Preparing for a pleasant day of fishing on a gorgeous fall day, Patrick Kelly warmed the engine of his boat at Cricket Cove Marina near Little River, S.C., just a short run from great fishing on either side of the North Carolina-South Carolina state line.
Kelly motored a short distance to a riprap bank at Coquina Harbor, saying man-made structure like that is always worth investigating, even on the way to Dunn Sound, which is full of natural cover: deep holes, bluff banks, oyster beds and laydown trees. Hooking a live shrimp on a popping-cork rig, he made his first cast.
“A shrimp is a delicate creature,” he said. “I let it settle just long enough to take the slack out of the leader. Then I twitch the rod tip to make the float pop once or twice. If a trout is in the area, that is usually enough to attract its attention. If pinfish are around, you can’t keep a shrimp on the hook for long. If you pop the float too hard or too many times, the hook pulls out of the shrimp.”
His second spot was an area were the Little River and Calabash River meet the ICW, a place he called “The Crossroads.”
“It is the greatest spot in the world to fish for trout, redfish and flounder,” he said, “but, if you aren’t in the exact spot on the right tide for the perfect 30 minutes, you won’t catch anything.”
While he had a livewell full of shrimp caught with a cast net, he chose a blue crab for bait. He removed its legs and broke the crab into pieces. Hooking a piece of crab in a hard part of its shell, he cast it on a bottom rig.
“Most fish will gobble up a blue crab,” he said. “People are surprised when I show