especially with the possibility of getting out on the water at least one of the days we were there. Timing and schedules would only allow for a half-day trip, which I hoped would provide a representative sample of how they do things on this side of the country. Let me just say this: It’s a different deal.
First, a note about the weather…
One problem they face on the East Coast in the summer that we rarely (if ever) have to deal with are thunderstorms. That’s due to the moist, buoyant air that comes along with the warm waters brought north along the coast by the Gulf Stream current. While we didn’t face the prospect of a thunderous day on the water this trip, a persistently pesky south wind had buffeted the coastal waters for the better part of the week before our planned departure, and it apparently took a toll on water conditions (and the bite).
Now back to the trip out of the Hurricane Fleet on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina. This is a big time tourist area and this is total tourist fishing. One fare ($40 adults/$35 children) includes your rod, reel, daily fishing license and bait. Apparently live bait is NOT commonly seen on the larger open party sportfishing boats here (I’ve found it’s a Southern California thing) so we used salted squid. Frozen shrimp or chunks of baitfish were extra. The preferred rigging was a double dropper loop rig with 8oz. of weight. Spots along the rail were assigned as we boarded and it was TIGHT! No need to move around or follow fish on this trip.
Heading out into the wind, which wasn’t as bad as it had been, proved to be a somewhat choppy ride. 3-5 foot wind-generated swells with a short interval produced a lumpy sea, but it was fishable. We headed about 5-10 miles off the coast of Myrtle Beach, SC where there had been recent catches of sea bass, our target species.
This type of sea bass, called black sea bass here in no way resembles the black sea bass (giant sea bass) caught in California and Mexican waters. The size limit is 13” and very few hauled aboard on this trip fit that description. The three I caught definitely did not! (see photo)
There were a variety of other fish, including porgies and a couple of sharks hauled aboard during our 2 ½ hours of fishing time, but no steady action in the 6 or 7 drifts we made in the 80 degree water.
It was soon time to head back to the dock. While the weather wasn’t perfect and the fishing was slow, it is always great to be on the water.
The crew was on top of it all and did a great job of dealing with the inevitable tangles associated with 50+ people fishing on a drifting boat in 50 feet of water.