The South Carolina portion of the trip was rather unsuccessful in terms of lifers due to high water, but I still got to explore some cool new areas. Namely, the Congaree National Park, which has an awesome 2 mile boardwalk through a scenic wetland area. Sights include an old moonshine still, a 100 year old Beech tree, and a variety of spiders and other creepy critters.
|Female Lined Topminnow|
|Male Lined Topminnow|
Many other species were also caught that day, one of the coolest actually wasn't even a fish! I had left a line close to shore as I checked my second rod and turned back to see it getting a bite. I lifted it up and saw a huge Hellbender; North America's largest Salamander. It was definitely a treat to just be able to see one of them given their endangered status.
Of course, other fish species were caught as well. Other lifers that day included the River Chub, Northern Hogsucker, Warpaint Shiner, and Tennessee Shiner. I also caught a few Rock Bass, which may eventually be split into the "Cherokee" Bass in this area.
That pretty much sums it up for the first day in the mountains. Day 2 was focused more on micros but was less successful because the creeks were just a little bit too high. Visibility was perfect but the current made snorkel fishing difficult, the best method to target our desired species. It was actually my first time attempting snokel fishing and it definitely attracted a lot of looks from the locals, especially when an entire high school gym class walked by... I remember hearing "What the hell? There's a man in the creek!" in the typical southern accent.
Despite the lack of new species, it was still a lot of fun to try a new technique and see the colourful fish behaving naturally in their habitat. And I still managed to get another two new ones: the Central Stoneroller and the Whitetail Shiner.
Those ten lifers made up the total for the trip, nothing incredible but definitely nothing to be ashamed of. I can't wait until next time I get to go back and explore that area some more. It has so much potential!