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.
With Palmetto Dunes’ famous oceanfront Dunes House restaurant opening later this month, we wanted to get you excited for your chance to eat at this classic beach location on Hilton Head Island. Here are 8 reasons you don’t want to miss a visit to the Dunes House on your Hilton Head vacation:
Have we convinced you that the Dunes House should be your first stop when you arrive on Hilton Head Island? Be sure to check out our resort calendar for upcoming events.
For more information about booking your Hilton Head vacation, visit www.palmettodunes.com or call 866-650-4130.
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort was recently the centerpiece of a Golfing World video during which on-air reporter Cara Robinson explores Hilton Head Island, checking out much of what the area has to offer, both on and off the golf course.
Cara’s visit includes hands-on seafood preparation instruction from Andy Love, executive chef at the Old Oyster Factory, as well as enjoying a massage at the Westin Resort’s Heavenly Spa.
But the video’s highlight comes in the tall, lanky form of Palmetto Dunes’ always-entertaining Golf Professional Clark Sinclair, who steals the show during his lengthy segment with Ms. Robinson.
Filmed while the duo tackled the beautiful, challenging 13th hole on the Robert Trent Jones Course, Sinclair mentioned the numerous renowned golf course architects represented locally, not only at Palmetto Dunes — which features designs from not only the great Trent Jones, but also George Fazio and living legend Arthur Hills — but around Hilton Head Island as well.
Ms. Robinson asked Sinclair which of the three Palmetto Dunes layouts was most suitable to beginning golfers. Sinclair told her that each of the three Palmetto Dunes layouts was player-friendly IF the golfer selected the proper tee box from which to play.
“The Palmetto Dunes golf courses are all amenable to everyone, depending on which tees you play,” Sinclair said. “Some (golfers) consider the Hills the most challenging of the layouts for beginners, but it is still a short course. The other two courses are good for everyone depending on which tees you select.”
“They are all in good shape as you can see,” Sinclair added. “They are a lot of fun for everyone.”
Near the end of his segment, Clark provides Cara a nice, experienced read on her putt, allowing the show’s host to secure a par on the hole.
“Welcome to Palmetto Dunes,” says the smooth Sinclair.
“I want to play with you more often,” Cara replies with a laugh, “if I get a par on every hole.”
If your family is happily making plans in the winter cold for your warm weather spring break or summer escape to Hilton Head Island, you’re probably wondering what there is to do for each member of the family.
While all ages will find many activities to float their boat, we’re taking a look at teens in this post. Here are some activities that even the finickiest of teen will find worthy.
Stand up Paddleboarding
Stand-up paddleboarding, also known as SUP, will appeal to your nature-loving, adventuresome teen. This fastest growing watersport combines surfing with kayaking. You stand on a specially-designed paddleboard, similar to a surfboard, and use a paddle to cruise through a body of water, such as a harbor or the ocean. It’s a whole body workout, using your core for balance, your arms for paddling and more.
Got a teen who loves bungee jumping or other adrenaline-rushing activities? Let them try jetpacking over Broad Creek at Shelter Cove Harbour, the resort’s waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment district complete with a marina. This will make an awesome photo to post on Instagram and share with all of their friends. And what a view…!
Daring teens can try their hand at shark fishing on one of our night shark fishing excursions if you’re planning to visit during the summer months. May through August you can head out on the high seas for a three-hour shark fishing charter to try and reel in Jaws -- or even just a hammerhead or tiger shark. There’s nothing like the feeling of battling one of nature’s most amazing creatures!
Be a Beach Bum
Some teens may prefer to “hang out” more than anything else. Good news! We’ve got plenty of teen-friendly places to do so. They can relax by the pool at your Hilton Head vacation rental or head to our 3 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach for a swim, to lay in the sun or to take a casual stroll. They’ll also love our beachfront Dunes House restaurant, which is great for a quick bite to eat and meeting new friends.
Let teens bring their GoPro along and see how many different adventures they can record. Try diving into the pool or ocean if they’ve got a waterproof GoPro, heading out on their Hilton Head bike rental, paddleboarding or even surfing during the summer months. What a fun way to showcase their Hilton Head vacation for years to come!
What do your teens like to do when you visit Palmetto Dunes?
For more information about booking your Spring Break or summer Hilton Head Island getaway, visit www.palmettodunes.com or call us at 866-650-4130.
Did you get engaged over the holidays? Then you’re embarking on the exciting wedding planning process. Here at Palmetto Dunes, we host many Hilton Head beach weddings every year and love to help our brides and grooms plan for their special day.
We’ve compiled some really fun and creative beach wedding ideas we’ve come across on Pinterest to help inspire you as you begin planning your nuptials.
TrendHunter shares these adorable beach-themed cookies, which can be served at a beach wedding, bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. We absolutely love the tiny flip-flops next to the beach waves -- all created with icing!
Another cute and probably easier-to-make dessert to serve at your beach wedding are these seashell cupcakes. Simply use blue icing topped with a small seashell.
Here’s a clever photo you can ask your wedding photographer to shoot on the big day. The bride and groom literally “make their mark” in the sand with their handprints to capture on camera. For added fun, place your wedding ring on the wedding fingerprint in the sand -- just don’t lose them!
Invite your guests “kick off their heels” and don some sand-appropriate footwear in the form of flip-flops with this cute basket. Place near the dance floor or in front of the aisle.
Mason Jar Decor
This idea comes from a wedding we hosted at the oceanfront Dunes House. This simple mason jar with wedding flowers hangs from a simple garden hook at the entrance to the ceremony. Simple, but elegant!
Be sure to follow our Hilton Head Weddings board on Pinterest for even more great beach wedding ideas.
For help planning your Hilton Head beach wedding, visit us at PalmettoDunes.com or give us a call at 866-650-4130.
The year 2014 has been a great one for Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort socially! We crossed over 15,000 friends on Facebook, tweeted with our 4000+ followers on Twitter and joined both Pinterest and Instagram to share all of our beautiful Hilton Head Island pictures.
Here at the end of the year, we thought we’d recap some of our most popular postings across various social media outlets.
On Twitter, we found that our followers would much rather be at Palmetto Dunes than whatever they were doing. This simple tweet that asked our followers to RT if they’d rather be here had the most retweets and interaction.
You guys were loving our golf quotes on Pinterest throughout 2014. This quote from Ben Hogan took off like wildfire and is holding at 628 repins and more than 100 likes to date. One woman even shared it with her husband, noting “this one’s for you dear.” :-)
Fun in the Sun Blog
On the Palmetto Dunes blog, apparently everyone was looking for something to do New Year’s Eve on Hilton Head Island because our post on 2014 New Year’s Eve activities was far and above the most read post of the year. In second was our post with advice on how to become the Macgyver of golf trips.
Our Facebook friends were ready to melt the snow and head straight down to Hilton Head Island in the midst of winter’s fury. This image asking, “Who needs snowflakes when you have seashells?” has more than 1000 likes and 400 shares and is holding strong.
On YouTube, this heart-warming video of a soldier surprising his family and wife undergoing chemotherapy with his return during Shannon Tanner’s HarbourFest show last summer at Shelter Cove Harbour was the most viewed of the year. Almost 1000 people have watched this uplifting reunion.
Our new Instagram account captured the attention of beach lovers galore with our “Sandy Toes Selfie” contest and fun photos of activities throughout the resort. PalmettoDunesSC’s followers simply loved this photo of a perfect beach day at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort.
Are you on social media? Be sure to follow us at all of the links below!
As you countdown to the New Year and celebrate with a glass of bubbly, you might as well be doing so seaside! Come spend New Year Eve with us here at Palmetto Dunes and enjoy a rolicking night of fun at one of the below celebrations or hang out in your villa or home rental for a more private party.
Be sure to take advantage of our special winter rates, starting at just $159 per night for a two-bedroom villa through February, including New Year’s Eve! Plus, if you book by Dec. 26 for a stay through Jan. 31, 2015, using code HAPPYNEWYEAR, you’ll receive 15% off 3-night stays and a $50 resort gift card, plus discounts on tee times, bike/kayak/canoe rentals and two hours of complimentary tennis court time daily.
The beachfront Omni Hotel inside the resort will be hosting a New Year’s Eve party. Beginning at 6 p.m., enjoy a special four-course dinner, music and dancing at the hotel’s XO Lounge. David Bohn, a 12-string acoustic guitarist who plays favorites from the 60' and 70's, will entertain during dinner followed by Candace Woodson, an island favorite who engages the crowd and fills up the dance floor with a unique blend of R & B, Motown, pop and requests. XO lounge is a cosmopolitan night spot just steps from the ocean, voted best Hotel Bar on the island by Hilton Head Monthly readers. The cost for the event is $85/person with dinner.
Head across the road to Shelter Cove Harbour for a New Year’s Eve celebration at ELA’s Blu Water Grille, a favorite of celebrities when they visit the island. This beautiful restaurant with fantastic marina views will have dinner specials, live music, dancing, a balloon drop and a champagne toast at midnight. Dinner seatings will be at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. with live music from the John Wasem Duo. The pre fixe menu includes appetizers, an entree and a dessert with entree choices of seared Branzino, sweet & bubbly surf and turf, or a veal chop.
Give us a call at 866-650-4130 or visit www.palmettodunes.com to reserve your Hilton Head Island stay for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. We can’t think of a better way to start off 2015!
When you're planning your annual beach trip, you want everything to go just perfectly so you'll have wonderful family memories for years to come. But with kids of different ages and sometimes grandparents along for the trip, too the planning part can be slightly challenging.
Here are 8 secrets from the staff at Palmetto Dunes for planning the perfect family beach vacation:
1) Choose a villa or home rental
Over and over we hear from families who stay at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort how much they love staying in our Hilton Head vacation rentals and homes. Families can spread out instead of being cramped in a hotel room and enjoy some down time between activities. Plus, you have access to a full kitchen and a washer and dryer, which makes packing so much easier.
2) Reserve early
Be sure to reserve your Hilton Head beach vacation as soon as you can to ensure you get your first choice of Hilton Head vacation rentals, as well as the best rates. That also goes for our Hilton Head bike rentals, kayak rentals, tee times at our three championship Hilton Head golf courses and more, especially during busier seasons.
3) Sign up for our emails
Looking for a deal? You're sure to find the best ones if you subscribe to our emails. We regularly share inside tips and savings just for our past guests and subscribers. You'll be the first to know about the latest offers and events at the resort.
4) Check the events calendar
Before you arrive – or even plan your vacation – check to see what's going on at the resort on our events calendar. We have activities year-round, but if you have a specific event or activities for a certain age group in mind, you can plan your visit around that schedule. During summer, enjoy HarbourFest at Shelter Cove, and during spring and fall, there's Music & Taste on the Harbour. We also regularly host golf and tennis clinics, summer surfing lessons, live music at the oceanfront Dunes House restaurantand more.
5) Don't over-schedule
When you come to Hilton Head Island, there's so much to do, you can wear yourself out! We highly recommend choosing just one main activity per day, such as golf, tennis, a nature cruise or kayaking, and allowing plenty of time for relaxing at your vacation home or villa. That's what makes it a vacation!
6) Get bikes
Hilton Head Island is the perfect place to ride your Hilton Head bike rentals. With 50 miles of paved paths to explore, there's always somewhere new to go. You'll be happy you're not sitting in traffic, and you'll get a firsthand view of our beautiful scenery. Plus, you're getting exercise, too! Safely ride to the Dunes House, the General Store, the Tennis Center or any of our 3 golf courses within Palmetto Dunes. You can also pedal through our safe passageway under the highway to Shelter Cove Harbour.
7) Learn a new skill
Why not come back from vacation with a new skill? Palmetto Dunes offers ample opportunity for learning a new skill or sport. Take a class at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, hone your golf skills at our three varied golf courses, each of which has been named the South Carolina course of the year, or take a lesson at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center. Learn to surf during the summer with our Hilton Head surfing lessons or take a Hilton Head fishing charter and learn how to fish from the Lowcountry experts. Crabbing is another great activity for all ages!
8) Go grocery shopping
Since you're staying in a vacation home or villa, you have access to a full kitchen, and it's incredibly handy to be able to pop back for a snack or enjoy breakfast in the villa before you head out for the day. Head to the new Kroger or Whole Foods close by upon your arrival or use a Hilton Head grocery shopping service like Hopper Shopper or Grocery Run and have your rental stocked before you even arrive!
What are your tips for a great beach vacation? We want to hear them!
For more information about booking your family beach vacation at Palmetto Dunes, visit www.palmettodunes.com or give us a call at 866-650-4130.
What’s your favorite resort in the south? We hope it’s Palmetto Dunes! It seems that it is for many of you, as Conde Nast Traveler just announced we landed at No. 13 on their Reader’s Choice Top 25 Resorts in the South. South Carolina dominated the list with seven resorts, including us, represented.
For the Reader’s Choice Awards, Conde Nast Traveler asked nearly 77,000 readers to vote on their favorite cities, hotels, resorts and cruise lines to help inspire others about the best places to travel around the world.
To determine the rankings for the awards, which began back in 1988, the magazine hires a research firm to tabulate the results. In order to be eligible for an award, a candidate must receive a minimum number of responses.
Readers are asked to judge each individual candidate on a set of criteria relevant to their category, based on a standard five-point scale: excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. The mean average determines the final score and thus ranking.
Why is Palmetto Dunes a top U.S. resort? Let us count the ways! Golf, tennis, 3 miles of beach, a beautiful inland lagoon system, shopping, dining, fishing, kayaking, bike riding and the list goes on…
Why do you think Palmetto Dunes is one of the best resorts in the south?
If you’ve got some folks in your family who simply adore Hilton Head, why not give them a little taste of the island as their holiday gift? We’ve got 5 ideas for the Hilton Head lovers in your life:
1) Golf flag – For the golfers in your family, why not give them a fun reminder of their rounds at Palmetto Dunes? Come shop in one of our Hilton Head golf pro shops for a flag with the name of one of our golf courses or we’re happy to ship it to you. Why not reserve them a future golf round, as well?
2) Beach-themed ornament – Christmas tree ornaments can be fun reminders of people and places near and dear to your heart. That’s why you should have an ornament representing Hilton Head on your tree. The Palmetto Dunes General Store always has some cute ones in stock – be it Santa riding an alligator or climbing a palm tree J.
3) Hilton Head vacation – Want to see the family go bananas on Christmas morning? Let them unwrap a gift that tells them they’ll be vacationing to Hilton Head Island next spring or summer! Go ahead and book your Hilton Head vacation home and include a few pictures for them to ogle along with a sample itinerary of biking, golfing, playing tennis, kayaking, fishing and more!
4) Palmetto Dunes logoed gear – Our new online store makes it easy to order something and have it sent direct to you without ever having to step outside the door. Choose from a variety of apparel all printed with the Palmetto Dunes logo, including fleece jackets, hats, polos and even robes.
5) Palmetto Dunes Gift Card – For the people you just don’t know what to get, why not a Palmetto Dunes gift card? They can use it at any-resort owned property for goods and services, such as accommodations for vacation rentals, meals at the Dunes House or Big Jim’s, rounds of golf, tennis lessons, bike rentals or even surfing lessons next summer! Buy online.
Which of these Hilton Head Island gifts would you like the most this holiday season? Do you think your family would enjoy receiving them?
If we can help you plan your Hilton Head vacation or ship gift items direct to your doorstep, give us a call at 866-650-4130.