The slight, almost imperceptible tug on the rod tip signaled the sheepshead had taken the crab in his mouth. Pulling back gently to tighten the connection I waited for the second tap. At this point, history has taught me that it may be too late, the crab crushed and the fish gone, but there it was, another light tap!
Setting the hook quickly the classic tug and war battle was on. Bending the rod double on surging runs and taking drag, the sheepshead did his best to return to the structure below. After several minutes we finally had color, the black and white striped master bait thief was close. But they never give up easy and the fish took line again and headed for the depths.
Back and forth he went until finally the fish was close enough to slide the net under. Weighing around eight pounds, the sheepshead was mostly grown, while weights in the double digits are possible, few are caught over the ten pound mark.
Sheepshead are present year round in the low country but March is a banner month for this fishery. A member of the snapper family, they rank in my list of favorites to catch Difficult to hook due to their feeding habits, a real scrapper when it comes to fighting and last but definitely not least- they are delicious on the plate. A large set of teeth, almost human like, are used to crush barnacles, crabs and other hard shell critters.
The preferred bait for most anglers are fiddler crabs. The most common rig is a fish finder rig, a sliding sinker rigged above a short leader with the hook at the end. Dropping the crab over structure until the sinker hits bottom, then reeling the sinker up a foot or so allows the angler, if he’s lucky, to feel the light tap or tug when the sheepie takes the crab in his mouth. Only seconds pass before the sheepshead crushes the crab, spits the hook and then he’s on his way. Needless to say you need a good supply of fiddlers if you want to seriously sheepshead fish. Fresh clams and live shrimp are also productive baits.
One of the things I like most about March is that sheepshead are the harbingers of the season. They kickstart our local season, keeping us busy until the cobia show in late April and May, but that’s another month and another story. Now it’s time to catch the sheepies!
P.S. A note for our guests and residents of northern origin, these are not the same fish as the freshwater species you know from back home.
There is so much to do when visiting us this spring! For those of you counting down the days until you arrive to gorgeous Hilton Head Island and Palmetto Dunes, we’ve compiled a spring to-do list for you. See how many you can complete and let us know:
What’s missing from our Palmetto Dunes To-Do List? Is there anything your family cannot leave the resort without doing?
To book your Palmetto Dunes vacation this spring, visit www.palmettodunes.com or call us at 866-650-4130.
We are so blessed here with many days reaching the 70's and sometimes 80 degrees in winter. Trout fishing has been great this season, getting a limit of ten per person has been easy a lot of days. They are hitting almost any artificial you throw at them and live bait is always good.
Reports of large "gator" trout are common and large flounder seem to be more plentiful. Redfish are with us year round and this time of year can be caught inshore and offshore. While artificials will work in the creeks for the redfish, cut mullet, live mud minnows and shrimp will all but guarantee some lively action. Fishing around docks and oyster beds on either side of low tide seems to be the best method for these battlers.
Sheepshead fishing around the docks and old pilings is also great this time of year. Live fiddlers and clams the favorite baits of choice for these convict striped fish. Master bait thieves you have to be vigilant for the ever so subtle strike. Not many fish can top the sheepshead for table fare, which has earned them the nickname "river snapper".
Sheepshead can also be caught at the nearshore reefs but black sea bass pose a problem in winter. Also hard to beat for the table the black sea bass are out of season this time of year and while you can literally catch hundreds on a trip now, but…you have to release them all.
While many over slot reds are being caught in the creeks the really big boys will be off the beach. This time of year searching for the gannets diving on bait schools will help you locate the bull redfish. Once you locate them place squid, menhaden or cut mullet beneath them and hold on! Averaging 30 plus pounds look for at least two or three if not more scorching runs out of these guys.
One other option this time of year is up the Savannah River. In late December and January the striped bass run up the freshwater rivers and offer a rare treat for those that seek them. Trolling big Cisco Kids or similar lures along the banks with stout tackle can produce fish twenty pounds and up. Be careful of large ships passing as the deep draft of these ships will pull the water six feet or more from the bank. All in all there is plenty of good fishing this time of year, so don't put those rods away!
By Guest Blogger Captain Miles Altman
Book a fishing charter with Capt. Miles by calling 843-842-7001. Bayrunner Charter Fishing is offering a 3-3-3 special in Jan and Feb…3 hours, 3 people for 300!
Don’t miss the lovely and charming shops at Shelter Cove Harbour as you make your post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping rounds! Not only will you enjoy a fantastic harbour view, but you can find one-of-a-kind gifts from shops like Nash Gallery and the newest boutique to open in the area, Seasons.
The shops at Shelter Cove Harbour will be holding a variety of holiday sales during Black Friday and throughout the weekend. Plus, you can enjoy holiday fun like a visit from Santa at Noon and holiday music from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. both on Black Friday. Be sure to enter to win a variety of prize packages, including gift cards and a 2-night stay at Shelter Cove with an ELA’s dinner gift certificate between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28. Find all of the holiday happenings in this blog post.
If you’re looking for a deal, here’s what you’ll find at the Shelter Cove sales:
Shelter Cove restaurants will also be offering specials and discounts, as well, when you decide to take a break from shopping to refuel.
Don’t forget that Saturday, Nov. 29 is Small Business Saturday. We really appreciate you supporting our local Hilton Head shops and restaurants!
If you’re visiting Hilton Head Island prior to the holidays, be sure to take advantage of our many unique boutiques and shops that you don’t have back home. Whether you have golfers or tennis players in your family or you’re just looking for a one-of-a-kind gift, you’ve got plenty to choose from when it comes to Hilton Head shopping.
1) Nash Gallery – Art lovers will be in heaven browsing this Shelter Cove art gallery. Featuring work from North American artists, you’ll find pieces made from metal, wood and glass, as well as ceramics and even jewelry.
2) Ship’s Store – The Shelter Cove Marina Ship’s Store features all things nautical in apparel, accessories and anything you’d need for a day out on the boat. Tervis Tumblers make great gift items, along with stylish nautical belts, Guy Harvey shirts and Sperry Topsiders.
3) Taffeta – Get your best friends the latest fashions from Europe at Taffeta in Shelter Cove. The clothing boutique specializes in styles from France and Italy for both special occasions and casual wear.
4) Neptune’s Niche – Lowcountry is the theme at this store named after the iconic Statue of Neptune at Shelter Cove. The shop carries works from local artists, including glassware, woodwork, pottery, ironwork and textiles.
5) Seasons – The latest boutique to open at Shelter Cove, Seasons offers women’s apparel, accessories, jewelry and other gift items. You’re likely to find a hot pair of pumps and a gorgeous necklace for your most stylish friends here.
6) Camp Hilton Head – Need a Hilton Head souvenir or casual apparel like T-shirts and hats? Camp Hilton Head at Shelter Cove says they are your vacation headquarters. Give your friends and family a little taste of Hilton Head with items from this unique boutique.
7) Christmas on the Harbour – Celebrate Christmas island style at this pretty little store at Shelter Cove. Not only do they have Department 56 houses, Christopher Radko blown Polish glass, Jim Shore Collectibles and nativities, you’ll also find plenty of one-of-a-kind Hilton Head-themed gift items. Doesn’t everyone need a Hilton Head ornament for their tree?
8) Palmetto Dunes Golf Pro Shops – Golfers will delight in any of our three Hilton Head golf pro shops. For Nike lovers, the Robert Trent Jones golf pro shop is one of only six Nike Concept Shops in the country. Find clubs, accessories, apparel and equipment for all your golf needs.
9) Palmetto Dunes Tennis Pro Shop – Palmetto Dunes also caters to tennis players with thousands passing through the resort every year. Our Hilton Head tennis pro shop offers the latest name-brand apparel and racquets, as well as Solarbat Leverage™ sunglasses, racquet covers, bags and other fun tennis gift items.
10) Hilton Head Outfitters – For the adventure lover, head to Hilton Head Outfitters for gift ideas. Inside you’ll find surfing, biking, paddleboarding and kayaking equipment and accessories, as well as T-shirts and sweatshirts, fishing gear, jewelry, sunglasses and more.
Did we cover everyone on your gift list this year?!
For more information about visiting Palmetto Dunes this holiday season, visit www.palmettodunes.com or call us at 866-650-4130.
The holiday season is upon us and we’ve got many fun events in the works for those of you considering a Hilton Head holiday getaway. Who can blame you for wanting to gather with your family on our beautiful island with the beach just outside your door?
Hilton Head Island offers all the traditional seasonal activities, as well, like visits with Santa, plentiful holiday shopping and delicious restaurants with seasonal offerings. Here’s just a few of the events you can look forward to throughout November and December:
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Shelter Cove!
Bring the little ones across the street from Palmetto Dunes to Shelter Cove Harbour on Friday, November 28, to see Santa as he makes a quick stop at the beach to find out what every little boy and girl would like under the tree this year.
Santa arrives at noon via a fire truck where he’ll be stationed at Neptune Statue for some great Instagram-worthy Christmas pics! The fun starts long before Santa arrives around 11 a.m. with holiday music, a moon bounce house, a kiddy train ride around the marina and special offers and sales from Shelter Cove merchants.
Santa will hang around until 2 p.m. before leaving our mild beach weather to head back to the snowy North Pole.
Shelter Cove Harbour offers outstanding Hilton Head shopping with a beautiful view. Stroll through our many boutiques and shops for one-of-a-kind items like local ornaments at Christmas on the Harbour and amazing artwork from Nash Gallery. The newest store to open at the Harbour is Seasons, which features women’s apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry and resort wear -- the perfect spot to find dazzling outfits for upcoming holiday parties!
Throughout the weekend after Thanksgiving and all during the holiday season, Shelter Cove stores will offer sales and specials to cover all of your holiday shopping needs.
It’s Oyster Roast Season!
As we like to say here in the Lowcountry, any month ending with an “r” is the perfect month for an oyster roast, but things really get in full swing in November and December. The Dunes House, open to resort guests and owners at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, hosts an annual oyster roast for our dear friends and family each November.
This year’s event will be Saturday, November 29 from 2 p.m.- 7 p.m. Come shuck some oysters and eat them your favorite way – with lemon, hot sauce or however you prefer! We’ll also have beer specials and a full menu, and did we mention the fantastic ocean view?!
Shelter Cove Harbour, Palmetto Dunes’ waterfront marina and entertainment district, offers many wonderful choices for dining and more than 150 waterfront tables! Choose from six restaurants, serving everything from Mediterranean to Mexican and Italian to seafood – all with fantastic views.
San Miguel’s Mexican Café
Gather the girls for an afternoon margarita or bring the family for some fish tacos at San Miguel’s. Enjoy a daily happy hour, plus live entertainment from 5:30-9:30 p.m. nightly.
Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill
Did you know you could see belly dancing on Hilton Head Island?! You can at Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill on Fridays throughout October and November from 7-9 p.m. They’re also currently offering a dinner special of $29.95/person that includes the soup of the day or side salad, the chef’s special entrée and a dessert.
La Fontana Waterfront Grill & Pizzeria
La Fontana is a great place to watch football while you’re visiting Hilton Head. The new Italian restaurant has six big screen TVs, an outdoor bar and plenty of drink specials.
At gourmet restaurant Bistro 17, be an early bird and get a special deal. Those who choose to dine with them between 5 and 6 p.m. get 15% off, plus a free glass of house wine.
Scott’s Fish Market
Scott’s Fish Market has a different deal every day. For example, on Tuesdays get a free bottle of wine with the purchase of two main course entrees, while on Thursdays join in their Lobster Love Fest! On Saturdays and Sundays, they host a special football lunch from 11:30 a.m. -3 p.m.
ELA’s Blu Water Grill
A favorite of celebrities, ELA’s waterfront restaurant has live entertainment Thursday-Sunday evenings and features a Sunday brunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., also with live music.
Now, you’ve got six different places to try, all offering some great fall dining deals and fantastic views! While you’re there, be sure to enjoy Shelter Cove’s outstanding shopping , as well as Music & Taste on the Harbour Thursdays through Oct. 23 for free live music, dancing and small bites from Shelter Cove restaurants.
Afraid Hilton Head Island prices are beyond your reach? Think again! Palmetto Dunes, especially in the off season, which includes the holidays, may be more economical than you thought.
From October 2014-March 2015, we have rates for a two-bedroom resort view villa starting at only $159/night! And unlike a traditional hotel room, you get a full villa with many of the amenities of home like a full kitchen and dining area and a washer/dryer, which makes packing so much easier. Our villas also have TVs, wireless Internet access and many have porches, balconies or decks to enjoy Lowcountry views, as well as gyms, pools and elevators. Additional bedrooms and ocean views are available for a higher starting rate.
Plus, when you book through Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, you get even more value for your nightly rate, including two free hours of tennis daily and 20% off resort dining and items at select retail outlets. Our guests also receive preferred rates and priority access to our three championship Hilton Head golf courses and golf lessons, Hilton Head tennis clinics, Hilton Head bike rentals, kayak rentals, fishing charters and more.
Got a pooch who wants to join you at the beach? No problem! We offer several Hilton Head pet-friendly accommodations during this season.
Always dreamed of spending the holidays watching the waves crash after your turkey dinner or opening gifts? These prices remain the same during Thanksgiving or the December holiday break, too – an amazing deal!
Fall and winter are wonderful seasons to visit the island with much milder temperatures than you’ll find up north and all the same fun Lowcountry activities available. Take a look at our recent blog on 7 Fall Activities to do on Hilton Head Island.
Let us know if we can get that $159/night rate locked in for you and your family! Give us a ring at 866-650-4130 and browse our Hilton Head vacation rentals to find the perfect vacation home for your visit.
Whether you’re looking for a casual burger or a more upscale meal, you’ll find it at Shelter Cove Harbour, which is home to a variety of Hilton Head restaurants all close to the marina and many offering a waterfront view.
Centrally located on the island across from Palmetto Dunes, Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina is a Mediterranean style shopping and entertainment district with activities for all ages from fishing and kayaking to jet packing and parasailing. When it comes to dining, patrons have a great selection from Italian to Mediterranean and beyond.
Shelter Cove Harbour restaurants include:
La Fontana Waterfront Grill & Pizza
Curb your craving for Italian at La Fontana whose owners and chefs hail directly from Naples, Italy. La Fontana serves authentic Italian cuisine and pizzas and features a patio and outdoor bar for enjoying the views.
Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill
Experience fresh Lebanese cuisine right in the midst of the Lowcountry at Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill, which opened in summer 2014. The restaurant is known for its healthy selections, which include steaks, lamb, seafood and vegetables, as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options. It also has an outdoor bar with marina views.
One of the most popular spots in Shelter Cove Harbour is San Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant. During the warmer months, this Hilton Head Mexican restaurant often has live music and it offers outdoor seating, as well. You’ll want to be sure to try a margarita at San Miguel’s and, of course, their fish and shrimp tacos!
Scott’s Fish Market
One of the most established restaurants at Shelter Cove Harbour is Scott’s Fish Market, which has been around for more than 20 years. Located marina-front right next to the iconic Neptune Statue, the restaurant has a large outdoor dining area and specializes in seafood, steaks and pastas.
ELA’S Blu Water Grille
A hot spot for celebrities visiting the island, ELA’s is a fine dining Hilton Head restaurant with a beautiful water view. Paula Abdul and Jane Seymour have each been spotted dining at the restaurant. ELA’s is known for its fresh catch seafood, steaks and wine selection.
Another gourmet establishment at Shelter Cove Harbour is French restaurant Bistro 17. Entrees at Bistro 17 include duck confit, rack of Colorado lamb, steak frites and wild salmon. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily and it has a newly expanded dining area overlooking the water.
Which Hilton Head restaurant is your favorite at Shelter Cove Harbour? Which would you like to try next?
The fall forecast for Hilton Head Island? AWESOME! We want you to come on down and enjoy the mild weather, Carolina sunshine and great activities that make autumn a wonderful time of year to visit Hilton Head Island.
Here are 7 of our favorite fall activities on Hilton Head Island and at Palmetto Dunes:
1) Music & Taste on the Harbour – Is there anything better than live music outdoors with a beautiful view? We put it all together at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, located just across Highway 278 from the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. Every Thursday, through October 23, Shelter Cove will feature live music from local bands along with light appetizers and drink specials from Shelter Cove restaurants. It’s a free event, so don’t miss the fun!
2) Fishing – It’s hard to top fall fishing on Hilton Head Island. The red fish are especially abundant, because they spawn, forming large schools, during fall. We have more than 6000 red fish, ranging in size from 1-40 pounds, stocked in our 11-mile inland lagoon, so you’re bound to catch one. If you’d like to have some “reel” fun, head out with Captain Trent Malphrus, who knows all the right spots, on one of our Hilton Head fishing charters!
3) Biking – With the milder temperatures, it’s a great time to hop on a bike and explore the 25 miles of paved bike paths within the resort or venture beyond to the more than 50 miles of paved paths across the island. Stop by Hilton Head Outfitters for the perfect bike rental, options for kids and all the bike accessories you’ll need.
4) Kayaking – Another great activity for all ages here at the resort is kayaking or canoeing. Enjoy a peaceful paddle in our lagoon system and take in the beautiful natural surroundings and golf course views. Hilton Head Outfitters rents kayaks and canoes, including singles and doubles for families who want to bring along young kids. You can also fish from our kayaks and canoes.
5) Beachcombing – Autumn can be the perfect season to search for shells. The beaches are not as crowded and the sun isn’t beating down on you quite so much. Keep your eye out for various shells, shark teeth and even the occasional Native American artifact! Here are more beachcombing tips for Hilton Head Island.
6) Golf – Challenge your best friends to a round – or several rounds – of golf at our three varied, championship Hilton Head golf courses. We offer lots of benefits for groups, such as stocked beer, logoed merchandise and access to our TripCaddie app that lets you track scores and even award trophies! Get a group golf quote here.
7) Tennis – You can work up a sweat playing tennis at one of our 25 courts in a hurry, but in fall you won’t be quite as soaked. Enjoy some of the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center fall tennis tournaments like the Banana Open Challenge, take a Hilton Head tennis clinic offered daily or try our Cardio Tennis class for a real calorie-burning workout!
What activity are you most looking forward to this fall on Hilton Head Island? If we can help you plan your fall Palmetto Dunes vacation, visit our new website at www.palmettodunes.com or give us a call at 866-650-4130.