• Volume 8 Number 1 - January 2013

    Features

    Fly-fishing tackle has many advantages on Georgetown’s winter spot-tails; learn how to put more fish in your boat with feathers and fur.

    Undoubtedly, the redfish is America’s true inshore heroine. Known to many South Carolina anglers as the spot-tailed bass, this fish shows up in more anglers’ sights than any other inshore species along the state’s coastline and locally in Georgetown’s pristine waters for good reason.

    Redfish are powerhouses, offering year-around duels under a variety of conditions and against almost any backdrop imaginable. And Georgetown’s pristine real estate offers anglers seemingly endless opportunities for entering into warfare with one of these prized fish.

    January’s winter conditions allow fly-fishing artisans a chance to test their skills and experience true angling ecstasy in these waters, but anglers must raise the bar to connect with one of these rivals on hand-tied implements.

    Call them coon-tails or Eisenhowers, yellow perch are one of the tastiest and most overlooked fish in South Carolina — but around Lake Russell, they’re a favorite fishing target.

    Of the dozen or so major reservoirs in South Carolina, the baby and beauty of the group is Lake Richard B. Russell.

    Nestled on the Savannah River between Lake Hartwell and Clarks Hill, Russell reached full pool of 26,650 acres in December 1984. One of Russell’s selling points for sportsmen is that federal regulations prevent any private residential development along its shoreline; the result is a wilderness experience akin to fishing a remote Canadian lake in the heart of Dixie.

    Not only does the scenery suggest such a locale, if you hold your fishing rod in the right location and manner, you’re likely to catch fish that would seem more at home in the Yukon than on the border between Georgia and South Carolina, and that just makes fishing guide Wendell Wilson smile.

    Ducks and woodcocks are great late-season targets for South Carolina hunters wanting more from their bird seasons.

    By January, the easy bird hunting is long past, unless a plantation-owning friend invites you for a quail hunt. Aside from plantation or shooting-preserve quail, however, other wild birds are legal game this month.

    Duck season is still in full swing, and woodcock season runs all month.

    It is an understatement to say that most South Carolina bird hunters do not focus on woodcock, but hunters with dogs — especially transplanted Yankees — love them. Woodcock are a favorite of bird dogs because they are easy. Put your dogs in good woodcock cover, and they will find the birds. Woodcock are easy to smell, easy to point and flush, and easy to carry on a retrieve.

    This world-reknowed striper fishery has recovered. Where will it go from here?

    Santee Cooper was once world famous as THE place to go for freshwater striped bass, but the historic highs of Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie fell to unprecedented lows for years.

    Explanations of what happened are many, but the point is that the opportunity to catch striped bass consistently bottomed out.

    But through strict regulatory guidance and stocking by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the fishery has returned to a very robust status. Many fishermen and guides say it’s the best it’s been in a long time.

    Hunting wild hogs with a pack of dogs is a great way to spend a winter day.

    A low growl emanated from a cluster of wild hogs backed into a circle, butt-to-butt, facing six dogs that had found them napping on a cold January morning. The dogs cautiously stood their ground, trying to determine which hog was most vulnerable; the hogs calculated their best escape plan, ready to do battle if it came to that.

    A fog of hot breath filled the air as Borden's Todd Dillon raised a handgun skyward and quickly warned, "Our dogs are gun shy, so when I pull this trigger, there's going to be hogs and dogs going everywhere. If we're lucky, the dogs will pin one hog down in the process."

    With the report of the handgun, hogs and dogs did, indeed, go everywhere, along with mud, dried leaves and even full-grown shrubs. A few big boars of 350-plus pounds with long, sharp tusks were in the group. The dogs, most of which were 25- to 40-pound Catahoula curs, knew better than to attack any of those beasts individually, but as one of the smaller hogs slipped in the mud, two of the dogs shook off the shock of the gunshot and teamed up on the swine.

    Sumter National Forest in the Midlands and Upstate offers hunters a chance to extend their seasons into the winter by removing a nuisance predator — the coyote.

    The woods were silent, except for the crying sound of a wounded rabbit. Wailing and squealing. Pause, more squealing. Another pause led me to stare down an abandoned logging road that meandered through the Sumter National Forest in Newberry County.

    My shotgun rested on my shoulder as I surveyed the woods and the lane, looking for any motion that would give away a coyote coming my way. As quickly as it started it ended; the song dog appeared, saw the decoy and came in on a dead run.

    The Hevi-Shot stopped him at 30 yards just before he pounced on the decoy.