SC Swamp Fishing

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Reekfish's picture
SC Swamp Fishing

Josh and I set out at the crack of dawn yesterday to explore some Western SC waters we had yet to fish. The first stop was the Little Salkehatchie River. Surprisingly, it was a very chilly morning (for SC) and we both cast some lures with icy-cold hands. We were hoping for some of the rarer sunfishes, like the flier, bluespotted, banded and blackbanded sunnies. This spot did not produce even a bite, maybe because the fish were all full off of mayflies, which coated the riverbanks and water's surface.

So we moved on to the Salkehatchie River, to a boat landing which looked great for pickerel, sunnies and micros. Josh nabbed a redfin pickerel (his 153rd lifelister) right off the bat with a panther-martin.

After the pickerel, and several sunfish (dollar, redbreast, bluegill) there was no more action for quite some time and we decided to relocate again.

We set up again at a different spot along the Salkehatchie. This place looked better. There was more current here, and better access for casting. We tossed out a couple crawlers. We had one take but the fish got off. Josh got another redfin pickerel by casting a lure in very shallow water along the shoreline. I wandered about, trying desperately to catch one of my own, but alas, none attacked my lure. I did enjoy the scenery quite a bit though. The swampy areas of cypress trees are so different from forests in the midwest.

After a while we packed up again and headed toward the Savannah River. Along the highway we spotted a pond with plenty of lily-pad cover which looked like it would be excellent for sunfish. We did a U-turn and got out to try our luck. When we dipped a crawler in, we did get a bite, but it was not who we expected:

After removing the hook, we got back on the road (didn't want to stick around waiting for Mama Gator). We made it to the Savannah River and were pleased with the look of the boat landing. There was plenty of structure from old railroad tressles and so we got our lines in the water. Then we turned our attention to micros. Josh caught a coastal shiner fairly quickly, followed by a bannerfin shiner (his 154th lifelister!):

Soon Josh got a nice bite on the crawler rod. He pulled in this gorgeous white catfish!:

Then I got one too! 

I got another white catfish, and began to hit the micros again. After a good hour of trying, I finally landed my first bannerfin shiner (my 85th lifelister).

After the first one, I began to catch more very easily. I also got a couple whitefin shiners. I guess it was just a matter of getting the technique down to present the bait in a natural-looking way. Next, Josh and I each caught lovely bluegills:

A couple snail bullheads were also caught:

We talked it over and decided to stay out until after dark to try for eels. We drove to a spot along the Edisto River and set up under the bridge. Here we caught several more bannerfin shiners, but there were no other micro species to be had. After a quiet hour or so, we thought it was about time to head home. When I went to reel in my line, there was somebody on the other end! I wrestled ashore my first american eel!!!!

Man, it was soooo hard to get the eel to be still for a photo! After we released it, I did my best to scrape the heavy slime off my hands onto a concrete pole. Then we drove home, celebrating the day's victories!



Mike B
Mike B's picture
The ever reliable Panther

The ever reliable Panther Martin - my open water go-to lure 90 per cent of the time. Great pics. I hope I get to hold an alligator on my trip to Florida in a couple weeks.

mike b

Hengelaar's picture
What a great report!



Boy, does that spot where you got the White Cats look F I S H Y!!!


Sigh, and yet more lifers for Lady Reekfish. I shouldn't have said anything.

Get a Skullfish, then I'll be impressed (joke). Tellye what's a bummer: no fishing in the latest Zelda game! WHY?!

Fishn sure is neat

Eli's picture
Thats awesome on all fronts!

Thats awesome on all fronts! Really cool report. Was that gator nice and docile? Was it had getting the hook out?

Haven't seen an American Eel in years and you can bet that the next time I do, I'll actually crack a smile in my fish picturesmiley




Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
You two are awesome, handling

You two are awesome, handling that gator like it aint shit.  I love it.  Only on will you see stuff like this.  Nice report and congrats on the lifelisters.

the pyromaniac
the pyromaniac's picture
Great report! I really

Great report! I really enjoyed reading it, and I must agree with the Dutchman that the spot with the white catfish looks amazing!




Let there be fire!

Reekfish's picture

"Tellye what's a bummer: no fishing in the latest Zelda game! WHY?!"

That is a bummer! The fishing mini-game was so fun in Twilight Princess. Is it Skyward Sword, on the Wii, that you're playing? I wish it'd come out on the 'Cube... although Josh and I have our hands full lately playing old Final Fantasy games.

"Was that gator nice and docile? Was it hard getting the hook out?"

The gator was not exactly docile... it was actually pretty ticked off. Holding it with a hand right in the armpits, though, it didn't seem to be able to strike. Luckily the hook came out without much trouble.

Thanks, all, for the nice comments! :)

MNbowfinangler's picture
Redfin Pickerel

I was both excited and relieved to catch my first redfin pickerel!  I had put more time and effort into trying to a catch a redfin pickerel than any other species in SC.  Despite knowing they are rather abundant in the streams and swamps I tried fishing and that they are fairly aggressive, I kept coming up empty handed. Although it's not the biggest specimen (I caught a second one the same day a tiny bit bigger but the pictures were not great) I am relieved to add this cool fish to my lifelist before moving back to the Midwest.

It was also a relieving catch because for the past couple weeks I have been haunted by a nice-sized redeye bass that I idiotically misplayed and so failed to land (and lifelist). I got excited when I saw it was a redeye and instead of playing it to shore I tried to lift it out of the water while it was fresh and fiesty, and it threw the hook... So that will be my next major freshwater target before the ocean heats up and the sharks start biting.

DavidG's picture
Nice, y'all found the redfin

Nice, y'all found the redfin pickerel! That is a good sized eel too! If its the spot I think it is its way bigger than any I.ever got


DavidG Blog:

Reekfish's picture

Yeah, I'm still trying to coax the redfin pickerel onto my lifelist...


And yes, sirree, the eel is where you think it is! Thanks for putting us on 'em! smiley

Jason E.
Jason E.'s picture
Nice report.  I would NOT be

Nice report.  I would NOT be brave enough to hold a gator like that.  Holy smokes.

Great report

 My favorite is the eel. It looks so cool. I can only imagine how much it must have wiggled.