It was a great morning for this section of the Wando. The water surface was like glass with little wind, so stopping any schools of fish should not be an issue. We decided to fish downriver for some distance, then paddle upriver to check out some other stops.
Heading downriver I stopped by lowering the Micro-Anchor near mouths of creeks that came out of the grass. At one of these mouths, there was a shallow area next to a deep hole. The water looked like it was flowing pretty well. This seemed to me to provide an opportunity to catch some speckled trout. On this trip I had a 1/8 oz jig head with a Slayer “Sinister Swim Tail” (S.S.T.) in golden bream color. A few casts into the deeper water, bouncing the Slayer lure off the bottom, eventually generated a nice hookup. It felt like a good-sized fish, so I readied the Ego landing net. As the fish got closer to the surface, I got the net out to scoop the 15” trout into the kayak, removed the hook, and set the trout free.
I did not get any more bites on the next several casts, so I decided to move onto the next likely stop. Unfortunately, the other likely stops turned out to be not so likely, and I didn’t see any schooling redfish to cast to. I paddled up to a small grass island that was shallow on the back side, but deep on the river side. I casted the SST to the deep side, bounced it along the bottom - and bang! I had a hard hit from a fish. Maybe this was a redfish?
As I fought the fish toward the shallower water, I saw that this was not a redfish, but a small striper - my first in a kayak. Using the Ego landing net, I quickly had the striper on the YakAngler “Hawg Trough”. My first kayak striper measured in at 15.5” - not a trophy to most, but I managed to cross a species off my bucket list.
After releasing the fish, I repositioned myself and lowered the Micro-Anchor to see if I could get another striper from this deep channel. I made another cast to the same area - nothing, I made a few more cast, and then it was fish on. Sure enough, I had my second striper in the Big Rig. I did not measure this one, because it looked similar in size to the first. I motioned for Greg to come over to try his luck. I managed two out of this deep channel; maybe there were a few more. Greg and I fished the little channel for a while, with no luck.
The wind started to pick up, so we decided to paddle back towards the landing to check out some other possibilities for some redfish, trout or maybe some bigger stripers. We managed to pick up a few more trout, but no redfish or stripers. We decided to call it a day, load up the kayaks, and head home.
I stopped at the West Ashley “Charleston Angler” the next day after work, to talk about the stripers of the Wando River. One of the guides that work at the Charleston Angler explained to me that according to the South Carolina DNR, the only stocking of stripers have been on the Ashley and Cooper rivers closer to the areas considered fresh water. The DNR assumes the stripers are moving through the waterways around Charleston. Maybe these fish don’t like the Ashley River and are moving into the Wando. In the past there have been reports of stripers being caught on the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Recent reports have come from the upper Wando River.
If you are interested in catching a striper in the Charleston area, check out Bushy Park on the upper Cooper River, or the Paradise Landing area on the upper Wando River. Unfortunately, I have no idea where on the Ashley River you can go to target stripers. If I had to guess, maybe the area of the Ashley that flows near the old historic plantations would be a great start. Maybe sometime in the near future one of my journeys will take me there, so I can report back on fishing the freshwater side of the Ashley River.