The big fish are biting as anglers approach the midway point of the 2021 South Carolina Wahoo Series, and tournament founder Capt. Marc Pincus says the best is yet to come.
"Traditionally, at least the last two years, the biggest fish has come in April. I think fishing is only going to get better from here," Pincus said. "Two weeks ago it really busted wide open and we had a nice run. And last week we had a really good run."
The S.C. Wahoo Series – which allows anglers to pick their three days of fishing, weigh one fish each day and count the two heaviest fish for the top prize – continues through April 24.
Pincus noted several boats that took advantage of ideal fishing conditions in recent weeks.
Mas Pescado, captained by Billy Freeman of Mount Pleasant, weighed an 80-pound wahoo on March 10. That same day, Capt. John Abbate's Swedish Fish out of Charleston, which finished second in the 2020
S.C. Wahoo Series, brought a 71-pound wahoo to the scales. On The Flip, captained by Cory Brumbelow of Charleston, narrowly missed cracking the 70-pound mark, weighed a 69.6-pound catch on March 10.
Four other boats landed wahoo weighing 60 pounds or more during a four-day period. On March 9, Game Hawg had a 69.0-pound catch and Dirty Martini had a 66.6-pound wahoo. On March 13, Stranglehold caught a 68.5-pound wahoo and Salty Cracker landed a 65.5-pound fish.
Mas Pescado is the overall leader in the tournament at this point, but Scallywag, captained by Heather Leman of Mount Pleasant, has a two-fish aggregate of 71.7 pounds. Swedish Fish, at 71 pounds, is third in the standings.
Weigh stations included Toler’s Cove in Mount Pleasant, Hilton Head Harbour Marina and Georgetown Landing Marina.
"Boats up and down the whole coast got into some good fish," Pincus said. "I fished Saturday (March 13) and I caught five right there where the big fish were caught but I didn't get my shot. Game Hawg had seven fish and (Mas Pescado) had a double-digit wahoo catch."
Pincus said that with the super moon coming up the fishermen are thinking it's going to be a great month. Anglers are looking for water temperatures of 70 degrees or more over structure to find their fish.
The husband and wife team of Morris and Tamesha Beck of Johns Island waited until April in 2020 to declare fishing days. They caught a 49.5-pound wahoo on April 6 and then landed a 98.3-pound catch on April 11 to win the series and $63,294. The 2020 series had 151 boats. This year's tournament has drawn 180 boats. The top prize is $40,000 plus additional cash in optional tournament levels.
Pincus started the S.C. Wahoo Series in 2016 and has since added the S.C. Mahi Series (May 10-June 5) for dolphin and S.C. Fall Classic (Sept. 21-Nov. 7) for king mackerel.
This year anglers can compete in all three series, the S.C. Saltwater Series sponsored by Huk, in a points race for the team of the year.
"I wanted to give these guys a competitive series trail for fishing team of the year, bragging rights and prizes. We want to try and build it up to make it really prestigious. All three are unique fish to catch with different styles of fishing. I was hoping to get 15 to 20 boats interested but we have 53 boats that have committed to fishing all three," Pincus said.
Pincus will be doing a live Facebook broadcast from Haddrell's Point Tackle in Mount Pleasant at 5:30 p.m. March 22, giving a series update as well as demonstrating how to rig wahoo lures and tips and techniques for catching wahoo.
Electronic reporting for turkey hunters
Opening day for turkey hunting on private lands in the Lowcountry of South Carolina (Game Zones 3 and 4) is March 22, and hunters are reminded this year they are required to report their harvest electronically.
There are three ways to report your harvest. South Carolina Game Check is a smartphone app that can be downloaded. You also can go online and report your harvest through the S.C. Department of Natural Resources website (dnr.sc.gov). There's also a toll-free number (1-833-472-4263) for key punch entry.
Hunters should have received this information when they received their turkey hunting tags.
The seasonal bag limit for residents remains at three birds, no more than one per day, and hunters are limited to just one turkey during the first 10 days of the season. Non-resident hunters will be limited to two birds. State residents are required to purchase a set of three tags for $5 while the two tags for nonresidents are $100.
The 40-day season on private lands in Game Zones 3 and 4, which includes most of the lower part of the state including Charleston, is March 22-April 30. The season on Game Zones 1 and 2 is April 1-May 10. Statewide season on Wildlife Management Areas is April 1-April 30. Check Wildlife Management Areas for specific hunting dates on these properties.
America's Boating Club
America’s Boating Club Charleston will hold boating safety classes March 27 and April 10 at 1376 Orange Grove Road, Charleston. The classes begin at 9 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. Successful participants earn the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Boater Education Card. The cost is $25 for adults and youth 12-18 are free. Call 843-312-2876 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brady Bates Redfish Open
The Brady Bates Youth Redfish Open Scholarship Tournament is scheduled April 10 out of Buck Hall Landing. The tournament is part of the Student Angler League Tournament Trail. Last year's tournament saw $15,000 in scholarships awarded. The tournament is free to all members of SALTT (Student Angler League Tournament Trail). Visit salttfishing.com for information or email email@example.com.
Charleston Sheepshead Tournament
The Charleston Inshore Anglers' 28th annual "Big Ed" Sheepshead Tournament will be fished April 17.
The captain's meeting and registration will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. April 15 at American Legion Post 147 located at 968 Folly Road. The tournament weigh-in also will be held at American Legion Post 147 from 4-5 p.m. The entry fee for the tournament is $40.
Contact Kevin Mischke at 843-324-1006; Robbie Zetrouer at 843-709-0650; Nick Kvestad at 843-557-2811; or Gene Broderick at 843-224-6826.