Jason's Lake great opportunity for young fishermen

Bryer Hess, 7, of Charleston caught and released his first redfish while fishing at Jason's Lake at Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area on Edisto Island. Photo provided.

It's safe to say 7-year-old Bryer Hess has a favorite fishing spot.

Jason's Lake, on the Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area at Edisto Island, is a spot aimed at providing a fishing opportunity for youth. It's open to fishing only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and is restricted to youth 17 and younger who must be accompanied by no more than two adults 18 or older who also may fish. You can take use a kayak or canoe, but there are plenty of spots along the bank to fish.

And there are fish in the lake. Bryer caught his first and second redfish on the trip. He also caught a large pinfish. A friend caught two flounder, one small and another one that got away before they could net it.

The best news of all is that the fish are still swimming in Jason's Lake. It's catch and release fishing only.

Bryer, a rising second grader at Orange Grove Elementary Charter School, and other members of his West Ashley Cub Scout pack spent the day at Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area on Edisto Island. Under the direction of Department of Natural Resources personnel, they cleared paths to help turtle hatchlings make their way to the ocean. It was the second time the group had done so and Hess remembered the lake, his mother Natalie said.

"Bryer was dying to go fishing there," she said. "Before we did the turtle thing we fished and then we went back and fished some more. We fished right off the bank."

Bryer's father Clinton purchased shrimp at Harris Teeter for bait and the youngster fished using a float.

"They were catching fish. We didn't sit there long without catching something," Natalie said. "There was another little boy there when we came back from working with the turtles that was hooked up with a pretty good-sized fish and reeling it in by himself. It's really cool for the kids. It's almost guaranteed they're going to catch something."

Natalie said the area has some shade so fishermen can get out of the sun. But there are no bathrooms at Botany Bay, so visitors should be prepared.

The 3,363-acre Botany Bay Plantation is located just off Highway 174. It is closed on Tuesdays. Information about visiting Botany is available at dnr.sc.gov or call (843) 869-2713.