High tides and wide-eyes, Charleston fishing at its finest

Annual pilgrimage to Seabrook Island to visit with parents begins with a splash of red.

  • Writer Matt Popovich "caught" this medium sized red drum.
  • Staci Lyttle with a nice red drum.
  • Finnegan and Staci Lyttle pose with a small spotted sea trout.
  • Finnegan pilots his 24ft. Tidewater center console boat on the hunt for fish during a recent charter trip.
  • Kiawah Island, SC is pictured in the background.
  • Matt and his mom and dad pose under the Angel Oak tree, located near Seabrook Island, SC.
  • A WWII era landing craft which was converted to help construct wooden docks for homes located on the islands.
  • The Angel Oak tree

While recently visiting my parents at a relative’s residence on Seabrook Island, SC., I was informed by my wonderful mother that it had been nine months since I had last seen my loving parents.

According to mother, this was far too long of a period of time to not see her only child. I felt the same way for my beloved Bohickett Marina and, of course, my lovely parents.

It had also been far too since I had last seen my friend Brian Finnegan, and I was excited to head out on the water for a day of red-fishing fun aboard his new 24-ft. Tidewater center console boat, made right here in good old SC.

Marking the trip as a special first, my girlfriend ventured out on the water with Finnegan and I. She finally realized her hunk of a manly fisherman boyfriend (me if you have met me and are wondering whom I am speaking of) had not been showing her the full potential of Lowcountry inshore fishing. To my surprise, and the frustration of my girlfriend, several simple techniques allowed us to finally meet the fish that have long viewed me as an easy meal.  

Apparently, fishing the bottom with box-store pre-rigged drop shot and fishing the top with un-weighted traditional bobbers with frozen shrimp incorrectly placed on a massive hook (obviously there big fish in the ocean; made sense to me) was not the best option if we wanted to fill our boat and Instagram pages with fish.

Additionally, I can also no longer blame every nibble and missed fish on a pesky blue crab, although I will still try.

Once my pride was put in check and my girlfriend stopped staring at me with a look of shame and dissatisfaction, we saw the proverbial light and began catching numerous fish while onboard Finnegan’s dry-riding and stable center console boat. Although a wonderful and safe boat, my girlfriend’s first journey into sizable rollers on a windy day made a wonderful trip even better for me. Her eyes opened to the size of that of a tile fish; my smile was as awkward and uninhibited as that of a sheephead. Although funny for a short time, I was disheartened to realize I was no longer capable of operating my reel as my hand had suffered short-term paralysis due to an unrelenting death grip she enthralled me in.

After we found a nice rake to anchor off, and the tides began to work in our favor, we started to really pull them in. Years of experience and proper gear/technique allowed our boat to catch over 20 fish in a short period of time. The boat (my girlfriend and Brian) reeled in the inshore slam (trout, red drum, flounder) and I dropped a sizable amount of money into the water and caught several trout; a terrific day for me. I also found myself with a reel in my hand and a fighter on the other end of the line. I will count the sizable red drum Brian deceived into biting as mine, although spinning the reel is the easy part.

The following day, even more fond memories were made as I convinced by parents to accompany me to the Charleston Tea Plantation, located on Wadmalaw Island, SC. Although they had visited the tea producer on several occasions, they indulged their only child with a visit to the beautiful plantation. Although we did not take the full tour, I was able to convince my mother to pose with me in a wooden cutout board for what I am willing to wager will be this year’s Christmas card.

On the way home, with mother not convinced of my idea for our upcoming Christmas card, we stopped by the Angel Oak Tree for a more traditional backdrop. Graceful sweeping limbs branch out from the massive trunk of the Angel Oak, making the destination a popular spot for tourists visiting Kiawah and Seabrook Islands.

In all, my short trip to visit with family and friends was exceptional and brings back into focus the important things in life; proper hook choice and a dry-riding boat. And my parents. And generally my girlfriend, assuming I operate the boat properly (not putting it in gear while she is unassumingly tossing her cast night on the bow) and find her a fish.

If you are looking for a fun time on the water near the Charleston area, and chance hook a fish of a lifetime, contact Brian Finnegan at www.heritagefishingcharters.com.