ISLE OF PALMS -- White shrimp are teeming back in the creeks behind this island. Red drum are schooling to go after them. Sea trout are feeding on them under the docks.

At high noon Friday, the crustaceans face a bigger critter.

It's the opening of the recreational shrimping season -- shrimp baiting -- a two-month fling of nets that is a signature of the Lowcountry. Clay and meal bait balls are dropped around poles set in the water to lure clusters of feeding crustaceans under the nets. Among boaters, few things are more prized than bringing home that brimming, shiny cooler full.

That's despite the long hours rocking away in the dark, paying $100 or more to buy the license, the net, the poles, the meal mix, the gas for the boat and, oh yeah, beer for the cooler. Sure, it would be cheaper just to buy the shrimp, Jeremy Burnham happily concedes. But that's not the point.

Read more in tomorrow's The Post and Courier.