My brother John and I wanted to educate ourselves on fishing from a sea kayak, so we put in our boats at Edisto Beach, south of Charleston, S.C., on a beautiful Saturday morning and aimed them for the A.C.E. Basin. It's a short and easy paddle across the mouth of the Edisto river even through changing tides. As we approached the south end of Pine Island, we encountered a pod of dolphins. We drifted close, at times within a kayak length, and watched what appeared to be a mating orgy or so we hoped. There was much rolling and thrashing and positioning but we couldn't tell who did what to whom. Eventually, they moved on and so did we.
Our immediate destination was Otter Island, separated from Pine Island by Fish Creek. We landed on its sandy beach, straightened our legs, discussed camping possibilities and set off again. Finding a somewhat firm and level stream bottom at a low point in the outgoing tide, we hopped out and threw a cast net for bait shrimp. John did most of the catching; I was there to wash off the mud with my folded-net tosses. We did well and went to try our luck in the nearby waters. A couple of hours passed and with only one keeper between us, we made a command decision to find our sand motel and surf fish after setting up camp. Within sight of the town of Edisto Beach., we pitched the tent and collected firewood. Meal preparation (sea trout, shrimp, onions, bell peppers and fried sweet potatoes - haven't had a better camp meal), took us up to dark and after a few swigs of rum, surf fishing sounded like too much work. Especially since we'd eaten the bait.
Paddling with a hangover was a new experience and I'm glad it's behind me. We explored Fish Creek tributaries and eventually ended up collecting more shrimp at our regular spot. This time, I was of some help and we filled a bread bag with "redlegs" and set off to catch our limit. Well, we didn't have what the fish of the ACE basin wanted that day and, in a few hours, our patience wore through. We paddled the 45 minutes back to Edisto on mirror-surfaced swells.
Directions to the put in:
Follow Edisto Beach's main road to Yacht Club Rd. Follow to beach access and park in cul-de-sac. Carry boats across short boardwalk and beach. No place to change or use bathroom but ample room to unload kayaks.