• Volume 7 Number 8 - August 2012


    What does 2012 season hold? Biologists believe herd has stabilized, with weather being the biggest factor in hunter success.

    Hunters in South Carolina harvested more deer in 2011 than in 2010, the first increase after two consecutive years of declines.

    South Carolina Department of Natural Resources deer and turkey project supervisor Charles Ruth said the numbers are encouraging, representative of a stable deer population.

    Lumber and Little Pee Dee rivers are prime avenues for fishermen looking to tangle with spunky sunfish.

    Drifting slowly through Marion County along the oil-black vein known as the Lumber River, swollen cypress trees line its banks draped with gray beards of Spanish moss.

    The small boat slips silently along, barely making a ripple in the current that is scarcely noticeable except for the passing of trees and the many switchbacks and curves along this river’s course.

    Nichols’ Donald Ray Turner, who caught the reigning state-record redbreast sunfish, is at the helm of the boat. He is known in these parts as the go-to guy when it comes to catching stringers of redbreast on the Lumber and Little Pee Dee rivers.

    Jetties at Little River are magnets for bull redfish making their way back inshore to spawn. Here’s how to intercept them.

    At the tail end of summer, good things come to those who wait. As soon as the annual mullet run begins, the jetties on either side of Little River along the state line become a site of carnage.

    Massive schools of burly redfish barge into the areas, filling their bellies with tasty mullet. Anglers from both Carolina converge on the end of both sets of gargantuan boulders to lock into one of these drag destroyers, which have no intentions of being horsed to the surface.

    A pronounced thermocline sets up great summer fishing for a variety of species on this popular lake.

    Fishing may slow on some lakes because of the intense August heat, but that’s not the case at Lake Wateree. It may be tough on the fisherman to stay through the mid-day heat, but largemouth bass, catfish, striper, crappie and bream are all biting.

    Guide Chris Heinning said the lake is very fertile and, because a well-defined thermocline sets up in the lower half of the lake, the oxygen content actually restricts the depths in which you’ll find fish.

    “The thermocline usually sets up in the 16-foot depth range, give or take a foot or two, based on weather and water conditions,” Heinning said. “This puts several species of fish at very fishable depths. Another thing fishermen will notice is that this lake is absolutely loaded with forage, something they will see on their graphs as they motor around the lake.

    Take to the Beaufort’s Hilton Head area, and be ready for a fight — once you learn where to find them.

    Good news and bad news – that’s August redfishing. Yes, the spot-tails are active, growing bigger and stronger, and they will strike well-presented baits and lures. It’s the month some of the largest redfish are caught inshore, before sexual maturity drives them into the ocean to spawn, never to return to our Lowcountry shallows.

    But it’s hot, and afternoon pop-up thunder storms sometimes get in the way, so the preferable early day outings don’t always coincide with your favorite fishing tide.

    Learning to catch fish on any tide means greater success, but different stages of the tides require different approaches.

    Want to extend your bowhunting opportunities and combine them with fishing? Then bowfishing, which has found a big following in the Palmetto State, may be for you.

    For any casual archer who has ever considered giving bowfishing a try, you are encouraged to participate at your own risk.

    Upon release of that first arrow — cowering over the front rail of the boat with bugs in your teeth, gas fumes in your nostrils, and the roar the generator ringing in your ears — odds are you’ll miss the fish but stick the arrow deep into your own heart.

    That’s exactly what happened to Jay Iadonisi, a diehard bowhunter from St. Matthews, on his first bowfishing expedition many years ago.