For the past few weeks, dolphins have been following me around. They loiter around the Pathfinder and try to catch the fish that I release.
As it turns out, they are quite good at it and many of the released fish are being eaten. This defeats the purpose of catch and release. So now, when the dolphins are around, I put all the fish I catch into my tournament release well. Then, when I run to a new location and the dolphins are not around, I stop and release all the fish.
Unfortunately, on Friday, the dolphins figured this out. I was fishing in the Wando River and had three upper slot redfish in the release well. Since three is the legal possession limit for redfish, it would be against the law for me to put another redfish into the release well. I hated to leave such a strong redfish bite but did not want to explain four redfish in my release well to a game warden. So, I started up the Pathfinder and ran a half mile upriver and stopped to release the redfish.
The first two quickly swam away. The third redfish required a little help. I was holding the redfish in the water when a yet unseen dolphin charged in and took the fish out of my hands. It happened so quickly and aggressively, I was dumbfounded.
This experience reminds me that dolphins are apex predators. Sure, they look friendly and are entertaining to watch. But make no mistake, they are wild and unpredictable creatures. I feel lucky to have all my fingers.
Moving forward, I will run a good bit further (away from the dolphins) before releasing my fish. I recommend that you do the same!
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources February Report
February inshore fishing in Charleston is still mostly about redfish and trout. In the clear conditions anglers should be able to locate big schools of redfish on low tide, even though the quality of the bite may depend on just how cold it is. Fish will eat artificial and natural baits. As long as it does not get terribly cold, trout fishing should remain good this month along grass lines and in deep holes. Live shrimp as well as a variety of artificial lures should catch fish.
The nearshore fishing should see sheepshead all over the nearshore reefs right through the month of February, and on days when you can get offshore catches can be excellent. A variety of baits including fiddler crabs, sand fleas and mussels will work.
Provided by Redfin Charters’s Captain Rob Bennett.