tales involving words and phrases such as “hung up,” “henned up,” “call shy,” and “walk-away gobblers” as you will accounts of success.

    April kicks off great spring fishing for redfish on shallow flats around the area’s sounds, rivers and creeks.

    Okay, no excuses now. The weather is beautiful, the garden is planted and the redfish are biting again. Time to go fishing. Redfishing in the Lowcountry was pretty good all winter, but many anglers were too busy with other outdoor sports or just didn’t like cold-weather fishing ,so they didn’t go.

    Then, come March, as the weather moderates and the sun begins warming the water, anglers get the urge to hit the flats again. Trouble is, the redfish stop biting in March for some reason. Theories exist, but nobody really knows the reason for the early spring lull that has frustrated anglers cursing at spot-tails that won’t eat anything.

    A mountain gem and home to a fine population of trout, Lake Jocassee serves up super April fishing. But in such a deep lake, where do you begin? Here are 10 great spots to get you started.

    Sam Jones doesn’t know why trout relate to structural features that are 100 feet beneath them. More important than “why” they do, though, is knowing “that” they do so and learning which structures attract the most fish any given month.

    Jones, who operates Jocassee Charters, has learned those lessons through longevity. He grew up fishing Upstate waters with his dad, has fished Lake Jocassee for 30 years and has guided for the past 10 years. Jones specialized in controlled-depth trolling for trout, and he often targets fish that suspend well above structural features.

    Stripers, hybrids and gobblers are all on the menu in and around this Upstate reservoir in April.

    One of the best public cast-and-blast opportunities for South Carolina outdoorsmen this month is the Upstate hotspot of Lake Hartwell. Not only is there some sensational striper and hybrid fishing in April, but the Fant’s Grove and Keowee Wildlife Management Areas are both open to turkey hunting and offer an outstanding opportunity to harvest a gobbler.

    According to Tom Swayngham, regional wildlife coordinator for the S.C. Carolina Department of Natural Resources’s Clemson office, both WMAs are located on Lake Hartwell, and both have an excellent populations of turkeys. He said the opportunity for excellent fishing and turkey hunting is there for the taking.

    Bluewater fishermen can reach these powerful, speedy fish out of Little River in the spring, but they’d better take care; the meeting might not be friendly.

    Bluewater fanatics should gear up this month as eddies of warm water move toward the shoreline, kicking off a flurry of action from a favorite reel screamer, the almighty wahoo.

    As springtime conditions arrive, they create a niche for fishermen with a proven recipe to fill the fishbox with feisty wahoo in the clear, cobalt waters off the coast of Little River Inlet.

    Chances are you drive by one Spartanburg County’s crappie hotspots on your way to the big impoundments. Next time, stop!

    If you live in the Upstate and still make the long drive to either Murray, Clarks Hill or Wateree to load up on springtime crappie, you may be by-passing some overlooked fishing opportunities.

    Several counties along the I-85 corridor are home to a number of small, water-district impoundments that contain both slab crappie and numbers of them to compete with the big lakes. Spartanburg County alone is home to four of these smaller bodies of water that are full of nice crappie.