We launched nearly at dead low about 9am; Lewis fished along the Charleston Peninsula, while I paddled the Jackson Kayak “Big Tuna” across the Cooper River to fish the Drum Island shoreline. This area is supposed to be hot for speckled trout from March through May, but not too great for June. Here it was the first of June, so one could only hope. The water temperature ranged from 78°F – 81°F. The water also looked extremely clear by Charleston standards.
Lewis radioed a report to me that he caught a small trout near Newmarket Creek. Hey, maybe there was an opportunity for me along the far shoreline. Somewhere along the Drum Island shore I caught a very small oyster toad fish. I eventually made it to the area near the old Coal Docks. Fish opportunities by these old structures are speckled trout, redfish, and sheepshead. These structures date back to the mid-1800s, according to postings on several websites. As South Carolina has no history of coal mining (to my knowledge), my guess is the Coal Docks were for unloading barges or containers of coal to be transported to the various power plants in South Carolina.
Towards the part of the Coal Docks that start emerging from the shore is a small creek that winds through a marsh lined with spartina grass. The creek eventually makes its way to Magnolia Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Charleston.
About 100 yards into the creek, Lewis reports a nice redfish crushing bait. At one point, the red just swam past his paddle tail and just ignored the presentation. Lewis then lost sight of the fish. But wait - that red was crushing bait in front of me, and of course ignored my presentations of D.O.A. “C.A.L. Shad” and the “C.A.L. Airhead” as well. Lewis continued to drift along fan casting as he went. After I gave him some distance, I started the same process.
I traveled a short distance, and…f on! A nice 14.5”spotted trout took a gold glitter colored C.A.L. Shad, on a red 1/8oz C.A.L. jig Head with a short shank. My lovely wife Marian requested fish for dinner that night, so in the Polar Bear cooler the trout went. Now I needed another fish for dinner, since there were four of us to feed.
I headed towards Magnolia Cemetery. Rounding a bend I made a cast in front, and there was a weird feeling on the line. It felt like I had something with some weight - not a lot, just different than the normal lure weight at the end. There would occasionally be something like a head shake, but really no fight. A 13”flounder was on the end of the line. He was not a keeper, so I let him go to grow up and provide someone some day with a much fiercer fight.
I made it to the end of the creek at Magnolia Cemetery, so Lewis and I decided to head back to the launch site to call it a day and head home. Occasionally we would stop and fan cast. Somewhere along the many bends… fish on! I yelled to Lewis, and he yelled back with “Fish on!” as well. I got my nice speckled trout on the measuring board - 16”. This fish completed the task of providing fish for dinner. Lewis reported back that he had his 15” fish in the kayak.
With the excitement of my 16”trout, I thought that I had stowed my paddle securely. I had drifted about 30’away from my paddle, which was stuck in the spartina grass. I had to use my YakAngler “Hog Trough” as a paddle so that I could retrieve it. It did take some effort, but I was successful.
I had purchased some live bait for the journey. I decided to try live shrimp in the Big Tuna live/bait well. I would have to say that of the dozen shrimp I put in the bait well, only about a third of them died - either by feeding the fish with them while fishing, or in the bait well during the trip. I’m very happy with the Jackson Big Tuna and the converted center hatch into a free flowing live/bait well.