Author Archive

Fishing Etiquette

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Inshore Fishing Etiquette

We have seen a huge increase in the number of inshore fishing boats on our waters over the past several years which in turn breeds competition for resources and problems between anglers. Ultimately, fishing is supposed to be FUN! But unfortunately due to a few knuckleheads I find the need to once again beat on an old fishing topic: Fishing Etiquette.

As a full time inshore fishing guide I am usually on the water at least 5+ days a week and I would say that courtesy between anglers definitely seems to get worse every year. I had a great example just last week while working a shallow flat on the back side of Hilton Head Island. I poled onto the flat with 2 clients where we quickly found a small school of redfish so I paused to allow my anglers to fish for them. A few minutes later another flats boat slow motors right up our back side within about 75 feet, shuts down and begins poling directly in front of us and down the same flat that we were working. The really sad thing in this situation was that there were very few other boats out that day, it was near flat calm…oh and by the way it was another so called “fishing guide”. I mean really; who would think that it is acceptable? Would you push your cart in front of another shopper at the grocery store and throw your groceries onto the conveyor belt while they are standing in line (especially if all of the other lanes were open without waiting)…so why is it any different out on the water? In turn, it got me thinking as to why people would be so damn discourteous to other anglers while fishing and here are a few possibilities:

1. Newbie’s – I will give these guys a quick pass simply because they don’t know any better, but hopefully if you are new to the sport and reading this article you will pick up some valuable insight into the do’s and don’ts of fishing.

2. I own this ground – This is a common mentality displayed by some old timers and charter boat captains who think that because they have been fishing a particular piece of water for many years that it belongs to them…it does not.

3. My fishing is more important – This behavior is most commonly seen among guides and tournament anglers who feel that because they are engaged in a tournament or carrying paying passengers that their activity supersedes another anglers right to fish.

4. It’s my only “spot” – Some people only have one or two spots to fish (usually spots that they stole from someone else anyhow) so if there is someone in there “spot” they would rather push their way in rather than go out looking for another place to fish.

5. Some people just don’t care – Unfortunately you can’t change these people!

The following list is a road map of some of the most common do’s and don’ts for flats and inshore fishing and though they can be used for most any fishing situation I have tailored them more specifically for the Eastern US inshore fishery. Moreover, these are not rules that I randomly picked out of the sky; these are the internationally accepted rules for fishing! Furthermore you can find more information on the subject by following the reference links below this article.

1. Don’t crowd another boat – In my home waters of Beaufort County we have close to 350 square miles of navigable waterways so there is absolutely no reason to find the need to fish on top of another boat unless you are invited. If you arrive at the spot that you want to fish and there is another boat already working that area then move on – he got there first so it is his spot to work! As a good rule of thumb you should leave at least 200 yards of clearance between another boat on the flats/backwaters and 50 yards of clearance between a boat anchored up in deep water.

2. Don’t jockey another boat out of position – This is quite common, very discourteous and can hold true for boats fishing a drift, poling a flat or trolling motoring a shoreline. I had a great example a few months ago as I was sight fishing the edge of a rip that runs about several miles long and sure enough another boat motored directly in front of me at about 100 yards, jumped up on his platform and started sighting down the same line that we were fishing. Come on Man!

3. Don’t buzz the flats – Here in South Carolina this is almost a non-issue (short of someone running over a short grass flat) as we do not have expansive open flats such as areas like Mosquito Lagoon, Florida Bay or much of Texas for example. But regardless of where you live please be consciousness about the wake and noise that you produce when you run past shallow fishing areas as this motion and noise spooks any fish that are on those flats.

4. Don’t drive over top of the fish – Similar to not buzzing the flats we want to watch our approach when entering fish that are cruising or feeding on the surface in deeper water. All too often one bozo out of the pack will drive or troll directly through the school of fish and send them straight to the depths!

5. Don’t motor across any shallow grass flats – This is not only discourteous but also illegal in many areas and you can be fined big dollars for leaving prop scars in the grass. Know you depth, location and always motor across safe water.

6. Don’t anchor up directly behind another boat – If you are in an anchor fishing area such as a wreck site or hard bottom area you need to be carful in how you anchor in relation to other boats. On these areas it is generally acceptable to get closer to other boats as we are now fishing on the bottom rather than across wide open flats or shorelines. Fifty yards is acceptable from side to side but more care needs to be taken on the stern side. If you drop your anchor directly behind another boat you can hinder their fishing by interfering with their chum line, fishing gear, ability to fight a fish (such as a jumping tarpon) and quite frankly their beautiful view.

7. Don’t anchor up in the middle of a main channel – Yes some of the channels can be great places to catch fish and I do fish them myself but you must be careful as to when and where you set up so not to hinder the navigation of other boats.

8. Don’t beat on the same spots everyday – This is one of the biggest problems that we have within our local fishery; I commonly see the same boats camped out on the same spots for hours on end, day in and day out until the spot is completely exhausted. Yes you can beat areas up so bad that they will be un-fishable for years to come.

9. Don’t steal peoples fishing spots – This is a big problem no matter where you go. Personally I spend endless hours out scouting for new fishing areas and techniques and it is ever frustrating when people blatantly sit off watching me fish (it’s a little creepy too) or come back to fish the areas that I had previously taken them to. If you are one of those guys who thinks that scouting for fish is riding around looking to see where everybody else fishes you are need to rethink…buy a map and try working a little bit of shoreline for yourself! That being said, you will find a lot of great spots to fish just by doing your homework, time on the water, inevitable discovery, and talking with other anglers.

10. Do take care of our resources – YES our resources are finite and YES you can fish out a fishery! For those of you whose sole purpose of going fishing is to kill as much as you possibly can on every trip let me give you a clue…You are the reason that our fisheries are dramatically declining. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a few fish for dinner but after that catch and release should exercised in an effort to keep our fisheries healthy.

11. Do keep control of your garbage – This should go without saying but please don’t litter our waterways and if the garbage can is full at the boat ramp take your garbage home.

12. Do enter and exit quietly – This goes for both shallow and deep water spots; with more and more boats on the water fish are becoming educated to the sounds of boat motors and wakes. Along these same lines sound travels long distances across the water so please be attentive to your radio and loud conversations in an effort to make fishing more enjoyable for your fellow boaters and fisherman.

13. Do know how to navigate the waterways – With the advances in modern technology such as accurate charts, tide logs, GPS, depth finders and even radar there should be no excuses for poor navigation these days. If you are new to boating or uncomfortable in running your boat I would highly recommend that you take a boaters safety course and/or hire a local guide to show you around. Moreover, if you find yourself lost or in shallow water slow down to idle until you regain your bearing.

14. Do be courteous – In a given situation if you were to ask yourself “how would I feel if the situation were reversed?” you would likely find the answer as to whether you are doing right or wrong. I had a situation on a small short grass flat a few years ago where another boat jockeyed directly in front of us at about 100 feet and during the entire process they refused to look at us even once. Obviously they knew what they were doing was wrong but I would hope that in a similar situation common courtesy would have prevailed for most of us.

15. Do educate your fellow fisherman – I know that many of us don’t want to get into confrontations but there is nothing wrong with letting others know when they are out of line. And I am not saying that you need to start slinging egg sinkers at the guy who just anchored up in your chum slick but calling them out is by all means acceptable. Some people just don’t know and a little education can go a long way -or- even better if you know who they are feel free to send them a link to this article.

16. Do use common sense – The old saying that “common sense isn’t so common anymore” seems to hold truer and truer these days but it doesn’t need to be that way. If everyone would follow these simple rules we would all have a much more enjoyable time while out fishing.

Captain Charlie Beadon

BeaufortSportFishing

https://www.takemefishing.org/blog/november-2015/fishing-etiquette/

http://www.saltwatersportsman.com/techniques/rigs-and-tips/flats-fishing-etiquette

http://www.skinnyskiff.com/2013/03/25/shallow-water-fishing-etiquette/

http://www.boats.com/on-the-water/fishing-the-unwritten-rules/

Choosing Warm or Cold Water Fly Lines

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Choosing Warm or Cold Water Fly Lines

By Captain Charlie Beadon

fly fishing for redfishThis is a good time of the year to compare warm and cold weather fly lines. For years I
did not change out my fly lines as the seasons changed and always wondered why certain lines cast better during the summer or winter. The answer is literally at the core of the line! Fly lines that are designed to be used in tropical climates have a monofilament core while those designed to be used in temperate climates are made up of a multifilament (braided) core. Basically, monofilament is stiffer than braid so in temperatures above roughly 75 degrees mono will hold its rigidity whereas below 75 degrees mono will become too stiff and holds an extreme amount of memory when you strip it off of the reel. Conversely, cold water lines (those with the braided core) work well in cooler temperatures but tend to cast like a limp piece of spaghetti in higher temperatures. For us here in the Lowcountry we have cold winters and hot summers so we need to swap out our winter and summer lines when the air temperature starts to regularly hover above or below 75 degrees. To make things easy most fly line manufacturers designate whether you are purchasing a cold water or tropical line and in many cases will also state at what temperatures their lines will work the best. By changing out your winter and summer lines you will see a dramatic increase in both distance and accuracy…plus a lot less tangles on the deck! Until next time, Keep on Casting!

Captain Charlie Beadon

Fishing Guide for Hilton Head & Beaufort, SC

FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor

www.HiltonHeadFishingAdventures.com

www.BeaufortSportFishing.com

charlie@hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

843-592-0897

Winter Redfishing

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Winter Redfishing

Captain Charlie Beadon

During the winter months most fishing activity slows down due to cold water temperature. Fish are cold blooded animals meaning that they can not regulate their body temperature, and will take on the same temperature as the surrounding water. As the water becomes colder, a fish’s metabolism slows down and the fish become lethargic. This is where the problem comes in for fisherman; when fish eat less and becomes less active we generally get less shots at catching them. Armed with a little bit of knowledge however, you can pick the best times to go after winter redfish and have a very successful trip.

Where do you go to catch redfish in the winter?

winter redfishWhen water temperatures drop (typically below 55 degrees) redfish will start to school up on shallow water mud flats. Flats are areas that have very little bottom contour (flat bottom) over a particular area, and generally offer food and shelter for redfish. During this time it is not uncommon to see schools of 100 or more fish huddled together in a tight area. If you find a school of redfish early in the season you can go back to that same spot through out the winter and find the same group of fish lying in the same spots. When redfish are schooling on shallow mudflats they will generally move in and out with the tide trying to stay in roughly a foot of water. This is where you will want to concentrate you efforts when looking for fish, and also keep an eye on points, shell mounds or any raised structure on the flat.

Why do redfish school up on shallow mud flats in the winter?

The main reasons that redfish school up on shallow mud flats in the winter are for protection, warmth, and safety in numbers. During the winter much of the food that dolphins feed on (such as menhaden and mullet) are gone, therefore redfish become a larger part of the dolphin’s diet. To keep away from the dolphins redfish will stay in shallow water where the dolphins can’t enter. During midday mud flats also offer warmth as the sun heats up the dark mud bottom. Finally, by grouping up in a school, redfish have many eyes to look for predators; if one fish sees something out of place it will alert the rest of the school.

How do you locate Redfish in the winter?

There is no clear cut answer to this question. The best way to find these fish is by spending time on the water looking for them. The good news however, is that when you do find a school of fish you can generally go back to that same area through out the season and find the same group of fish. If you spend enough time with a particular group of fish through out a season you can learn their habits, what they do under various weather conditions and how they move with the raising and falling tide. The best way to get started is to look at a map and locate some flats. Generally, you will find that the flats are most productive when there is a foot or so of water on them. Many of the mud flats in this area will run from the shoreline outward for 150 or more yards and the fish will move in and out with the tide to stay out of reach of the dolphins. Knowing that the fish will be in this area you can use a trolling motor or push pole to ease down the shoreline and scan for redfish moving around or pushing off as you go over them. When you find a school of fish the best thing to do is to anchor or stake up near the fish and try to catch them from a stationary position.

redfishingHow do you catch a winter redfish?

Though a redfish’s metabolism slows in the winter they still have to eat. The two main things to keep in mind when presenting bait to winter reds are to make a good presentation and then work the bait slowly. It is imperative that you make a good presentation to these fish because if you spook just one fish the whole school will take off. I generally like to lead these fish by four or five feet when I cast to them. Secondly, because these fish are cold and moving slowly you have to work your bait the same way. A slow retrieve or dead bait on the bottom will generally work best for these fish.

What are the best conditions to target winter redfish?

The three main factors to consider when targeting winter reds are tide, temperature, and wind conditions. The ideal conditions would be a low tide on a warm day with very little or no wind. Unfortunately, we can’t always have these perfect conditions, but we can try to line them up as close as possible, and if you can get out on a day when conditions are ideal it will be well worth it. Since these fish school up on the shallow water flats, low tide will be the best time to target them. Generally these fish will feed on warmer days thus getting out when the temperature warms up will increase your chances of getting the fish to eat. Warmer days will also cause the fish to be more active, and allow you to see them pushing around on the flats. The main reason that you want to fish on calm days, or fish a flat that lies in the lee of the wind, is that it makes seeing the fish a whole lot easier. Good luck and “catch em up”!

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

12 Volt Boat Electrical Systems

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

12 Volt Electrical Systems

By Capt. Charlie Beadon

One of the primary systems on all boats is its electrical system. Although often ignored this simple system runs all of your pumps, electronics, trim motors, and starters; so basically speaking no power equals no boating. Today were going to discuss how you can keep your 12 volt electrical system in good working order and also how to trouble shoot and fix your boat when problems arise. Remember that today were going to be talking about simple 12 volt systems and anything that goes beyond the scope of this discussion should be handled by a professional to avoid damaging your boat or personal injury.

UnknownFirst, let’s look at what 12 volt DC power is. Your house runs on AC or alternating current, where as your boat runs on DC or direct current. Direct current is very easy to work with and in most cases relatively safe especially when dealing with the small gauge wiring and low amperage on a boat. The reason that DC current is so appealing to boaters is that it is portable power…power from batteries. When dealing with DC power just think about a battery; you have a positive terminal (hot ) and a negative terminal(ground), when you complete a circuit between the positive and negative poles you will draw energy from the battery. Conversely, any break in either the positive or negative wires will stop that draw. Most electrical devices will have a positive and a negative lead, the negative wire will ground directly to the boat or battery and the positive wire will break at specific points (such as fuses and switches) to turn the device on and off.

Next, were going to discuss the various tools and hardware needed for working on your boats electrical system. In my electrical bag I keep a pair of wire cutters, wire strippers, multi-meter, light probe, heat gun, wire brush, electrical tape, T-9, various heat shrink crimp connectors, red and black marine grade wire and fuses. I keep a separate pair of wire cutters (or dikes) and wire strippers, good pairs of these tools are essential for cutting wire, stripping the casing off of wire and smashing crimps. The multi-meter is a great tool for trouble shooting. I primarily use the multi-meter to test for continuity (checking that there are no breaks in a single wire) and to test a circuit for 12 volt current between a positive and negative wire. A light probe is an easy way to test a circuit, you simply ground one end of the probe and touch a positive (or hot wire) with the other end, if you have power the probe will light up. A heat gun or a lighter is used to melt heat shrink connectors creating a waterproof seal. A wire brush is used to clean exposed wires and battery terminals. Electrical tape is used to temporarily seal connections, but should never be used as a long term sealant in place of heat shrink connectors. T-9 comes in an aerosol can and is sprayed on exposed connections and battery terminals to prevent corrosion. Crimp connectors are used to splice two wires together, or to attach a wire to a device such as your battery or a switch. Using heat shrink connectors keeps salt water away from copper in your wires which will lead to corrosion and ultimately a break in the wire. Marine grade wire comes in different sizes and colors. To choose the size (or gauge) of the wire you need to read the instruction manual for the device that you’re trying to install, and as far as color I generally use only red and black (red for positive and black for negative). Keeping a good selection of fuses and using the recommended fuse for the application is very important. Fuses are placed in line on the positive wire and are designed to melt thus breaking the circuit at specified amperages. If you use a fuse that is too small for the application you will continually blow the fuse. Conversely using fuses that are too large can result in damage to your electrical system or fire.

imagesWhether you’re at the dock or on the water being able to quickly identify a problem will save you money and aggravation. I’m going to give you a few trouble shooting tips to help you fix your boats electrical system in a pinch. If you really want to make things easy on yourself down the road I would recommend labeling all of your wires upon installation with a label maker. Let’s say for example that you go down to your boat and your GPS won’t turn on, your lights won’t work or possibly the engine won’t turn over. These are all possible scenarios that you can trouble shoot by going through the following steps. First, check the battery; ensure that the battery is charged, your battery selector switch is on, the terminals are free of corrosion and the nuts are tight. Next, check your fuses; find the fuse that corresponds to the device without power and visually inspect the fuse then check it for continuity with the multi meter. This is also a good time to ensure that the fuse fits securely into its holder. If you have a light that is not working pull the bulb and check it in the same way as a fuse. Next, check all connection points for the positive and negative wires. For example, at the battery selector switch, the fuse panel and rocker switch (sometimes these wires will become corroded or simply fall off at a connection point). Next, using a multi-meter you need to check the negative and the positive wires for continuity and voltage and then the switch for continuity. Finally, you may need to consider that there is something wrong with your using device, but before you send the device in for service or throw it away you may want to disconnect it completely from your boats electrical system and hard wire it to a charged battery to see if it works.

Finally, I want to discuss things that you can do to protect your boats electrical system. The number one enemy of a boats electrical system and electronics is saltwater. Saltwater causes the metal components of your electrical system to corrode and thus break down until they can no longer carry a current. Knowing this you should be able to protect your boats electronics by simply keeping them salt free. To start with we need to protect any break points in a wire (for example a crimp or connection point) by waterproof sealing it with a heat shrink connector. Next, keep exposed electrical connections (such as battery terminals and switches) in a dry area and coated with T-9. If you do see corrosion building up on a connection simply knock it off with a wire brush and recoat with T-9. Keeping salt from building up below decks is as important as rinsing the outside. After using the boat don’t be afraid to spray out your bilge and battery system with fresh water. Occasionally rinsing your boats engine block, drying and then coating with corrosion block can go a long way. The key to keeping your electrical system in good working order is as simple as keeping the salt out.

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

 

Fly Fishing Basics

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Saltwater Fly Fishing Basics

By Capt. Charlie Beadon

DSC_1057The fly fishing around the Lowcountry is virtually an all but untapped resource. There are so many opportunities to fly fish for both fresh and saltwater fish here. The ponds are loaded with bluegill, bass, and stripers…all waiting for the right presentation. In the rivers we have trout, redfish, and cobia, all of which can be taken on fly. We also have near shore fly rod opportunities in Spanish mackerel, King mackerel, and shark fishing. Catching a trophy fish on the fly rod can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, and this is a great time of the year to learn about the sport, tie some flies, and brush up on casting.

Fly Rods

Fly rods are classified by their action; a fast action rod will bend mostly at the tip and have a stiff butt section. A slow action rod will flex all the way to the handle, also known as a wet noodle. A medium action rod will be somewhere in between.

Fly rods are sized by weight. For bass you may choose a 5 to 7 weight rod, for most inshore saltwater fishing a 7-9 weight is good, and for larger species you may choose a 10 or even a 12 weight.

A few good brands of fly rods are G-Loomis, Sage, St. Croix, and Temple Fork. All of these rods have an unlimited lifetime warrantee, it doesn’t matter if you break the rod in the car door they will replace it. A good fly rod is worth its weight in gold and I don’t recommend taking the cheap road on this purchase.

The cost of these fly rods will vary from 100 to 600 dollars

Fly Reels

Captain Charlie Beadon - Fishing GuideA few good brands of fly reels are Penn, Orvis, Okuma, and Temple Fork. As with fly rods, a good reel is worth the price you pay.

When you purchase a fly reel you may want to buy a spare spool so that you can load one spool with a floating line and the other with a sinking line.

One of the primary features to look at in a good fly reel is a quality drag system, one that is smooth and adjusts in small increments. Line capacity is another factor to consider, especially in salt water fishing. Choose a reel that can hold at least 200 yards of backing.

In general fly reels can be broken down as being either large or small arbor. Large arbor reels have a larger outside diameter, and are generally desired over the small arbor reels because you can retrieve line faster.

Some fly reels have an anti-reverse feature that allows you to hold onto the handle as a fish takes line. In general, most fly reels are direct drive (aka knuckle busters) in which case you must let go of the handle when the fish takes off on a run.

When you purchase a fly reel you will have to decide weather to have it spooled for left or right hand retrieve. There is no right or wrong here, you have to decide what is most comfortable for you.

The cost of a good fly reel can vary form 130 to 600 dollars.

Backing

The purpose of loading your fly reel with backing is to have line in reserve so that when the fish takes off on a run you don’t run out of line.

When choosing backing you want to match the line test of the backing to the rod and reel that you are setting up. In general load 5-7 weight rods with 15 lb backing, 8-10 weight rods 20 lb backing, and 11-12 weight rods with 30 lb backing. The key is to load the reel with enough backing so not to get spooled.

In most all cases a braided line such as magi-braid or power pro should be used simply because the smaller diameter of these lines allows you to put more line on the reel.

Another good tip is to use a high visibility line so that you can tell where the fish is going. The fish never sees the backing anyhow so the bright color won’t affect the bite.

Changing your backing is also important. You want to change your backing when it gets chalky, frayed, nicked, or every few years.

The cost of backing will range from 10-30 dollars.

Fly Line

IMG_0462The fly line that you choose is very important, because a good quality line will allow you to make a better cast, especially under adverse conditions.

A few brands of quality fly line are Cortland, Orvis, and Scientific Angler. I prefer the Scientific Angler mastery series as a good general fly line.

When purchasing fly line you want to match the line weight to the rod weight (i.e. 10 weight rods need a 10 weight line) The reason for this is that if you put a smaller line on a larger rod the rod won’t load when casting and vice versa a larger line on a smaller rod will overload the rod.

Fly lines are classified as either floating or sinking lines. Floating lines float and sinking lines sink…I hope that everybody got that part. In most cases floating lines are used, but in more specialized cases different sinking lines can be used to place the fly in different depths.

Try to choose a line that is hard or stiff (this is why I like the Scientific Angler lines) because they tend not to sag in the rod guides and create less friction.

All fly lines have a taper; they start thin, gradually get thick in the middle and thin out again near the business end. This taper or extra weight is what loads the rod and ultimately makes the cast. There are a whole host of different tapers for different applications. In general a good weight forward fly line is acceptable.

The cost of most quality fly lines will range in price from 50 – 70 dollars.

I’ve mentioned cost for everything because fly fishing equipment is not cheap. If you add up the cost of the rod, reel, backing, and the line you could spend anywhere from 290 to 1300 dollars for a quality fly fishing system. This can get especially expensive if you plan to buy several rod combos for different fishing applications. On the other hand however, most fly fisherman view their fly rods as their most prized of fishing gear, passing these items down as family heir looms. I would suggest starting with a good combination 8 weight fly rod at the lower cost end and then if you really enjoy the sport step up the quality of your equipment.

Leader Construction

fly fishing for speckled trout out of beaufort and hilton headA clear monofilament leader section is always used to attach the fly to the fly line. This leader is usually between 7 and 11 feet long. I usually use a 9 foot leader because it is easy to measure using your 9 foot fly rod.

To attach the leader to the fly line use a stiff piece of heavy mono that is about 12 inches in length. Simply use a nail knot to make the leader to fly line union, and a loop knot at the other end. All subsequent leader to leader junctions can then be made with loop to loop connections.

Different leaders can be tied for different applications. Most leader systems consist of a line class tippet and a bite tippet; and for the true purest, IGFA leaders can be constructed. The nice thing about leader sections is that you can tie them at home on a rainy day, and interchange them quickly using the loop to loop connections while fishing.

Flies

There are many different fly patterns and it takes years to develop a tackle box that has all of the flies that you may use. Many fly fisherman won’t buy flies…as fun as fly fishing is fly tying can be equally rewarding.

Once you have a few good patterns to build on you can go virtually anywhere with this sport…I must warn you however fly fishing tends to be rather addictive and once you get the basics down you may never pick up a bait rod again.

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

Bull Redfishing

Friday, September 18th, 2015

Bull Redfishing

By Capt. Charlie Beadon

When we talk about bull redfish we are referring to the largest of redfish, a true trophy fish for any angler. These fish are not only sought after for their great size but also for their power as a great fighting bottom fish. This is the last large fish to push into our inshore waters before winter so get out and enjoy a day on the water fishing for the big bulls.

Redfish Biology 101

beaufort sc bull redfish - monster redfish1. First we need to know what a bull redfish is. Basically speaking a bull redfish is a sexually mature adult redfish that has moved out of the estuary and lives most of its life in open water.

2. Redfish are very long lived fish, living as long as 60 years. Considering that fish never stop growing an old redfish will also be a rather large fish. In fact, the South Carolina state record for the red drum is 75 lbs; this fish was caught in Murrells Inlet, SC in 1965.

3. When talking about redfish most people think of inshore shallow water fishing. This is where most redfish are caught but these are typically smaller juvenile fish. As Juveniles redfish live in shallow water estuaries feeding on crabs, shrimp and small fish. At about the age of four they become sexually mature adults and move offshore where they live as bottom fish for most of the year. In South Carolina adult redfish move into the surf to spawn during the summer months and then spread out to the sounds and near shore wrecks in late fall.

Tackle and Techniques 

bull redfish caught in beaufort south carolina1. When targeting bull reds we generally fish on the bottom in deep water (20-50 feet deep). Anchor your boat up current of where the fish are and fish 2 or 3 rods with the bait directly on the bottom.

2. As with many other fish we use the good old Carolina rig and bait. In the deeper water I generally use an 8 oz lead and 3 feet of 50 lb leader. In most all cases where you fish with natural bait circle hooks should be used and for redfish your hookup ratio will be near 100% if you use the hooks properly. For bull reds I prefer a 4/0 Eagle Claw Sea Circle.

3. When choosing a rod and reel for this type of fishing I prefer a 20-30 lb class outfit. Conventional or spinning rods will both get the job done, however conventionals are easier to work with (as with most bottom fishing).

4. The best bait for bull reds will include live or ½ crabs, cut or live mullet, cut or live menhaden, and large shrimp.

5. There are a few rules to follow when fishing for redfish, and for the most part all bull reds will be to large to keep. All redfish must be between 15 and 23 inches, only 3 fish can be kept per person per day, and no fish caught past 3 miles offshore (federal waters) can be kept. Good Luck and Tight Lines

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

 

Boat Electronics

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Basic Boat Electronics

By Capt. Charlie Beadon

One of the greatest features of new boats are the latest and greatest gadgets. Boat electronics have come a long way and change constantly, but knowing the basics can make boating more enjoyable and safer for you and your family. Today were going to talk about the VHF radio, GPS and sonar. These are the most basic electronics and also the most important for all boats.

boat electronicsFirst were going to examine the VHF radio. This is a simple, but very important piece of equipment. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when purchasing a VHF radio is to buy a good radio and a cheap antenna. The antenna is the most important part of the radio, so don’t go cheap on this little detail. The VHF can be used for many things; talking to friends, relaying information or to let someone know that you’re in trouble. When talking to friends on the radio the most common channels to use are 5, 6, 71, 78, and 79. These are open channels that anyone can use. In an emergency use channel 16, this is the channel that the U.S. Coast Guard monitors. This channel should only be used in an emergency, for example your boat is sinking or someone on your boat is severely injured. If you have an emergency; put your radio channel on 16, key the microphone and say “may day, may day” this is vessel (vessels name) we have an emergency, and then wait for instructions from the Coast Guard. They will walk you through the rest of the process. Another situation that you may run into is a relay. VHF radios are limited to the distance that the signal can travel and thus you may hear a call from a vessel in distress that the Coast Guard can’t hear. If this ever comes up simply key the microphone and say” this is a relay for vessel (name of vessel that your relaying for)” and relay the message. The other thing that the VHF can be used for is up to date weather. Most VHF radios have a weather button that you can press to hear wind and weather reports from NOAA.

Beaufort, South Carolina Fishing ChartersNext, let’s look at the GPS (global positioning system). The GPS works by triangulating three satellite signals to give you a real time position based on your latitude and longitude. When purchasing a GPS I would recommend buying a unit that has a map overlay which will show the position of your boat moving through the map as you are running. The main buttons on most GPS units are: on/off, quit, page, in, out, enter, arrow keys, navigation and menu. The on/off button is used to turn the unit on and off, and also if you tap the button once you can use the arrow keys to adjust the backlight. The quit button is used to scroll back one page and the page button is used to advance forward one page. The in and out buttons control the zoom level on the map, this makes your map more or less detailed. The enter button is used to enter a command or if you have a spot that you want to save simply hold the enter button down until the waypoint screen comes up and enter the appropriate information and enter “OK”. The arrow keys are used to scroll around menus and can also be used to scroll around the map. The navigation button is used to navigate from point to point or to set up routes. For example, say that you want to go from Dolphin Head to your favorite wreck eight miles offshore; simply press the enter button and put in the lat/long for the wreck, save it as a waypoint then go to the navigation menu, press go to point, then waypoints, select the appropriate waypoint and  then go to. The GPS unit will draw a line from your position to that point. You can also build a route, in which case you enter multiple points and string them together to create a complete route. The menu button is used to access a whole host of information with in your GPS unit. For example, you can change settings, change points and routes or even look at tides. In my opinion Garmin makes the most user friendly units and would be my pick for most applications.

Finally, let’s take a look at sonar units. Sonar works by sending out sound waves and interpreting the information as it comes back. Sonar can be used for many different things. For example, water depth, scanning bottom structure and marking fish. Your sonar will have two main parts; the transducer which sits in the water and sends and receives sound waves and the head unit which interprets and displays data. If your transducer is set up properly you can get a depth reading while on plane; this can be very helpful when navigating through shallow water. The depth reading is pretty straight forward but reading bottom structure and fish can be more challenging.  There a lot of ways to adjust sonar to read data differently, but I only change my range and zoom fields. The range setting allows you to set your head unit to look at a particular depth. I usually leave this setting on automatic unless I want to hone in on a particular depth. For example, say that you want to look at the bottom in 30 feet of water; simple go to range and scroll down to 30 feet and this will lock your machine in at 30 feet. The zoom feature can come in handy, especially when looking at bottom structure. The zoom feature allows you to isolate a particular area on your sonar for a closer look. For example, say that you want to get a good look at the bottom; simply zoom to bottom lock and the bottom will be isolated and blown up for better viewing. In closing, learning to interpret data is going to allow you to make the most out of your sonar. Sonar data is shown in two dimensional so mentally you have to add the three dimensional element. Also, understanding what particular marks represent is very important and come only with practice. For example, a tight ball sitting off of the bottom may be bait fish or a scattered set of lines may be fish or interference.

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

Saltwater Fly Tying Basics

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

Fly Tying Basics

By Capt. Charlie Beadon

One of the most relaxing ways to spend the day (other than fishing) is preparing to go fishing, and there is no better way to do this than tying flies. We’re going to focus primarily on tying bass and saltwater flies. These flies are a lot of fun to tie because of their presence, colors and flash. Moreover, you can use them to fish with…who would have thought that fish would eat a bunch of chicken feather tied to the end of a hook.

First let’s look at the tools of the trade. The base tools that you will need are a vice, bobbin, scissors and a hair packer. The vice is used to hold the hook in place while you work. The bobbin holds your thread and allows you to let out only the amount needed at any given time. Good sharp scissors are a must, and finally the hair packer is used to even out animal hair before tying it on the hook.

fly tying for saltwaterNext we need to discuss the various materials that you may use to tie flies. There are hundreds of different materials and they all come in multiple colors, so I am only listing the basics: hackle, buck tail, marabou, flash, chenille, eyes, and synthetics. Hackle consists of various styles of feathers used to make up the tail and body of the fly. Buck tail or deer body hair also used to make up the tail and body of flies. Marabou is the fluffy bottom side of feathers or young feathers, this is used as a body material and works well because it breaths well in the water. In almost all saltwater flies we use some sort of flash (flashaboo, Krystal flash, wing flash). The flash simply mimics the scales of a bait fish. Chenille is used to build the underside of the body of the fly, this give the fly bulk and sometimes flash. We use fake eyes for many flies, some eyes are painted or stuck on and others are tied in giving the fly not only the appearance of eyes but also weight. There are many different types of synthetic materials on the market. Most of these materials simply take the place of natural materials such as hackle and buck tail. There are a few more miscellaneous items that you will need when tying flies. These items would include: various hooks, waxed thread, epoxy, head cement, razor blades, hook sharpener and a good pattern book.

The following flies are good choices to get started with: wooly bugger, Clouser minnow, Lefty’s deceiver and crazy Charlie’s.

Captain Charlie Beadon

www.hiltonheadfishingadventures.com

www.beaufortsportfishing.com

 

Beaufort Fishing Report for July

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

We have finally gotten into the summer fishing season and the fishing action has been red hot across the board. Due to warm waters and plenty of baitfish we have seen a mixed bag of fishing opportunities on both the inshore and nearshore waters. Whether you are a light tackle enthusiast looking for a quiet outing in the backwaters, a big game fisherman looking for something large to pull on or planning a family fishing adventure this a great time to get out on the water.

Inshore Fishing:

My first option on most inshore fishing trips right now would be to target redfish, speckled trout and flounder. These fish will will be plentiful around many of the grass edges, creek mouths and oyster bays as they forage for small bait fish and shrimp washing in and out with the tidal currents. In many cases, using live or cut bait will work very well but lures such as spoons, jerk baits and topwater walking baits can be very effective as well. Along with the “big three” we should also get plenty of rod bending action from a mix of ladyfish, jack crevalle, bluefish, shark and spanish mackerel. It is not uncommon to catch any or all of these species in one spot if you get lucky and hit it right! The jacks, ladyfish, blues and mackerel are also know to surface feed over open flats and will give away their position by churning the surface as they push smaller baitfish to the top which provides us with some great rod bending action using small topwater lures and flies. In the shallows, we will also be looking for tailing redfish throughout the month. In my opinion, chasing tailing reds in mere inches of water is one of the most exciting ways to chase fish in the Lowcountry! Given the fact that we can see the fish as they graze along the bottom looking for crabs we will get great shots at these fish with both light tackle spinning gear and  fly rods.

Nearshore Fishing:

In the deeper waters around the Sounds and larger river systems the summer action provides us with many larger fish such as giant jack crevalle, big sharks and tarpon. In many cases we will be live bait fishing for these species using 15-30 pound class spinning and conventional outfits. These fish are large and in charge so if you get hooked up with one of these bruisers I would recommend that you hang on and get ready for a long battle! We should also be seeing schools of spanish mackerel and bluefish along the shoals which can provide fast paced action as these fish will be feeding heavily on or near the surface. In may cases, we will be casting plugs and flies directly into the middle of the schools of fish in hopes of getting a strike and considering that these fish are very aggressive on the bite and put up a great fight they are one of my favorite summer fishing options!

Beaufort Fishing Report for June

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

We are finally into our summer fishing season! With water temperatures becoming more stable and a huge influx of baitfish the action should be outstanding with a mixed bag of various fish species and feisty sharks on both the inshore and nearshore waters. Given the hotter afternoons I would generally recommend fishing the shallow waters during the lower light of the morning or evening hours and save mid day for deeper water bottom fishing.

Inshore:

The shallow water sight fishing will still be good as we move into summer but rather than fishing around the low tide we will be focusing more attention to the high tide redfishing. With good summer tides the reds will be able to push way back into the marsh up to the short grass flats where they can pick at fiddler crabs along the bottom. In many cases they will be feeding in such shallow water that we will be able to see the fishes tails popping out of the water as they feed (thus the name tailing redfish). This is a very exciting way to catch fish as we will be able to see the fish before ever making a cast which is great for light tackle and fly fishing enthusiasts! Outside of fishing for tailer’s we will have good shots at reds along the grass edges, oyster bars and creeks mouths. Along with reds also look to catch good numbers of speckled trout, flounder, jacks, ladyfish, bluefish and various sharks. I many cases, live or cut bait will take any of these species but working soft plastics or topwater lures along the edges will can be very productive as well! As a note: remember that the speckled trout are spawning during the summer so releasing the larger “row” trout ensures that we will have a great trout fishery for years to come.

Nearshore Wrecks: whiting, spanish, blues, shark, cobia

There is so much bait pouring into our area right now and behind the bait you can bet that there will be large gamefish and plenty of sharks to pull on. Along the beach and rips we will start to look for schools of bluefish and spanish mackerel as they crash the surface feeding on smaller baits. Moreover, there should still be a good number of cobia floating around on both the nearshore waters and on the offshore wrecks. If you are looking for some table food then placing shrimp on the bottom for whiting is the way to go; these fish don’t get very big but for what they lack in size they make up for as being excellent eating. And then there is the shark fishing! If you just want to pull on something big there will be plenty of sharks around to catch. We have 17 different shark species that average in size from 10-100 pounds plus a few monsters such as bull, tiger and hammer head that can push well over 500 pounds!