Had a day scheduled with local fly guide Capt. Pete of The Extreme Fisherman (what else would you call a Myrtle Beach outfitter?), but unfortunately Mr. Pete reinjured his back and found himself couch fishing weather reports and bass tourneys. Undeterred, Creative Director Jessie Lu and I rented ‘yaks in Murrell’s Inlet and lit out for the salt marsh maze with a net tossed last minute from the docks and a marina staff insight: “You never know what you’re going to catch out there.” Indeed, we had no idea where we were going or what lived, lurked, swam and/or predated these waters. Truth be told, the day before was the first time I’d ever swam in the Atlantic. We may as well have been in Madagascar.
After battling a brutal wind and finally settling on a functional sling-shot sidewind casting tech, I managed to hook whatever was scaring the hell out of the baitfish. Reeling in, I instinctively reached to the fish as it broke water near the boat, figuring a quick release. Equally instinctively, I quickly recoiled from the long and toothy snout which graced a slender, silvery beast of indeterminate species.
While some prefer to research their trips with the dillegence and studiousness of a Harvard Business grad school candidate, I rather like the cloud of unkowning. I like fishing; and when it comes to what is at the end of my line, I am down for surprises — as long as it is some kind of fish.
After a couple hours of warring with the wind, we retreated to the marina, returned the crafts and watched the sun lower over amber waves of sea grass.
The next day, got out on the beach and began hucking the same fly (a silvery, clouser-looking thing I’ve used with success on sea-run cutts, cohos, bulls, etc) at the mini bars and the contstant splashing and slurping scene of feeding… somethings. About twenty minutes into the session, one of the somethings slammed the clouser and put a moderate bend into the 8 wt. A few minutes later, another rather bassy/tuna-ish fish of yet another indeterminate species lay at my feet. Twenty minutes after that, another of about equal 19″-ish size did the same.
A woman and her husband approached and asked, “What kind of fish is it?” as I slid it back into the surfline. “I have no idea,” I happily and earnestly replied.
Later Googletubing would show the slender toothy guy to be a needlefish and the two surf fishes to be blues.
Ignorance is salty bliss, the South is definitely a hospitable place, and you can fry and eat anything if you are determined enough.