MYRTLE BEACH, SC – Anyone who knows me or follows this blog is aware of how much of a proud Ohioan I am. There is a lot to love here, and when it comes to fishing freshwater – being near Lake Erie is about as good as it gets. That being said, the handful of times I have gotten to fish saltwater, always seem to humble me and provide experiences that leave me envious of those that can fish it regularly. This past week was no exception, as I had the opportunity to venture out in the Atlantic Ocean on a 1/2 day charter with Captain John (Reel Action Fishing Charters).
I love the above photo, albeit it also breaks my heart. My son was looking back at me while being lead away, as the weather was just a little too suspect for him to make the trip. Mom is pretty protective and Bryce simply hasn’t had enough experience on a boat to know how he would handle it if things got choppy or we got a downpour. With a very unpredictable forecast, it was the right decision at the time. I must admit I may not forgive myself until we get back and he can go.
Along with Captain John’s kid-friendly approach that won me over as a dad, I also appreciated his honest no-nonsense appraisal of fishing this time of year and what to expect. He let me know it was a bit early for some of the more typical sport fishing that occurs in the area. He offered me options of more sure likelihood catching or hard fishing that could yield the end result of being empty handed for the effort. In the end, we agreed to try for a short bit of fishing the Oyster beds for Redfish and then heading out in the ocean for Black Sea Bass and Spiny Dogfish. Knowing dogfish are in the shark family, and I had never caught one, had me plenty excited.
As it would turn out, the Oyster beds did not yield any fish but I did catch the above Blue Crab on rod & reel. It was not expected and something kind of cool to see for someone from Ohio. I had to laugh as it made me think of the Dude Perfect video of Fishing Stereotypes (specifically at 2:24).
After a short while of motoring to the reef, we set up to fish again. I no more than felt my weight hit the bottom and instantly had a bite. True to his word and expertise, Captain John immediately had me on fish. Countless Black Sea Bass were caught, varying in size, never more than a minute apart between fish. As predicted, this action soon triggered the attention of the main targeted species for the day. It didn’t take long until I felt a much heavier fish that fought well and occasionally could peel some drag. Sure enough, the Spiny Dogfish. After some instruction on how to safely handle them, I was enjoying quite a few photo ops with the species. These ‘mini-sharks’ if you will, were getting caught after about every 5th or 6th bass.
It was pretty cool to see the dogfish occasionally follow a bass that was hooked all the way to the surface. I also had a few dogfish follow a hooked dogfish to the surface. I actually have footage of this happening and hope to add a video to this post sometime soon. The trip was awesome as I love catching something new and the fact that this species was decently sized and ‘shark like’ made for another saltwater experience I will never forget.
I can not wait to get back, and most assuredly will fish with Captain John again!