The idea for this trip began in the Spring time. We originally thought about a Fall trout trip to West Virginia with the banjos and all. JB quickly replaced this idea with, “let’s go for something a little different”. The other members of the group liked the sound of the trout venture better than the yet-to-be-made-known trip elsewhere. Soon however, all doubts rested in a quiet, calm, place somewhere far beyond conscious thought. JB brought to our attention the late summer redfish action on the South East coast. Specifically, the area around the first shot of the civil war city, Charleston, South Carolina. We collectively came to an agreement: to Charleston! So, now you know the background.
As I sit here listening the latest Zac Brown Band release I dream of the beautiful, historic, and slightly hotter than I would generally prefer, town of Charleston. Tis a lovely place. The lady friend and I decided to head down a few days early and tour the city before the fishing commenced. This turned out as a smart move. We had a great time. Certainly we drank far more than humans safely should. We slept very little. We also tried to fit as much food into our outstretched stomachs as humanly possible. We ate at Juanita Greenberg’s in old town Charleston, which offers quite the deal on tacos and natural light regardless of the hour you stop in. Greenberg’s location on King street makes it a staple for the youth and clinging-to-youth elders who frequent it. Another such location, Market street, located only a few short blocks from King features a number of watering holes, small boutiques, and architecture from a bygone era. Surely, I could call this place home for a few years.
After the lady friend left, we headed for Folly Beach, about fifteen minutes Southeast of Charleston. Folly Beach is rad! An Island with a small strip of bars, and beach-ware shops followed by twenty or so blocks of beach houses to the north and south. Logically we rented a place within walking distance to the bars.
JB and I headed out to the north point of Folly Beach after receiving a recommendation from the more than helpful and totally awesome guys at Low Country Fly Shop. We timed the tides right and found the lay of the land quite pleasing to the eye. On our walk to the flats, we passed a lighthouse, beach front views, dolphins rising out of the surf, bait-fish jumping, and even a small shark just a few feet off shore. Shorely*, this would be a money spot. However after the day of throwin’ the fly, we came up empty handed. Dammit!
JB, and I put this down to beginners’ non-luck and decided to drown our sorrows over a few rounds at Drop In. It seemed our unlucky streak would continue because we sat down just as Honkytonk Tuesday (country classics over the PA for the entire night) kicked off…
The following day, my brother and cousin (Corey and Stevie respectively) joined us in our aquatic pursuit. We thought the north portion of the Island looked good. So, we headed back up with the thought that a different approach and some other fly patterns might do the trick. The day before, we saw no tailing reds. However, we observed quite a bit of movement just below the surface. Also, the guys from Low Country Fly Shop said they fished this water recently with a lot of success. Again, after several hours, we left the spot sin fish (this translates to, “without fish” in Spanish. You’re welcome). Dammit again!
Throughout the week fishing around Folly Beach, we experienced the same thing over and over again. The conditions were perfect, we read all the reports, brought the right gear, hit the tides perfectly, and caught nothing. This was heartbreaking.
We even rented SUPs and kayaks to pursue our would be prizes from a different vantage point. However, it was no use. At times like these one realizes the worth of hiring a guide. Let someone “in the know” show you the local techniques and waters. Dammit, dammit, dammit! Now we know.
I like to look at this trip as a learning experience. The purpose of this viewpoint is twofold. First, it keeps me from thinking I wasted a lot of time, effort, and money on a trip where literally no one hooked an aquatic species. Second, we managed to plan a trip for months on end, read about the local habitat, flies, and fishing techniques, and came away with nada (Spanish for “nothing”). Therefore, when it comes to investing in something like this, bite the bullet a little harder and get a local to show you around. I would much rather have spent a few more dollars and gained useful, location specific knowledge from a guide.
At least we visited a cool place. The nightlife was fun and as the pictures show, the sunsets and scenery were hard to beat.