Drawing Blood - South Carolina Redfish

Brent and I plopped back into the skiff and kept pushing our way down Winyah bay after a failed attempt at finding some redfish on our go-to flat during a crisp spring afternoon. There were still a few hours until the optimal tide to make it to the spot that we had planned to hit, so we beached the skiff on a sand dune near the Georgetown inlet to explore some new spots on foot. We figured we’d be able to pull a flounder or two out of one of the potholes that were starting to fill up on the incoming tide. Brent decided to trek down the inlet side, casting into the holes, while I walked directly to the beach side and casted into troughs of water that looked fishy. After a few casts into the troughs, I came tight on something that felt like dead weight. There is always a bit of skepticism when fishing a new spot and my first thought was “great you’ve hooked some marsh grass”. After a quick few seconds, line started peeling off my reel and I hollered to Brent “Somethings on!!!”. He made his way over the dunes to the beach just in time to see me land and release a beautiful South Carolina bull red drum. Brent high tailed it back to the skiff to grab soft plastic of choice: a gulp! chartreuse curly tail. Before he could even make it back, I had hooked and landed another one and had a shit-eating grin on my face by the time that Brent made it back.

Brent Redfish.jpg

He proceeded to catch three in a row right next to me and then had one follow his lure all the way to his feet. It was obvious we had found a school passing through that was feeding within one of the small troughs created by the ebb and flow of the tides. After the bite had shut down, we headed back to the skiff to keep working our way through the marsh to the spot that we’d planned to fish on the drive down to the water. After what seemed like 30 minutes of winding turns through tiny creeks, we made it to the spot where we’ve seen redfish belly crawl with their backs out of the water to get the first morsel of fiddler crab that didn’t go back in its hole fast enough.

I started slowly stalking a fish that was about 20 feet out of Brent’s casting range. It was a just-above-slot red drum, feeding along the short Spartina grass, waiting for the tide to get a little higher so it could go deeper into the marsh. We were limited by the draft of our skiff which is right around 6 inches on a good day, so I pushed as hard as I could over the flooded grass knowing that the tide would be still coming in for the next two hours. Brent made his first cast towards the fish, which the wind blew into thicker grass next to the fish. After a few choice words and not to spook the fish he yanked the lure out of the grass as hard as he could. It was the same moment that I had leaned down to knock a pesky no-see-um off of my leg. Then I felt a massive schwack on the top of my forehead-It felt like someone took a glass bottle and cracked it over my forehead. I looked up to Brent staring at me in disbelief of what had just happened: the lure had flown back at warp speed and a fourth of an ounce jig head hit me square in the forehead. Through all the commotion, we’d spooked the fish, and watched it swim by our boat off into the South Carolina sunset.

Ankona leaving sunset.jpg

We poled off the flat and back to deeper water, started the engine, and full throttled back to the launch so that we could get back before dark. As I got back into the truck, I took a moment to survey the damage, which was the first time I had taken off my hat since the jig head had hit me, and thankfully did not lodge itself in my scalp. A trail of dried blood was running from the top of my forehead down to my eyebrow, stopped by the edge of my cap. We laughed it off as a good memory, put the car in drive, and drove off into the crisp South Carolina night.