• Volume 10 Number 10 - October 2015

    Features

    Watch the wind, make the right kind of noise and be ready for a shot at that special buck when he lets his guard down.

    South Carolina’s deer season is one of the longest and most liberal in the country. For states with seasons that last only a few weeks, they are usually structured to align with the peak of the rut and for good reason — bucks let their guard down and are most vulnerable when they make breeding their top priority. 

    Location, wind direction, ease of access and cover are keys for selecting the perfect deer-stand tree.

    As hunters prepare for the peak of deer season or the changes in deer behavior, many are looking at hanging or moving tree stands into just the right locations. Part of the puzzle we try and solve with mature bucks is getting into their core or travel areas and putting ourselves in just the right tree, especially when hunting with archery equipment, a muzzleloader or a shotgun. 

    Location, wind direction, ease of access and cover are keys for selecting the perfect deer-stand tree.

    As hunters prepare for the peak of deer season or the changes in deer behavior, many are looking at hanging or moving tree stands into just the right locations. Part of the puzzle we try and solve with mature bucks is getting into their core or travel areas and putting ourselves in just the right tree, especially when hunting with archery equipment, a muzzleloader or a shotgun. 

    Get back in a creek, cover a lot of water and load up on Lake Tillery’s fall bass.

    Dylan Fulk had his trolling motor on high and his baitcasting rod in perpetual motion, firing casts at just about any piece of visible cover as he worked a bank in Lake Tillery’s Jacobs Creek.

    Cast to a dock. Cast to a laydown. Cast to a stump. Cast to the edge of a grass bed. Cast. Cast. Cast.

    Examine your shot, watch your target and mark his path, and you’ll have venison for the grill.

    It takes hours, days, sometimes years to figure out the daily travel patterns of a trophy buck. These grown-ups are scholars in the wilderness, living long enough to sense trouble from most of the average hunter’s tricks. Those that make it to 4 ½ years or older have outlived more than 80 percent of their brethren. 

    North Carolina’s mountains produced the biggest buck taken last season by a muzzleloader. Here are the details.

    Western North Carolina’s mountains can’t carry a large number of whitetail deer because the habitat just doesn’t match the rest of the state, so trophy bucks from the high country aren’t too common.

    The waters off Oak Island and the mouth of the Cape Fear River teem with big king mackerel in October.

    October is a special time in the ocean around the mouth of the Cape Fear River at Southport, where king mackerel gather between and try to devour every baitfish they can, arriving the last week or so of September and increasing in numbers until mid-October, when the slowly begin to move off the beach. The fishing can be epic, and there are special days every year.

    The 10-day primitive weapons deer season in the Upstate gives hunters a unique opportunity for a unique hunt.

    Other than a handful of Wildlife Management Areas below the fall line, primitive weapons seasons for deer in South Carolina  have always been an Upstate thing. Maybe the proximity to the mountains is what beckons hunters to squeeze in a few days between stick-and-string and the heavy artillery to honor those pioneers who settled the land with their trusty smokepole at their side.

    Wilmington’s four rivers offer great fall fishing for largemouth bass, if you can learn to ride the tide.

    The beaches of New Hanover County are known for their good saltwater fishing, but fewer anglers are aware of the good freshwater fishing from Wilmington upriver. Four rivers meet close to the port city, where the water transforms from saltwater to freshwater.

    Georgetown’s waters offer speckled trout some of the best habitat in South Carolina, and October is time to probe it.

    After a long, hot summer, fall has arrived on the calendar, and it true fall conditions should arrive this month. For the inshore angler with a passion for casting lures at grass lines and oyster points, the fun-filled October session is the just what the doctor ordered, because a squadron of speckled trout show up looking to stretch their stomachs on shrimp, mullet and menhaden. Anglers visiting the Georgetown, South Carolina’s third-oldest city, will be more than pleased. 

    The fall spot run along the South Carolina coast is often followed by the best flounder fishing of the year.

    The spot run each fall causes a lot of excitement along the Grand Strand, and few are immune to the frenzy of the tasty panfish. J Baisch of Fishful Thinking Charters in Murrells Inlet also gets excited about the annual migration, but it’s not because of what’s in front. It’s what’s behind. 

    Consistent weather patterns and big, hungry fish make October a great time to target crappie on Santee Cooper’s Lake Marion.

    The long rod bowed into a deep, inverted “U” as another slab crappie was swung aboard the boat. Guide Buster Rush grabbed his client’s fish and sized it up.

    “This one’s nearly 16 inches long, and is a thick-bodied crappie,” he said. “If we keep this one, we’re limited and done for the day.”

    Wahoo provide bluewater fishermen out of Morehead City with plenty of Autumn action.

    Tailgates. Pigskins. Orange leaves. Cool mornings. Bonfires. Hoodies. These are all signs of fall. For the offshore angler that pushes beyond the beaches on a cool, late September or early October morning, there is another marker of the changing of the season: wahoo. 

    Extra protection in 2014 has jump-started great Swansboro speckled trout fishing.

    Fred Slann, a guide from New Bern, his friend Chris Walker of Sea Island, N.J., and a visiting writer had one of the most fantastic trout-fishing days ever 10 Octobers ago in the North River east of Beaufort.

    Look in 30-foot depths around flooded, standing timber for best fall striper results on Lake Hartwell.

    When it comes to filling a cooler with striped bass from Lake Hartwell, October is a tough month to beat. The water temperature falls to a point where the hard-fighting fish seem invigorated, and that’s good news for guides like Steve Pietrykowski of Fishski Business, who fishes hundreds of days a year on the 56,000-acre reservoir.

    There will be plenty of chances for hunters to put their eyes on deer this month, if they pick the right stand locations, have their weapons shooting straight, and know what to do before and after the shot.