To make the journey more challenging, with a crescent moon from a super perigee moon from New Year’s Day we experienced extra high and low tide swings: high tide was 6.4’ at 10:09 am with a low tide of -1’ at 4:23 pm. We were planning to fish the far side of Copahee Sound near the Intracoastal Waterway across from Bullyard Sound.
According to the history of Copahee View, the word “Copahee” refers to an Indian tribe that once lived in the coastal region of South Carolina in the early seventeenth century. The ending "ee" means "near water." Copahee View is in Christ Church Parish in Charleston County, SC. This little community is located just north of the town of Mount Pleasant and adjacent to Copahee Sound.
With the challenges of the wind, I decided to pursue some redfish and spotted trout with a fly rod. The equipment was a 9’ 8wt Temple Fork Outfitter “Lefty Kreh Professional Series” four-piece fly rod, a Lamson “Guru G3.5” loaded with Scientific American “Mastery Series Redfish Coldwater” floating fly line, with a 9’ 12lb tapered leader.
The fly of choice was the Brent Bauer “Crafty Shrimp”, with bead chain weighted eyes set back towards the curve of the #4 hook. I’m just learning to tie flies, but the Crafty Shrimp uses the following materials: red thread, bead chain for eyes, strands of orange flash, tan craft fur, tan hackle, some type of tan dubbing, and a brown or orange permanent marker to add the bars to the craft fur. For a fly tying expert, this fly looks pretty easy to replicate.
It was almost high tide when we launched to paddle across the sound to our first fishing spot that we knew held some redfish - a little cove near the ICW across from Bullyard Sound, behind Dewees Island. The wind blowing about 13ktscreated a good steady chop, which definitely made it difficult to sight fish for schools of redfish. The wind would push me and the Jackson Kayak “Big Tuna” to drift way too fast, so my plan was to stake out the kayak so I could cast the Crafty Shrimp along the grass lines and near some oyster beds. I felt that that I could not strip the line as fast as the wind would have moved the Big Tuna across that small cove, so the stick-it pin anchoring for about fifteen minutes would provide me a hook-up opportunity. As I moved around the perimeter of the cove, I was not having any luck. Lewis and Greg met up with me and they reported the same results. They decided to check out a small creek where we have had some luck in the past. For me, the plan was to complete the section of grass and oyster beds that I had not yet thrown the fly at.
I decided to move to another area that had several oyster mounds showing above the water. Usually when fishing Copahee Sound, when you start seeing oysters - whether you are in a flats boat or a kayak - one needs to start heading for deeper water or back to the boat launch. On this journey, it appeared I was ignoring this major rule. The water drains really fast out of Copahee, but I had a mission to catch a redfish or spotted trout on the fly using the Crafty Shrimp pattern. Moving to an oyster mound, anchoring with the stick-it pin and casting around the edges of the mound, I was hoping for a hook up. Lewis and Greg came out of one of the creeks and into the area that I was attempting to fly fish. Lewis thought we should head back to the launch site as it was close to 4pm, so we started paddling towards the ramp.
The closer I got to the far grass line, the shallower the water got. I could see the oyster mounds surrounded by mud. I could see Greg paddling along the grass line with no problems. There appeared to be a small creek I could use as a short cut, but it was a dead end and I had to turn the Big Tuna around and try to paddle out. At one point I decided to lower the back of the Jackson “Elite Seat” and use the Big Tuna as a board; I lay across the back end to use my feet to push me along in the soft pluff mud toward some deeper water. I was in search of a solid bottom and water at least 18”or more. I decided to take a break and call Lewis. When I pulled my cell phone from the waterproof Pelican “Micro Case” I noticed that I had an incoming call from Lewis.
Returning the phone call, Lewis asked if everything was ok. I explained to him my marked trail from when we paddled to the fishing area was not a great trail to get me back to the launch site. The trail had me trying to cross a very soft mud flat. They could not see me from the launch site, but I could see the trucks parked at the ramp. I finally found a small creek deep enough to paddle. I pulled myself into the Big Tuna, mud and all. I worked my way over, paddling away from the ramp and again towards the ramp. A small shell mound island created by the Copahee Indians started to appear. This island is next to the small creek that heads to the ramp. There was very little water in the creek. I knew that I would have to do the “Copahee Stomp” to the boat ramp, dragging the kayak through inches of water.
The journey ended with no fish for any of us, a great time on the water with angling buddies, and me crossing the “Copahee Stomp” off my bucket list. Although I had no fish to clean or photos of fish to share, I had a Big Tuna to hose down and a fly rod to clean off the tons of mud that I pulled into the kayak and over my gear. My main lesson learned was to follow the number one rule for Copahee: when you start see the tips of the oysters, you need to head back to the launch. Otherwise, you will be stuck out in the sound waiting for the tide.