Tidelines – October 26, 2017
Golf and strippers are often associated with Myrtle Beach, but Capt. David Cutler of Low Country Fishing Charters has been working hard for years to get the word “fish” added to the list. Those efforts this time of year are mostly centered on the big red drum that are migrating past the Brunswick County beaches on their annual trip south.
The popularity of North Carolina’s big red drum fishery has been steadily growing and expanding to include way more real estate than just the Pamlico/Neuse areas, as surf and pier anglers all the way down the southeastern coast have been getting in on the fall run. In recent years that popularity has grown among the boat anglers, too, and that was my reason to meet up with David at the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club to take a short trek to the Little River jetties to try and find a couple of citation fish for me, Billy (sales manager), and Bryan (Billy’s father-in-law).
As fishing goes, the day before there had been acres of bait just as soon as you rounded the north jetty and headed for shore. Today was different, though. We saw few birds, none of them working, and the water’s surface didn’t give away any flips, nervous activity, or the color variance of bait pods, so we continued to head up the Sunset Beach shoreline.
Finally, a handful of birds were gathered and active a little offshore of the Sunset Beach Pier, and when we settled into a slow idle, there were flips all around. David checked his machine, took out his cast net, waited for a close flip, and served a pancake. He pulled up the net, now heavy with 4-6” pogies, cleanly dumped them all into a Tupperware strategically placed at his feet, before just as cleanly transferring them from Tupperware to the waiting live well.
Loaded with bait, we made our way back to the north jetty. David first got the nose of our boat facing into the current from the outgoing tide before conveniently using the gps trolling motor to lock us in place.
We quickly had a bite on a portside line, but the rod didn’t stay bent, and when we checked the bait—no teeth marks but a little mushed—it gave us no conclusive evidence of the culprit.
We then had another short strike, but this time the cleanly-bitten half a pogie left on the hook gave us little doubt that we had just been blued.
On the first true bite of the morning, the rod bending down and staying down, Billy deferred to Bryan (smart son-in-law). Bryan held fast to the rod as his “fish” headed immediately towards the rocks and then further into the inlet, but even before the line broke and Bryan reeled in a hook-less leader bitten through, David knew that the direction of the run alone was enough to confidently call it a shark.
Soon after, we had a second bite, and this time Billy grabbed the screaming starboard rod and started to try and slow his “fish” down; however, when the short first run ended with it just wanting to sit heavy on the bottom, David said aloud what we all suspected, “A ray.”
Then we had a third bite.
There was a decent initial run, but not necessarily the classic big first run typical of citation drum, and while the drag was still sounding, Billy and Bryan turned to me, telling me it was my turn. Since neither Billy nor Bryan had ever caught a bull red, I thanked them, declined, and said I wanted one of them to grab the rod.
Billy and Bryan, being the good and polite people they are, offered again, and while I’d like to think I’m a good and polite person, I don’t typically decline twice.
As fishing goes, my “fish” was not only an actual fish but also our target species, so when the 40+” red drum came over the gunnel for a quick photo, I was compelled (out of guilt?) amidst the celebrations to offer up a couple, “I told you guys to take the rod.”
Billy later caught a big red drum of his own (less guilt), and while Bryan, a long time South Holston River fly fisherman, missed his big red drum opportunity this time, he enjoyed comparing the blistering runs of a false albacore to his browns and rainbows back home.
Capt. David Cutler’s been chasing these citation drum for well over a decade now, with the heat of the bite typically happening from mid-September through the end of October, but Low Country Fishing Charters has way more to offer anyone interested in fishing the North Myrtle Beach area. He works in tandem with a handful of guides to offer inshore, nearshore, offshore, and Gulf Stream trips.
So whether you like the idea of chasing trout, flounder, and red drum from Cherry Grove up to the Shallotte Inlet, or targeting cobia and spanish from just off the beach out to five miles, or traveling further for mahi, kings, or an assortment of bottom fish, David has you covered. You can find out more information on all of Low Country’s offerings by visiting their website at www.lowcountryfishingcharters.com, or give David a call to talk specifics at (843) 222-7433.
I’m not saying Myrtle Beach needs to break completely away from golf and strippers. I’m just trying to help David’s brand by giving him (free of charge) a new marketing campaign—when you think of golf and strippers, think of Capt. David Cutler.