Yes, its hunting season, holiday season, party season, and everyones pretty busy, but dont give up fishing just yet. December is a wonderful month for catching redfish and trout on light tackle and flies in the Lowcountry.
For wintertime crappie fishermen, the period from Thanksgiving to Christmas is special. The weather is cold, but not too cold. Its that good-feeling time where you re-establish the bond with your heavy jacket but dont have to rely on it to survive.
The distant flock of ducks pulsed in the early morning light, swinging wide towards Hatteras. They made the turn and let the hunters know they had seen the spread of decoys in the shallow water several miles out in Pamlico Sound. The flocks shape changed from wide to long as the ducks fell into a loose group headed across the edge of the sound and toward the waiting hunters.
Duck hunters in the Lowcountrys ACE Basin either have connections with a plantation owner who plants food plots and possibly buys raised mallards, or they are rugged individualists with masochistic tendencies.
The trees have been battered and the ground torn apart. Now the ritual intensifies as antler clashing echoes and the chasing of does heightens. Finally the dominant breeders tend their mates as the whitetail rut peaks.
Once bucks are in the height of pursuing does, their instincts for survival are somewhat diminished. Their eyes, ears and noses are focused on estrus does, and although they can still respond to threats, most of the time it takes them a few seconds longer to put two and two together. This stupor of hesitation on a rutting bucks part offers a grand opportunity to bring him down.
There are a couple of good things about the tag end of deer season in South Carolina. First, the number of deer hunters drops off as small-game seasons open, and some hunters have just had their fill of whitetails. Others simply dont like to sit still for long periods in the December cold.
Keith Wray of Eden the Fish Doc rarely needs any treatment for cabin fever throughout the winter. The veteran crappie stalker is accustomed to fishing in cold weather at John H. Kerr Reservoir, also known as Buggs Island.
For the past five years, North Carolina fishermen have wondered if this could be the season when everything falls into place, when the striper fishing that marked the winter of 2004-2005 makes a repeat visit.