• Volume 7 Number 5 - May 2012


    It’s a sound idea to target the spring run of these great fish in the waters that separate Hilton Head Island from the mainland.

    One of the most-anticipated events for fisherman in the Lowcountry is the annual spring cobia migration. Cobia start to show up in mid-April and hang around through most of June. May is undoubtedly the most-productive month; Hilton Head Island is literally surrounded by cobia in the Calibogue Sound to the west and the Port Royal Sound and Broad River to the north and east.

    Of those waters, the Calibogue Sound receives the least attention from anglers.

    May brings out the best in this Columbia-area reservoir. Here’s your guide to spots for everything from largemouth bass to channel catfish.

    Folks who fully embrace a mindset of “You can’t have you cake and eat it, too” haven’t spent time fishing at Lake Murray. This 50,000-acre impoundment of the Saluda River offers fishermen “best of both worlds” opportunities. While Murray has definite highland impoundment characteristics — clear water, a structure-rich deep lower main body and plenty of steep banks — it also offers outstanding-shallow water fishing in a complex network of creeks and coves.

    Michael Murphy of Gilbert also likes the fact that Murray offers excellent fishing for a variety of species. Although he earns his living a tournament bass angler and by doing marketing work for tackle companies that cater mostly to bass fishermen, Murphy also enjoys catching stripers, bluegills, crappie and even catfish, and when he’s free, he will take clients on guided fishing trips.

    Catching a mess of crabs is as easy as any saltwater assignment, and it has a tasty result.

    Gourmets the world around salivate over its unique taste and texture and pay astonishing prices for the choicest jumbo lumps of body meat or the seasonal soft-shelled “peelers.”

    Yes, our own local blue crab is one of the finest delicacies in the seafood world but, in spite of its revered reputation, any residents and visitors in South Carolina’s Lowcountry with a string and a chicken neck can catch a bucketful and enjoy them for free. Just walk down to a public dock or shoreline at the right time and catch your own.

    When the ‘prince’ mackerel arrive off Little River, fishermen on both sides of the state line can have plenty of fun.

    It’s a long run from Little River Inlet to the bluewater where the tuna, dolphin, wahoo and billfish swim, and with fuel prices moving into the $4 neighborhood, you can’t blame a lot of fishermen for choosing to stay closer to port.

    Capt. David Cutler doesn’t have to be convinced that he saves money by sticking close to his home port of Little River along the South Carolina-North Carolina border. In fact, it’s like B’rer Rabbit and the briar patch. Tell him to stay within a few miles of the beach, and he’s right at home – especially this month, when Spanish mackerel invade the waters close to the state line.

    These streams offer Palmetto State fishermen different opportunities to catch browns, brookies and rainbows.

    With turkey season in its final days, it’s a perfect time to plan some great trout fishing. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources is actively stocking streams, and areas with natural reproduction are also beginning show some activity. The warmer-than-usual winter seems to be sparking some good early fishing.

    SCDNR manages 34 coldwater streams, covering 200 miles of trout water. Some are too small to fish, and some are on private property, but we do have several good streams to enjoy.

    Top Clarks Hill guides don’t understand spring movements of stripers and hybrids, they just catch them.

    William Sasser, a veteran fishing guide on Clarks Hill Lake, just shrugged his shoulders and remained pretty much speechless.

    The list of items that Sasser doesn’t have much to say about is definitely a short one, but ask him why May is such a good time to catch striped bass and their hybridized cousins on the sprawling, 70,000-acre reservoir, and the instantly likeable angler goes silent.