Most of my columns deal with local outdoor topics. Occasionally, I’m going to stray farther afield and address outdoor activities or conservation issues that are not specific to southeast Idaho. This is one of those occasions.
Recently we organized a family vacation centered on the South Carolina coast and what family vacation would be complete without a fishing trip? Unfortunately, none of us knew anything about fishing off coastal South Carolina. My brother-in-law asked around and one of his friends recommended North Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters.
I’m more of a do-it-yourself kind of guy and the thought of hiring someone to take us fishing made me more than a little unsettled. Still, with three grandkids clamoring for some fishing, I took the plunge and hoped for the best. I carefully reviewed the charter’s website then called the company. Everything I learned suggested competence and a family-oriented approach. I picked a date and time, provided a deposit, and informed the family.
The day before our trip the company told me where to meet the captain and to look for a black and white bay boat. That was great but I’m from Idaho, what’s a bay boat?
When we arrived at the marina, there were hundreds of boats and many were near the pier where we were supposed to meet our captain. Fortunately, only four looked like fishing boats and one was black and white. We began walking toward the boat and found Captain Keith Logan sitting on a bench waiting for us. In a soft southern drawl, Keith introduced himself and asked if we were ready for some fishing.
Keith told us that we first had to catch some bait, then we were going to fish a different spot than originally planned because warm estuary water had forced many fish out into the open ocean. As we boated out of the marina and along the Inland Waterway, Keith was kind enough to point out interesting sites along our route.
Keith pulled into a side estuary after a short boat ride and pulled out a throw net. He was looking for shrimp and needed well over 100. To me, this bit of news suggested that he expected lots of action. After about 45 minutes of netting shrimp along with assorted small crabs and fish (which we returned to the water), we were on our way. Keith explained we were heading for the open ocean, then hooking back to fish near a rock jetty that extended far out into the sea.
Once we arrived at the jetty, Keith set a GPS-controlled trolling motor to maintain our position. He baited my granddaughter’s hook and helped her cast towards the rocks. From that point until we were ready to leave there was constant action. Everyone caught fish and I was quite surprised by the diversity of species and the size of many of the fish. We caught red drum, blues, sea trout, pompano, ladyfish, and pinfish. Some were too small to keep while others were too big. A large drum actually bruised my daughter’s arm as she was fighting it. We kept some for dinner but most were returned to the water after a few photos.
Despite my initial worries, this was a terrific, fun-filled outing with a very knowledgeable guide. The trip was everything that was promised. We had barely gotten off the boat at the end of the day when everyone started talking about a return trip. I normally avoid recommending specific products or companies but, because our experience was so outstanding, I’ll make an exception. If you find yourself near Myrtle Beach, S.C., and are interested in some fishing, you can’t go wrong with North Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters.