FULL MOONS, MEMORIES, AND FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
We fish over 200 days a year and ultimately there will be full moons during that time. Some people want to know if we will fish during a full moon. The lunar phases do present changes and challenges in the fishing environment, but not enough to keep us away. Whereas some people may be discouraged by a full moon, we are not deterred. And, this time of year its fullness brings good news; Trout off the beach of Cumberland Island. My grandfather always said the Trout would show up off the beach after the first full moon in May. So far, after 50 plus years of watching, he has not been proven wrong. They are here! The first few days after their appearance was great! Then the winds shifted and made the fishing difficult which kept the Trout safe and out of reach for a couple more days. They may not be here in record numbers like the good old days, but they are here for the next several months.
Growing up, I fished with my grandfather, father and uncle in the rivers from St. Simons Island to Cumberland Island. My brother and I knew how to navigate these waters long before we ever had our driver’s license. As we fished, my grandfather would tell us stories of fishing “back in the day”. He said the Redfish were so plentiful they almost jumped in the boat. They didn’t have enough room in the boat to bring back all they caught. The Redfish population was so aggressively over fished by his generation that if we ever saw a Redfish when I was a child, it was a special treat. Over the past 40 years, conservation has helped in the revival of the Redfish population.
Although current Georgia regulations has set a limit of 5 Redfish per person, we are seeing a steady decline in their population once again. There is nothing more exciting than seeing that spotted tail standing straight up out of the water as the Redfish stands on its head to dine on shrimp and fiddler crabs in the shallow waters of the marsh and rivers. In order to preserve that thrill for my grandchildren, and in order to give the Reds a chance to regenerate, I have made a decision to make all Redfish brought to the boat a “catch and release” adventure. Some people may not be happy with this decision, but we have found the majority of our clients are here to experience salt water fishing at its finest, and are not here on a meat hunt.
Even as the Trout return to Cumberland’s beach right on schedule, their quantities are slowly decreasing as well. New size limits have been imposed by Georgia’s DNR to help re-populate their species. Our local eco-system brings people from all over the U.S. to witness and enjoy its beauty and abundance. We feel we have a duty and a calling to be good stewards of what the Golden Isles has to offer. Self-regulation by recreational and commercial fishermen may be the only chance future generations have of experiencing fishing the way we know it.
The Trout bite is better now that the weather has evened out, and I had a first time experience as we fished for them. One of my guests was legally blind. We were told in advance of her impairment, which gave me some time to try to think about how to teach someone who could not see a cork or line in the water, to catch a Trout. At first I tried putting a smaller cork and small shrimp on, so the Trout wouldn’t feel much resistance as it took the bait. But that didn’t work for her.
After several other failed techniques, I finally found that if I cast up current for her and let her slowly reel back to the boat, she could feel the Trout take the bait. That worked better, but she was ever so gentle when trying to set the hook, and more fish escaped than she was able to hook. It was a very humbling experience to watch her continually try without complaint. She was just grateful to have the opportunity to fish alongside her husband. After years of fishing with people of different areas and backgrounds, we still experience things we never thought about. Some things we choose not to even mention, (YIKES!). But that’s what keeps us on our toes!
Summer is full swing. Shark fishing is off the charts! Memories are being made. Dates are booking quickly.
Call Beth soon to reserve your fishing trip. 912-617-5577