Ideal watercraft for lower Saluda River float fishing

The lower Saluda River can be tough on traditional watercraft, so kayaks, canoes and different types of inflatables are more suited to fishermen’s needs.

Due to shoals and other features found on rivers such as the lower Saluda, anglers wanting to fish from a watercraft must find vessels other than a traditional, deep- hulled boat.

Due to the likelihood and expense of motor damage, many anglers on the river have looked for to nontraditional methods of navigation.

“Traditionally, most fisherman have used aluminum john boats to target fish on the lower Saluda River,” said Kent Parsons, the owner of Barron’s Outfitters in Columbia.  “However, in recent years there has been an increase in the use of kayaks and inflatables.”

Fishing out of a kayak or inflatable boat has many perks.

“The use of collapsible and inflatable watercraft may increase the opportunity for individuals to (use) multiple entrance and exit points from the river in addition to traditional boat landings,”  Parsons said. “(They) can often give access to water guarded by rocky outcrops and other features that traditional outboard watercraft simply cannot access.”

At times when SCE&G is releasing large amounts of water into the tailrace below Lake Murray, it is nearly impossible for paddlers to work against the current.

“Launching upstream is the preferred method, using the natural flow of the river to  the angler’s advantage by limiting fatigue,” Parsons said. “Smaller crafts such as kayaks give an angler the opportunity to better fish these waters and even allow them the ability to anchor or beach watercraft and wet wade areas of interest.”

Parsons reminds anglers about the hazards of fishing the rough waters of the lower Saluda.

“The water temperature and constant flow, sometimes violent, require all (fishermen) who navigate the lower Saluda River wear a PFD at all times, and (they) are encouraged to wear safety headgear,” he said.

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