The arrival of prime fishing season coupled with nearly perfect weather makes this an excellent time to explore the deep seas around Charleston.
In our area, there are two ways to reel in a catch from the ocean: trolling or bottom fishing. “Trolling is fishing with the boat in motion, dragging baited lines on top of the water behind the boat,” explained the folks at Charleston Fishing Charters. Trolling allows a fisherman to target large species. When a fish gets hooked, the experience is thrilling — a battle of wills with the fish often soaring in the air. Trolling is considered to be the traditional and true method of sportfishing.
Bottom fishing, on the other hand, is fishing when the boat is not in motion. Vessels will hover over an identified ocean reef and drop baited lines to the bottom. Many fish can be caught more quickly, and they are the smaller but tasty species like grouper, sea bass, or snapper.
“It’s important for people to understand that deep sea fishing is completely different from in-shore fishing,” said John Madden, owner of Wahoo Fishing Charters LLC. “We aren’t looking around for fish. We research and track the locations of the fish and know exactly where to find them.”
He explained that May and June are the peak months for catching mahi, billfish, marlin, sailfish, tuna, and wahoo. Madden is excited to see a return of yellowfin tuna to the area. “They have been nonexistent in Charleston for the last 15 years,” he said. “And now they are coming back. We caught 10 last Saturday and another dozen two weeks ago.”
Captain Ron Walker of Sea Walker Fishing Charters LLC also is enthusiastic about this year’s catch. “The dolphin bite has been really good, as well as tuna and wahoo. We are seeing some marlin and sailfish action as well.” Despite a delayed start, Madden is anxious to get the season underway. “We love showing people a great time … watching their eyes pop out when they catch a big one! Our goal is to show customers the time of their life.”