Best bets during late summer

  • Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2013 6:00 p.m., Updated: Saturday, August 24, 2013 6:31 p.m.

Every summer, there comes a point when even hardcore anglers start to waver in their fanaticism … especially on a boats without a T-top.

Late August can be brutal on the water. Even the fish seem to slow down. But with a slight cool-down expected this week, it’s a great time to head out and explore those late-summer fishing patterns.

Advice from some of our local tackle shop pros provides a few clues where to start:

Redfish: Though the tides this week won’t be as high as they have been recently, anglers should still get some shots at redfish tailing through flooded marsh.

Capt. Joe Benton of the Charleston Angler said he’s heard good reports from anglers wading into the grass with DOA Airheads, a plump soft-plastic bait that mimics small fish.

“The redfish are feeding on mullet,” Benton said. “They’ve been seeing a lot of blow-ups up in the grass.”

Harley Watts of Haddrell’s Tackel and Supply in Mount Pleasant also cited good reports on tailing spottails, as well as a few bull redfish at the Charleston Jetties.

Tarpon: The fishing so far this year appears to be spotty, despite reports of a few hookups at the jetties a few weeks ago.

Late August and September typically provide the best opportunity to catch (and release) one of these massive fish. Try soaking menhaden and mullet (live and cut) along sandbars and troughs at major inlets. Most fishermen deploy a mix of top and bottom baits, with heavy-duty floats up top and break-away sinkers down below.

Bottom fishing: The three-day “mini-season” for red snapper ends today, and everyone seems to expect great reports from those lucky enough to head out after these tasty but highly regulated fish.

J.J. Owczarek of The Charleston Angler said that in general, “bottom fishing’s been great.”

“If you stop in 120 feet, you can catch just about everything. Big red snapper, though you usually have to let those go, black sea bass, big vermilions — you name it, bottom fishing out of Charleston is on fire.”

Wahoo: This year’s strong wahoo bite seems to be holding through the summer, with decent reports trickling in from the offshore fleet.

Owczarek said many offshore anglers continue to visit his store seeking larger ballyhoo to troll for wahoo at the ledge. This schedule seems to match his own fishing records, Owczarek said.

“Starting this week, and going into the first two weeks of September, have always been pretty good on wahoo.

“It should start to turn back on, though really it’s been fairly good throughout the year so far.”

Late-season migratory bird regulations set

The S.C. Natural Resources Board recently approved the 2013-2014 late migratory bird seasons and regulations.

Shooting hours statewide are half-hour before sunrise to sunset. For complete regulations, go to dnr.sc.gov

Here are the seasons:

DUCKS: (Excluding Sea Ducks) Nov. 23-Dec. 1; Dec. 7-Jan. 26. Bag limit is six total, including no more than four mallards (two hens), two pintails, one fulvous whistling duck, one black-bellied whistling duck, three wood ducks, two redheads, two canvasbacks, two scaup and either one black duck or one mottled duck.

SEA DUCKS: Oct. 12-Jan. 26 for eiders, scoters and long-tailed ducks

MERGANSERS: Nov. 23-Dec. 1; Dec. 7-Jan. 26. Bag limit is five (only one hooded merganser)

COOTS: Nov. 23-Dec. 1; Dec. 7-Jan. 26. Bag limit is 15.

CANADA GEESE/WHITE FRONTED GEESE: Nov. 23-Dec. 1; Dec. 7-Jan. 26, Feb. 6-Feb. 15. Bag limit is five (not to include more than two white-fronted geese).

BLUE and SNOW GEESE: Nov. 23-Dec. 1; Dec. 7-Jan. 26. Bag limit is 25.

BRANT: Dec. 28-Jan. 26. Bag limit is two.

DNR issues reminder on imported deer parts

State wildlife officials are asking big-game hunters traveling to Western states to avoid bringing home certain carcass parts from deer and elk harvested in states with chronic wasting disease.

DNR has set up regulations restricting such practices to protect South Carolina’s deer population from the highly contagious disease.

To date, the disease has not been documented in South Carolina or any other nearby state. More than 6,000 deer from all 46 South Carolina counties have been tested since 2002.

“The regulation will not keep hunters from importing harvested game since most game taken outside of South Carolina is processed in the state where it was harvested,” said Charles Ruth, the state’s deer and wild turkey program coordinator.

Chronic wasting disease is one of the family of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, Ruth said. The disease kills deer or elk by attacking their central nervous systems.

Hunters traveling to states with confirmed cases of chronic wasting disease should only bring the following parts into South Carolina: Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; meat that has been boned out; hides with no heads attached; clean (no meat or tissue attached) skulls or skull plates with antlers attached; antlers (detached from the skull plate); clean upper canine teeth, also called “buglers,” “whistlers” or “ivories;” and finished taxidermy heads.

States where CWD has been diagnosed include Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Reach Matt Winter at (843) 937-5568

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