The sun peaks out on the early morning hours on Saturday September 29th. We're on the cool waters of Little River in Little River, South Carolina.
We arrived at the dock around 5:45am and loaded the gear onto the boat and we were on the water by 6am. Our captain, Danny, before shoving off explained that the gulf stream was going to be pushing serious swells by late morning and there was no way we were going to be heading that far out. He did explain that the day before he took a crew out about 14 miles and they caught several nice big king mackerel and that we should give that location a try. The big question mark was how rough the ocean was going to be that far out. As captain Danny said...don't know until we get there!
On the way out it was very apparent we were going to be in for a wild ride. Around the 3 mile mark we were already in 3 to 4 foot swells but we moved on. Around 10 miles out the swells were in the 6 foot range and by the time we hit 13 miles out we were in 8 to 10 foot swells....we were a rockin'.
We started to troll the rough water around 13 miles out and within about 5 minutes or so we hooked our first fish a big king mackerel. We were able to pull in 2 more smaller king mackerel but not without falling around the boat. The swells made fishing a real challenge, just getting back to the rods was treacherous. We had several swells that were probably over the 10 foot mark that really shook us good.
As the time passed captain Danny realized that it just wasn't working with the swells as large as they were. No fun trying to reel fish in and falling all over the place. So he made the call to start to head back towards the shoreline.
So we packed up the rods and secured all the gear and started our way back closer to the shore line. Danny put that boat full throttle and we rode those swells all the way back into the coast, what a wild ride with waves crashing down on us.
Here are a couple more pics from the rougher section about 14 miles out on the ocean. It's amazing how small you feel when your that far out and you see no land in all directions. I love being on the water though, what a blast.
The picture on the right is when we first started to head back in closer to the coast. You can see some of the spray coming from over top the boat.
As we moved closer inland the swells decreased significantly in size. We decided to go all the way in and fish right off the beach. Once we started to troll the water the fish started to bite. We caught about 45 or so Spanish mackerel which are much smaller then the king and don't fight much at all. The water was still a little rough but compared to what we were in earlier it might as well have been like glass. It's amazing how quickly you adjust to the rough water, well at least all of us did. Our captain did an amazing job navigating his boat in that rough water. I found out later he was in a really bad storm a couple of years back and experienced and survived 30 plus foot swells, his boat getting shredded, dodging sharks, and being rescued by the coast guard. It's good to have a guy of his experience level navigating the boat for you.
Captain Danny is the second one from the right and from this picture you can see how much calmer the water is from when we were further out.
On the right is our fish stash building and you can see the big king mackerel in the center of the cooler and the smaller Spanish mackerel all around. It stayed nice and cool all morning and we had a blast. We decided to only do a half day instead of the full we originally planned due to the wind advisory. After being in 8 to 10 foot swells I know I want no part of 20 plus foot swells.
We started to head back to dock right around 12 noon. It was a great ride all the way in to the dock. I loved just being on the boat as much as I did fishing. I took a few pictures on the way in.
Once we got back to the dock and got all our gear off the boat and to the car we went down and helped captain Danny clean and cut the fish. Even though the weather did not play well we still had a great time and I enjoyed every minute of it. My father-in-law got some great video in the rough water and is making a fun movie out of it. In the video you really can feel how rough it was out there.
We loved it so much were thinking about another trip at the beginning of December and then maybe one around late April. I want to get out in the gulf stream and try and catch some large Tuna and Mahi-Mahi, something that will put up a good fight. We got back around 4pm on Sunday afternoon and then Monday it was back to the grind. I had tests in every class, it was a very busy week.
I will update on the running front tomorrow. I hope everyone has a safe Saturday and a good Sunday morning. - Jason