Friday, November 30, 2012

Nov. '12 WMA duck harvest / Youth Day Dec. 1

Redhead, Pintail and Mottled duck (speculum)
Overall the Thanksgiving week of duck season in South Carolina brought in a sharp contrast in reports including no hunting due to lack of ducks, with other locations grateful for all the ducks that Superstorm Sandy pushed this far south seemingly ahead of schedule. The SCDNR keeps track of their waterfowl harvest on Wildlife Management Areas, and the Nov. 12 data also shows various results. For instance, the Bear Island West Hunt Unit showed slow results with less than three ducks per hunter with mostly northern shovelers in the bag. Meanwhile Bear Island East had a more typical harvest of gadwall, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal and shovelers too. Once again the leader of the pack is the Hickory Top Greentree Reserve, located in the Midlands, with a staggering 319 wood ducks harvested over one week!! This stat powered the wood duck to be the number one duck in the S.C. hunter's bag over Thanksgiving with a total of 400 overall harvested. For further details about which species were harvested, including data from the Santee Delta hunt units, click SCDNR.

Dec. 1 is designated as State Youth Waterfowl day in S.C., providing an opportunity to introduce the next generation of hunters to waterfowling. Hunters 17 years old and younger qualify when they are accompanied by an adult hunter 21 years of age. The adult mentor is not allowed to carry a gun or to hunt. A federal duck stamp must be purchased by the youth, but the state waterfowl permit requirement will be waived for this special Dec. 1 hunt!

To view past blog entries about Nov. WMA duck harvests click here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses

S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts with SCDNR Director Alvin Taylor

NASC logo

2012 NASC State Legislators

Talking about conservation in the ACE Basin,
with Dan Ashe, Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency
The 2012 annual conference of the National Association of Sportsmens Caucuses met at The Marina Inn at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach. The NASC invites sportsman legislators from across the nation to join together to discuss issues that they face in their home states. The sharing of information helps to keep concerns about sporting issues on the front burner of the politicians who can shape the policies that affect those who value our great outdoors. The Congressional Sportsmens Foundation in D.C. serves as the umbrella organization for NASC. South Carolina hosted NASC five years ago, and the S.C. Sportsmen's caucus produced the current NASC Executive Council President - Rep. Mike Pitts, who serves as the host for the Myrtle Beach summit. SCDNR keeps a high profile at such events by licensing these out of state sportsmen before their afternoon hunting and fishing trips and SCDNR Director Alvin Taylor was present to extend a welcome to everyone. Some of the topics at NASC included knife rights, silencer legality education, uniform hunter education programs, catch shares, idle iron policies, and the threats from feral hogs. John Frampton, formerly with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies spoke about the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration program. Dan Ashe is the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and he came to the Lowcountry Outdoors to express gratitude to the grass roots legislators that can set the tone for national policies. This 9th annual NASC summit proves to be an important tool to raise awareness on a national level, and Myrtle Beach and South Carolina proudly provided quality hunting and fishing opportunities for these legislator guests.

To view a recap from Barton James, Director of DU Public Policy, click here.

To read my feature story click on Colletonian.

Jeff Angers and Mike Leonard,
 after the saltwater fishing breakout session
To view past blog entries about the CSF click here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Texas Hold 'Em - Fins and Feathers at Redfish Lodge

Texas Hold 'Em: Redfish over drake redhead, pintail and mottled ducks

Guide Brian Holden tweaking the decoy spread

Elizabeth Holland with her black drum and guide

Redheads and bluebills in Texas 
Lowcountry Outdoors experienced a Cast and Blast trip for ducks and fish along the southern gulf coast of Texas. Based in Rockport, The Redfish Lodge is well suited to provide everything that the traveling sportsman might require. My third visit to this first class lodge, with its own private mile long peninsula, was another epiphany about just how special their location continues to be. Location, location, location! During a full weekend of hunting and fishing we never had to leave the lodge grounds, which makes for a convenient and comfortable stay. Lured by the chance to shoot redheads and pintails - the bag included those species as well as mottled ducks, bluebills and shovelers. Guide Brian Holden assured me that the duck hunting in this area is very consistent since it is near the bottom of the flyway. The saltwater fishing was excellent as usual with large redfish being easy to find, plus the mixed bag that all saltwater enthusiasts value. Even if you don't play competitive card games, I can recommend this game of Texas Hold 'Em as a great way to get in touch with a stellar outdoors experience.

To view my feature article in The Charleston Mercury click here.

To view past blog entries about The Redfish Lodge click here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 11/27/12

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Perky redfish ready for release!
Charleston Inshore Report: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West asks have you tricked a trout lately?? Get a bag of Trout Tricks, the latest plastic bait for specks, and you will have made a deadly investment towards landing lots of spotted seatrout. Just like the super sized tides lately, reports of quality trout have been flooding in to Scott for two weeks now! Our 'steady as she goes' weather pattern has the trout locked into the right mindset, and the waters are getting gin clear. Other options for trout include Zman PaddlerZ, DOA shrimp, Mirrolure 17MR - and for best results fish them around hard bottom and shell rakes in 3 to 7-feet of water. Anglers don't need live live bait right now for trout, but a live shrimp under a floating cork will never go out of style. Redfish continue to school up in larger numbers as the water temps fall, and are feeding aggressively in shallow water flats during low tide levels. Gulp jerkshads, cut mullet, and 1/8-ounce gold spoons are all working well on red drum. Sheepshead reports are reaching critical mass, with one boat reporting 80 sheepies in a 4-hour trip!  Sheepshead tactics include using fiddler crabs and live shrimp around rock piles and bridge pilings in 8 to 15-feet of water. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Josh Boyles from Southern Drawl Outfitters in Hilton Head starts by saying that he just got off the water and the Tuna are HERE! He caught them trolling, jigging and on topwater too. The grouper bite was pretty good as well. Reports about the presence of wahoo are affirmative. The inshore fishing remains good and the trout bite is still going crazy. The reds are becoming spooky at low tide in the clear water, so try to move quietly from spot to spot and locate them visually before making your cast. Then work your bait or lure very slowly. If the fish are super sluggish due to cold weather, Josh recommends letting a Gulp bait just sit out there for 3 to 5-minutes to produce a better bite. SUBTLE is the key word so remember to go with the lightest weight possible, so as not to make a loud splash when casting. The bull reds are out of the sound, but are holding offshore in great numbers. The loons and the gannets will show you where they are located every time. For the latest store information visit Southern Drawl Outfitters.

Offshore Report: Scott tells us that even though many of the preferred bottom species are currently under closures, some anglers are still out there probing fro triggerfish, porgies, and some grouper. Butterfly style jigs and live baits are your best choices for grouper and grunts, while triggers will readily take a piece of squid. Two boats that went trolling recently at the ledge found the wahoo bite scattered in 160 to 300-feet of water, with a few sailfish sprinkled in from 400 to 600-feet of water.

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thermacell extends reach to footwear accessories

Insoles on buckskin

Look for this box in stores

Plug In to charge and then shove in your shoes!
It’s likely that everyone is familiar with the Thermacell bug machines that sportsmen have come to love during hot weather. Now Thermacell is expanding their reach to include footwear accessories. Their new heated insoles are a hot item in the cold weather markets, and would make a perfect gift for anyone who suffers from cold feet while outdoors. With a price point of $119, these remote controlled insoles are durable and comfortable. Hunters know that if your feet get cold while sitting in a duck blind or a deer stand, then it can make your whole body feel chilly. It’s hard to explain, but that clammy feeling that starts with your feet and works its way up is well known to outdoorsmen. The Thermacell heated insoles offer one possible solution towards such a dilemma, and more info can be found at Unlike the other heated insoles where you peel off the backing and then stick it to your socks, the Thermacell insole can be turned on or off. It has a remote control that allows mild heat, high heat or no heat at the push of a button. Using the Thermacell insoles requires removing the insoles that are already in your boot, so that there is ample room for your feet. The rechargeable insole does not get so hot that they make your feet sweat, rather their heating is designed to be close to one’s normal body temperature.

To view past blog entries about Thermacell click here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Jasper County Dog Drive

Reuben Sweatman got this 8-pointer, with Woody Crosby
Carson Banner with his first ever 8-pointer from 11/23
Who let the dogs out??!! The invitation to return to hunt with my Jasper County hunt club friends was much appreciated, and four lucky hunters were able to harvest a deer during my visit. The first drive of the morning, conducted under a crisp and cold 32-degrees, saw Reuben Sweatman harvest and 8-pointer and a dog driver harvested a 3-point buck. On the next drive the same dog man harvested a doe, and nearly got another doe that was bedded nearby. His trusty bluetick hound gave chase with a bellowing howl that surely chased that old doe right out of the block of woods we were driving. Breakfast and lunch provided some fellowship time for everyone and youth hunter Carson Banner, age 12, provided the enthusiasm. Taking a chance is a friend's deer stand the evening before, Banner harvested his first ever 8-point buck, and he was having a good time showing off the antlers. He also told a pretty good story about how the cold shivers went up his back when his grandfather (sitting with him) first pointed out the big buck. Whoa Nelly - that's a lot of feelin's for a youth to absorb and still make a clean kill shot - so congrats to Carson!

Houndsman and friend after the drive

With Milton Woods after the hunt
To view past blog entries from this annual dog drive click here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2012 Thanksgiving Driven Deer Hunt

Cull buck with drop tine harvested on man drive

The standers and their guns are ready to deploy

The cull buck draws a crowd after the hunt
After 48 hours of family togetherness, a band of deer hunters gather in Yemassee for an annual driven deer hunt. No hunting with dogs is allowed, but horsemen and man driving is fine, so that is the method that the landowner approves. This type of hunt allows for standers to have a chance at harvesting a quality buck, but not to shoot any buck that is too small. Also, meat for the freezer can come in the form of a harvested doe - which is also a deer herd management benefit for the property. Other ways that standers can help is to harvest any feral hogs, coyotes or armadillos encountered while in the field. On the first drive of the morning, under crisp and cold 30-degree temps, one doe crossed a veteran stander who reported that she tried to run him over before he stopped her. On the next drive, one of the man drivers jumped a buck and squeezed off two rapid-fire shots, harvesting the animal. Upon further examination, the buck had a malformed rack, resulting in one drop tine type formation on one side. It is unclear why his antler formed that way but it is possible that some damage occurred while he was in the velvet stage. Also notable, was a series of holes in the flesh on the neck area on the side of the malformed antler. With green puss visible in the perforations, this mature and large bodied buck may have become injured while fighting other bucks, since it had no antler for defense on this side. The deer herd benefits from this type of cull buck being removed from the herd for the sake of future breeding. Overall, the hunt was slow, but the hunting was done safely, ensuring that we'll get them next time!

To view past blog entries from this annual man drive click here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving offers a mixed bag for hunters

Doves and wood ducks against autumn leaves

Jimmie High and I with a cottontail after a beagle chase
Why is their no fall hunting season for wild turkeys? Thanksgiving traditions revolve around this grand game bird, right? The powers that be in Columbia decided a long time ago not to offer such a season, and my sources tell me that this issue will remain a staus quo. But hunters will be able to load plenty of other bird shot into their shotguns in their quest to harvest a mixed bag over the Thanksgiving holiday. Ever wonder why dove season, duck season and goose season only last one week long during this special holiday week? Well it’s because the policymakers know that sportsmen love to embrace the outdoors when they have a few days off from work to spend hunting with their family and friends. The wood duck remains the number one duck in the game bag for South Carolina hunters, and the limit is three per day per hunter. Remember to have your state and federal duck permits and your steel shotgun shells in order to observe legal guidelines. With the dry conditions right now, scouting for water holes can often reveal groupings of wood ducks, which may offer a perfect early morning hunting opportunity. Migratory geese are also invading water holes presently and the daily limit for honkers is five per day. All waterfowl hunting is legal between one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. If targeting ducks other than wood ducks, then the daily limit is six ducks per day. Not to include more than four mallards, two pintails, one fulvous tree duck, one black-bellied duck, two redheads, one canvasback, four scaup and one black or mottled duck. Perhaps the most traditional hunt over Thanksgiving is the dove shoot. These are informal gatherings for 10 to 20 people to test their wingshooting abilities, and the share in traditions. Yours truly can remember many Thanksgiving Day dove hunts as a youth, tagging along with my father, attending the hunt and barbecue provided by my great Uncle in western Colleton County. That particular hunt has been discontinued over time, but I can still recall just how many doves used to crowd into those fields! Even if the birds don’t fly well, the hunters must bring their dogs into the field, dust off their dove vests, and go through the motions that help to measure the level of passion they have for the outdoors. Continuing with the mixed bag of hunting options, the private lands in Game Zone 6 are about to open up even more small game options. Squirrel season opened October 1 and runs until March 1, and carries a limit of 10 per day. Quail season opened on November 19 and will continue until March 1. Rabbit season opens November 22 and runs until March 1, with a limit of five per day. Each of these endeavors requires a special breed of dog, and offers hunters time in the field with their favorite canine companions.

To view this feature article click Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about hunting wood ducks click here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wrangler jeans adds ProGear Hunting clothes

ProGear pants and shirt fit good

Specs on the zip pullover fleece
Some of the most well worn jeans that outdoor enthusiasts are familiar with are Wrangler brand. The same jeans that appear in popular ads with NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the NFL’s Brett Farve. Now coming to a treestand near you, the new ProGear line of hunting clothes by Wrangler. Offered in a variety of camo patterns the new ProGear has hunters covered from head to toe. The new camo clothes feel comfortable and are well made. Considering that the Wrangler parent company also produces clothing for The North Face, Timberland, JanSport, Nautica, Smartwool and more, it’s easy to see that quality comes standard. All of their garments come with a one-year warranty. Beginning with their most well known item, Wrangler now makes their 100-percent cotton jeans available in Realtree Camo. They feel like jeans in that they stretch to fit a little in areas like waistline and knees. Made to fit over hunting boots, these jeans are also available in Big and Tall sizes. Other color options include the Night Brown Upland Jean which offers the perfect briar protection for quail hunting enthusiasts, dove hunters, rabbit chasers and woods walkers. The camo shirt in Realtree AP is all polyester, which makes it feel very soft. It has a patented ‘Room2Move’ cut under the arms to allow for a greater range of motion when swinging a shotgun on a passing target. Other features include a button down collar, button pockets and a vertical zip pocket for a cell phone. A tan-colored Shooter shirt is available in 100-percent cotton with camo accents on the shoulder patch and down each side. The Pro Gear Fleece Pullover is made of 100-percent polyester and it has a vertical zipper pocket for gear. Unlike the shirts, this pullover seems to run large in size. Throwing the fleece over the ProGear shirt keeps the cold away when the Lowcountry weather experiences a change in temperatures late in the fall. Lastly, ProGear comes in youth sizes too because Wrangler knows that outfitting the next generation of hunters is a time honored tradition that must be upheld.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 Walterboro Ducks Unlimited banquet

Raffle gal with picturesque bird bath 

Miss Teen Walterboro and Ryan Herndon

Chad and Lori Beard, Susan and Allen Bell

Co-Chairs Scott Bridge and Bryan McCollum

All are Welcome!
After a hiatus in 2011, the Walterboro Chapter of Ducks Unlimited used opening day of duck season as the right time to celebrate the conservation of wetlands. Waterfowling enthusiasts flocked to the National Guard Armory to enjoy the games and raffles that make for good clean fun. A social hour with open bar allowed for stories to be shared about how the morning hunting had been, and while more than one person shared that they struck out (including this blogger), some lucky hunters did find success in harvesting a few ducks. Local restaurant The Olde House served up their version of a barbecue supper, remembering that Country Cookin' Makes you Good Lookin.' Plenty of guns and prints were on the live auction, including a Clemson football team portrait and a Carolina football team portrait with a decidedly ducky point of view. Of course, 2012 is the 75th anniversary year for DU and plenty of unique 75th items added panache to the bidding. Thanks to the Walterboro Chapter leadership for providing an evening of conservation and fellowship for Colleton County duck hunters.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bear Island WMA buck with massive Droptine

John Mucha with his trophy droptine buck

Charles Hrabanek and John Mucha are hunting buddies
Ross Catterton is the long time manager at Bear Island Wildlife Management Area in Colleton County. Located between the Edisto River and the Ashepoo River, this property is a haven for wetlands and the birds and ducks that seek them out. However, each fall Catterton stays busy running draw hunts for deer by those who would seek to hunt deer in such a beautiful place. On October 16, John Mucha of Beaufort stopped the best buck he has ever seen while on the Bear Island draw hunt. Catterton insists that there are bigger deer under his watchful eye, but Mucha and others will have to respectfully disagree. This very unique 12-point buck has a droptine that measures 11-inches! Any downward pointing protrusion from a typical rack of antlers is considered a droptine, and anything over one-inch can be counted as a tine. The story begins with hunting buddy Charles Hrabanek getting Mucha to join him in applying for the draw hunt. Mucha used a climbing stand to go up a pine tree at 4 p.m. almost directly across Bennett’s Point Road from the entrance to Bear Island WMA. Mucha was overlooking a persimmon tree and a small field which used to welcome dove hunters back when Bear Island was holding dove hunts. About 5:30 a big cowhorn buck with tall tines stepped out and quickened Mucha’s pulse. Thirty minutes later something began to make a commotion in the bushes very near to his stand and the 12-point buck with the 16-inch spread stepped out. “I guess that racquet was all those antlers trying to come through the thick cover,” said Mucha. “He was only 20 yards from my stand, and this was right at sunset, but I didn’t have a shot because a branch was in the way.” Five long minutes later the buck stepped into a shooting lane and Mucha’s Remington 30.06-rifle bellowed.
To view my feature story on the Mucha buck click Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about big bucks click here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 11/14/12

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:

Redfish are the No. 1 target for inshore anglers !!
Charleston Inshore Repport: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West says their must have been a JAILBREAK recently, because the convict bite is going strong! The sheepshead are on fire using fiddler crabs and live shrimp - two of the best options before switching to mollusks. The best reports come from rock piles and bridge pilings in 8 to 15-feet of water. Trout continue to provide their usual flurry of aggressive strikes, readily taking soft plastics such as Trout Tricks, Zman Paddlerz and Gulp shrimp. The redfish have begun schooling up on the low tide flats in larger numbers, and are feeding with vigor ahead of winter weather! Live minnows and cut mullet are 'can't fail' baits for the reds, but Gulp jerkshads and scented Zman CrabZ have been deadly. Accuracy counts when casting artificial lures right now due to the gin clear water clarity. Flounder have been staging in and around our inlets with some 5,6 and 7-pounders being weighed in at the store. While visiting with Scott, after weighing some flatties, ask him about the new Sahara, Symetre and Saro fishing reels by Shimano that he just got in. These reels just keep getting smaller and lighter, while retaining the power behind them. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrells Point.

Offshore Report: Scott shares that the good weather has allowed offshore anglers to get out on the big pond and enjoy themselves. Reports included a so-so wahoo bite along the ledge. Those that stuck to trolling were able to eek out a few white marlin and sailfish. Bottom fishermen brought back nice grouper, triggerfish and plenty of porgies to provide their table fare.

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2012 Bluffton / Hilton Head DU banquet

John and Susan Treadway, Brad Johnson and Mike Overton
Kevin Sevier and son Troy, youth sportsman
Plenty of food, fun and fellowship was shared by waterfowl enthusiasts on Nov. 10 at Honey Horn Plantation and Discovery Center on Hilton Head Island. Raising bucks for ducks coincides with the 75th anniversary of Ducks Unlimited in 2012, and special 75th items on the auction included a redhead duck decoy and an engraved shotgun. Plenty of sponsors were on hand including Josh Boyles of Southern Drawl Outfitters, Brad McDonald of Dude magazine, and Mike Overton from Outside Hilton Head. A special silent auction item included gift baskets donated by local businesses that were not hunting related at all, showing that these events are open to just about anyone who wishes to join in the fun with those who stand up for conservation - and the hunting and fishing traditions that sportsmen consider to be an important part of the Lowcountry outdoors experience.

75th Anniversary Redhead Decoy

The Dude and the Cigartainer making some friends
To view past blog entries from the HHI Chapter of DU click here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

2012 Red*Trout Celebrity Classic - Results

Artist Heather Jones, Capt. Champ Smith and Ken Holseberg

Angler Ron Silverman, winner of the Fly fishing division

Emcee Dave Williams, angler Jack Marchette, Capt. Jeremy Espiritu

Capt. David Camp, Emcee Dave Williams, Ron Silverman
Clear skies and breezy conditions gave red faces to some of the Red*Trout anglers over the weekend, but when everyone came together for the Sunday afternoon awards, it was more like a badge of honor. Running low on sleep after two days of competitive fishing in order to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, demonstrates how these saltwater fishing enthusiasts make up an important swath in the fabric of Lowcountry life. Organizers Rachel MacQueen and Alicia Parsons talled the two-day point totals in time for the 5 p.m. awards given out by emcee Dave Williams and artist Heather Jones. The 2012 Grand Champion Angler is Andrew Culberth, and the runner-up is Ken Holseberg - and both were fishing with Capt. Champ Smith. The celebrity angler winner was Ed Marinaro fishing with angler Jack Marchette and Capt. Jeremy Espiritu. The fly fishing division winner is Ron Silverman who reported catching eight fish on the fly, with Capt. David Camp putting him on two keeper trout with ten minutes left in the competition on Sunday. The biggest trout goes to Adrian Palacio Sr., when Capt. Hoppy Hopkins put him on a 20-inch speck. The biggest redfish goes to Trey McCullough for his 40.5-incher!
To view my tourney wrap-up click on All At Sea.

To view past blog entries for the Red*Trout back to 2008 click here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012 Red*Trout Celebrity Classic Kicks Off

Celebrity Ed Marinaro, Capt. Jeremy Espiritu, angler Jack Marchette
Ed Marinaro catches a fine Lowcountry Trout, held by Capt. Espiritu
The 11th annual Lowcountry Red*Trout Celebrity Classic fishing tourney to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation made history in 2012. This was the first year that the event had to be canceled due to weather, since it originally coincided with the dates that Hurricane Sandy passed by S.C. and caused small craft advisories. Rescheduling the event for two weeks later proved a monumental task since many anglers and fishing captains already had alternate plans for the second weekend of November. The remainder of the enthusiasts that could still attend the event gathered for the Captain's Meeting at the outdoor pavilion at the Charleston Harbor Resort on Nov. 8 for food, fellowship, fundraising and most importantly, an update on the battle against cystic fibrosis. Celebrity angler Ed Marinaro was in town from New York to fish with Capt. Jeremy Espiritu and angler Jack Marchatte. Mainstay anglers Captain Mark Nichols of DOA Lures and Blair 'Mogan Man' Wiggins were unable to attend due to scheduling commitments. Auction items included a fly-fishing trip to Virginia, Redbone Hurricane fishing rods, jewelry, hollywood memorabilia and TV weatherman Dave Williams performed the emcee duties! Day One results put Capt. Champ Smith and angler Ken Holsberg in first place with 3600-points. Marinaro's team is in sceond place with 2675-points, and Team Palacior is in third place.

Cheryl Hudson and Mallory Muckenfuss

Big spenders at the Red*Trout auction
To view past blog entries for the Lowcountry Red*Trout going back to 2008 click here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Z-Man fishes for TroutZ and RedZ

Daniel Nussbaum tamZ the redZ with his Z-man lures
Cold weather is a great time to fish for troutZ
A cold 44-degree start did not cause local angler and Z-man lure designer Daniel Nussbaum to hesitate. Telling me to meet him at the boat ramp at 8:30, I chose to arrive 10 minutes early since I don't believe in being late for a fishing trip or a hunting adventure either. The truck and trailer were there, but Nussbaum and the boat were not. While making friends with a local oysterman who was launching his boat, Nussbaum roared up to the ramp in his Hewes flats boat and shared that he was so raring to go that he went out to 'test fish' for a bit. He caught a couple of trout on the Z-man 3-inch minnowz in 'bad shad' color and announced that we were on the way to a bank known for holding redfish. This is where the 'plans' deviated and we took what the fish were willing to give. WIth crystal clear conditions and no wind we saw a mature bald eagle soaring overhead, but had no redfish bites. Moving closer to a dock and a shell mound, I reeled in a fine 15-inch trout on a Zman in smoke color. I instructed Daniel to hold this fish for a photo and he agreed, but he also declared that we would find a larger one. Nope. We caught about a dozen trout out of the 'redfish spot' and then we made a move towards a known trout locale, and when we arrived an old-timer was catching trout using a shrimp under a float. We began casting plastic baits toward the bank, working them from the grass on out to 10-feet of water trying to locate the trout. The breeze freshened and I had to add a fleece to my layers, allowing me a brief pause from casting. My first cast back to the grass was grabbed by a medium-sized redfish and Nussbaum followed that up by catching another redfish from the same spot. So the 'trout spot' gave us redfish. Either way, it was Z-man lures that were up to the task for these RedZ and TroutZ. The water is very clear right now due to winter weather and no rain, and with little live bait left in the area, tuning up your casting while using plastic baits is a productive way to spend time.
Nussbaum prefers ultralight tackle

Ready to head out on a cold morning
To view past blog entries about Z-Man lures click here.