Month: March 2017

The future is CPR

One value we share here is fisheries conservation.  You will never see us posting (or re-posting) pics of “fish-slaying”, with a deck covered up in dead fish.  One’s fishing prowess is not measured in numbers of kept fish – at least not in our book.  True sportsmen are interested in sustainability.  Sure, keep a few for your families dinner – but handle the rest properly and send them back to be caught again.  My years of fish tagging have shown that our fish will be caught at least once during their lifetime and often several times.  If all these fish were kept, they simply would not be there – it’s not rocket surgery folks!

Our fishing club, the Summerville Saltwater Anglers has 6 member tournaments a year.  These are low pressure, fun tournaments where traditionally we had weigh-ins at a boat landing.  Fortunately or unfortunately for me, in these tournaments I have had the luck of catching some large fish, namely two trout over 5 lbs.  As a personal rule, I release all trout over 20″, but in both of these cases I kept these fish since I was in a tournament.  At the time, I requested whether we could look at the rules and see if we could submit a photo on a ruler in lieu of a weight in the case of an exceptional fish – so that the fish might be released.  Well, for various reasons, we didn’t do that.

This year, I am proud to say that we decided as a board to go to 100% CPR (Catch, Photo, Release) format.  Kayakers have used this format successfully in tournaments out of necessity – there is no way to have a livewell in a yak.  One of the largest kayak tournaments in the world, The Jax Kayak Classic, uses this format.  All you need to do is take a picture of your catch against an approved ruler.  There are several metal rulers with a 90 deg bend on the end available online for around $20.  Everyone these days has a smart phone.  Simply take a pic of the fish on a ruler with your phone and attach the pic to a text or email to submit it.  Simple and easy!

An angler taking a pic to submit in the tournament. Often a token is used to ensure the photo is recent.

The real beauty of this format is that you can now “weigh” over- and under-slot fish.  So, every fish can count regardless of catch and creel laws.  This makes it a lot of fun for everyone.  And, you can do your part for conservation by releasing your fish.  Our club is one that leads by example, and is made up of a lot of conservation oriented families.

I’m very proud to be associated with SSWA, and I truly believe that CPR tournaments are the way of the future, for all fishermen.

Redfish release with DNR tag
The future of fishing tournaments is CPR

Last grip of winter

Seems like forever since Ralph and I have fished together.  We decided on the Wando river today, as we haven’t fished it all winter.  We found the water to be the old familar “Wando Gin” color.  You can see at least 12 feet down right now, no doubt partly because of the very slow tide today.  The range was less than 4 ft.  Here in Charleston, we have had our only real cold snap of the entire winter these last few days, with morning temps near or just below freezing.  This snap has cooled the water from the mid 60’s down to the mid 50’s.

Ralph in his natural habitat

Not surprisingly, the fishing was sloooow.  Another phenomenon which happens around this time of year near the full moon is an annual worm hatch.  For several days after this hatch the fishing is awful, probably because the fish are so gorged they can’t eat another bite for a while – kinda like overeating at Thanksgiving dinner.  We are between moons, so that is probably not the cause for the slow bite this time, but it’s something to be wary of.  Same is true, by the way, when the crabs become “peelers”, but that’s another story.

Suspecting that a finesse approach was going to be needed, I went to my old familiar standard – the original trout trick with a 1/8 oz Trout Eye jighead.  I still can’t explain it, but there is something magic about that combo – it’s been proven time and time again.  After switching to this setup, I had what should have been an inshore slam in short order.  I say should have, because I lost a very nice flounder boatside…doh!

There’s something magic about the original TT

We had only about 3 hours to fish, and at our last spot, I had a very, very light bite.  Actually, no bite was felt – it was just a resistance.  I lifted the jig and felt a couple head shakes before I lost it.  I dropped the lure back and this time the resistance resulted in a good 16-17″ class trout.  Subsequent cast yielded another and this was all it took for Ralph to switch to the same setup.  Shortly after, he had 2 or 3 on the deck.  Like I said, there is something magic about the original Trout Trick.  It also demonstrates that you should keep varying your offerings and presentation when the catching is tough, as it can make the difference between going home with a skunk, or salvaging a pretty decent day.

A finesse approach salvaged dinner today

Hope this helps you, and as always, feel free to come by the shop if you would like to ask any questions and talk fishing.  We do carry the original TT here at the shop and would be happy to stock you up.  I’m glad I had some on me today!

If you’re unsure how to properly work the Trout Trick, see this video that I filmed a couple years ago:  How to Fish the Z-Man Trout Trick