The Lure of Pier Fishing for local anglers
Much of life in the Lowcountry revolves around fishing, and, unfortunately, most inshore fishing requires a boat. Finding a good place to fish from shore is like finding a treasure: you need a secret map.
That’s why the Daniel Island fishing pier at the end of River Landing Drive is such a gem. Charleston resident Jeff Connor casts off often from the site. He comes to the pier just before high tide, and likes to use mud minnows that he catches on the St. Thomas Island pier over Beresford Creek. His favorite catches include spotted sea trout, flounder and sheepshead. Connor also sets crab traps as he fishes and takes home a lot of blue crabs.
Kendall Ford and his family, also from Charleston, fish from the Daniel Island pier with live or cut shrimp, and sometimes finger mullet. Like Connor, Ford fishes the top of the tide and catches spotted sea trout and flounder.
Ford grew up disadvantaged and was introduced to fishing by his uncle as a means of dealing with the stresses of his childhood; to distract him from the things he saw and heard every day.
Now, he brings his own family and finds the pier to be a perfect place. The nearby picnic tables make it easy to get some food and liquids into the kids. “You’ve got to keep them hydrated,” he says.
Sometimes the family catches a lot of fish and sometimes they don’t catch anything. But catching fish isn’t everything. As Ford says, “If you’ve got the passion for it, it really doesn’t matter.”
Hanahan resident Linda Reed likes to set blue crab traps from the Daniel Island pier. It’s one of her favorite spots.
“We always come here,” she said smiling. “It’s beautiful.”
Down the pier from Reed on her visit last weekend, perched on the floating dock, were Illinois resident Robert Jerich and his mother, Jean, who lives at Summit Place on Daniel Island. The pair decided Sunday’s picture perfect weather would offer a prime opportunity for some afternoon fishing on Mother’s Day. Jean, set to turn 100 in August, was delighted to take part.
“This is her joy!” exclaimed Robert, who said his mother once caught a shark while fishing. “…Not too many people who come out to fish are close to 100 years old!”
“I love to fish,” added Jean, the afternoon’s gentle breeze wafting through her curls. “You relax and you forget all your troubles.”
Robert carefully guided his mother through the process, even gently chiding her when her bait slipped away a few times.
“Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t be letting fish steal your bait!” he joked, reeling in her line.
“You better believe it!” Jean quipped.
Another frequent visitor to the fishing pier is Nick Sooter of North Charleston, who heard about the site from friends at the Daniel Island Fire Station. He prefers to get to the pier earlier than the others, about two hours before high tide. He has caught many species there including sheepshead, redfish, flounder, and bluefish. The most exotic fish Sooter landed was a lizardfish, not an experience he is interested in repeating.
An important feature of the Daniel Island fishing pier for Sooter is safety. “The kids can run around here and stay out of serious trouble.”
On a recent afternoon on the pier, the big entertainment of the day for the Sooter children was when Nick’s wife, Ella, caught a blowfish. He then stroked the fish’s belly until it transformed into what looked like a fishy softball and then released it. The kids thought it was hilarious.
Whether you are a serious angler, a spectator, a parent looking for a fun outlet for the kids, or someone just hoping to cast off the day’s stresses, the Daniel Island fishing pier is worth a visit.
(Note: Elizabeth Bush contributed to this article.)