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!