09/25/05 — Outdoors -- Is it time or tide?

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Outdoors -- Is it time or tide?

By Gene Price
Published in Sports on September 25, 2005 2:12 AM

BEAUFORT -- Time and tide wait for no one.

Everybody knows that. But when it comes to fishing, do we count on the time -- or the tide?

It has been my impression that whether fishing or hunting, very early morning or very late afternoon are the most productive times.

William Wilkins has reminded us that if you're fishing for blues and Spanish mackerel, "get there early."

So I admonished my favorite fishing and hunting buddy Paul Garrison to be at the Taylor's Creek dock at 7 a.m. when I arrived on a recent morning. Thanks to strong coffee and his stalwart daughter Julie, Paul was on time.

There was a bit of fog as we came out the channel at Radio Island. And Paul commented rather poetically about the sun's trying to blink awake behind the distant horizon.

But this was not a time for waxing poetic. And I was the captain: "Paul, you ready to fish?"

Dutifully, he put out his line.

Ahead, we spotted the birds diving. Paul was using a spoon. I was using a "speck rig."

After a few minutes we were both using speck rigs.

And within an hour we had all the nice blue fish we wanted to catch.

We were back at the dock by 9 a.m. -- and that took into account the Beaufort "no-wake" zone which could extend to Land's End Light in England if the markers keep moving!


"Early is the secret!" I later admonished Arthur Shackelford who had arrived to fish with his brother Dr. Robert Shackelford and their brother-in-law Norman Smith.

"It's the tide," countered Arthur, "and it will be an hour later tomorrow."

So we went 45-minutes later. And, sure enough, the birds appeared at around an hour later than the previous morning. But the fish were not near as plentiful. Or as big.

The next morning(?) we went still another hour later. And between the two boats, we brought back two fish.


Time or tide -- or both?

Well, luck also comes into play.

Dr. Shackelford and his crew had boated a few blues. But not a single Spanish mackerel. Then suddenly a minnow came sailing out of the water -- frantically, like something was after it. And with good reason. Right behind it was a Spanish mackerel, snapping mightily at what it hoped would be breakfast.

The minnow and the mackerel landed smack on the bow deck of Shack's boat!

The Spanish mackerel was flopping about when Shack nailed it with both hands and promptly deposited it in his cooler.

The minnow remained on the deck the rest of the day, dried-out evidence to support the story in event Paul and I refused to believe Dr. Shackelford or his fishing buddies.

Wind or water

Is it the wind or water that causes the most damage during hurricanes? Both, obviously, in many instances.

On Taylor's Creek in Beaufort, a number of sailboats ended up on Bird Island and Carrot Island, south of the town. They were far inshore because of the high water. But it was the wind howling from the northeast that caused them to drag their anchors -- or part the anchor lines!

However, it is high water, not wind, that tears up piers and docks -- often lifting pilings from their foundations.

Floating docks usually can withstand the surge. But ours came within inches of the tops of the pilings.

Quail Unlimited banquet

The annual banquet of Quail Point Chapter of Quail Unlimited will be held Friday at Lane Tree. The reception will be at 6 p.m.

The local chapter has earned state and national recognition for its activities. It and other chapters in the state played a major role in the emphasis now being given by the Wildlife Resources Commission on restoring bobwhite quail populations in our state.

The Commission reorganized and expanded its Game Management Division and has been allocating more than $1 million a year toward that effort.