South Carolina sportsmen have a penchant for loving “Opening Day,” and during the fall, there are many such opportunities in the Palmetto State. With varied deer seasons and dove seasons opening, there’s plenty of anticipation in the air. But for many sportsmen, the anticipation of Opening Day of shrimp-baiting season is approached with the same intensity. 

Passionate about the sport and enamored with the eating qualities of shrimp, many outdoorsmen plan their fall outdoor pursuits around this coastal sport.

The practice of shrimping using cast nets without bait is not restricted by a season, but there is a specific season for employing bait to help attract and catch shrimp.

Rev. Bob Matthews of Ladson, employs both techniques to catch shrimp, but it is the shrimp-baiting season he eagerly awaits.

“Shrimpers have found that the shrimp-catching process is much more productive and fun during shrimp-bating season,” Matthews said. “I’ve found that the shrimp-baiting season is the prime time to load the freezer with some of the best of all the Lord’s bounty we can gather from the sea.”

According to Matthews, this bounty maybe gathered many different ways, but there are some common elements for consistent success.

“One of the aspects of the shrimp-baiting season is that it’s basically a 2-man team affair,” he said. “While I and many of my friends can do it alone, it is easier with two people and typically much more enjoyable in terms of fellowship with a friend.”

The team is essentially one person to drive the boat and one to cast the net.

“I enjoy use the big nets, the 8-, 9- and 10-foot radius cast nets,” Matthews said, “but to do that, especially on windy days, I need a good boat driver. It’s obvious that you’ve got to have a skilled person throwing the net, but a good boat driver who keeps the cast-net person in just the right position to make a good throw is essential.”

Download the September 2010 issue of South Carolina Sportsman to read the rest of this story.