Fishing is fishing
I once heard an old fisherman say, “catching fish is easy once someone shows you how.” I agree. I’ve fished for bass, walleye, pike, and trout for most of my life, but I’ll readily admit what I don’t know about saltwater fishing would fill a small book. Ok, make that a big book.
My only saltwater experience occurred years ago when I had several opportunities to fish for fluke, whiting, and mackerel from a party boat along the New Jersey coast. On one trip I remember just about everyone on the charter was fishing for fluke. As is the case on most excursions of this type the first mate made sure everyone was rigged up properly and used the appropriate bait.
This was many years ago and to my knowledge, soft plastic baits weren’t used by those on the party boats. The bait of choice consisted of a “killie” minnow and a piece of squid to act as an attractor. The line was attached to a three-way swivel with the hook and bait on one terminal and a two-ounce bank sinker on the bottom one. With the help of the first mate and advice from other fishermen, I think I may even have caught a fluke or two.
Fast forward about 50 years and our recent trip to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina with my family. My oldest grandson has turned into an avid fisherman since the Covid pandemic hit. He’s been studying fishing techniques and lure selection for almost a year and is having success in catching largemouth bass in small ponds near their home in Charlotte. On this trip he was targeting the fluke that inhabited the creek flowing past the house we rented for the week.
As I said, I don’t know much about most of the saltwater fish species that inhabit these waters but I do know fluke or summer flounder have a flat, rounded body and are brownish on top and whitish on the bottom. Various large spots on the top side of their body help hide in the sand and silt of the creek bottom. Fluke are unique because both eyes are located on the top side of their head and aid them in spotting and attacking prey. Fluke are vicious predators and are opportunistic feeders, eating whatever food is convenient at the time. They feed mostly on fish and crustaceans, but more importantly, they are delicious to eat.
Before heading out to fish off the dock in the front yard, I suggested to my grandson Luke that maybe we should take a trip to the local bait store to get some minnows and some squid but, he had other ideas. “Grandpa, I’ve been reading about how to catch fluke and I think this white Gulp in mullet pattern will work just as well,” he informed me. “Ok,” I said to myself. If he didn’t want my advice and wanted to use an artificial so be it. In my opinion, the minnow and squid combination would be the way to go but, then again, what did I know?
We arrived at the dock and Luke baited up. He threw out the jig with the white Gulp attached and in about three cranks of the reel handle had a hit. The fish measured more than the required 15 inches and a meal was in the making. Over the next few days, he caught and released about a half dozen smaller ones keeping one more legal one for the skillet. As I said, “fishing is easy once someone shows you how.” Seems like the old man learned something.