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.
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.”
While any beach is romantic, we think there’s something extra special here on the South Carolina coast of Hilton Head Island when it comes to lighting a spark, especially here within our beautiful beach resort. We’ve collected our top 10 places to steal a smooch on your next visit to Palmetto Dunes:
Robert Trent Jones Course No. 10 - With its fantastic ocean views this is a great place to pucker up, especially if you or your sweetheart beat par! This gorgeous spot is also a popular location to get engaged and say I do!
Neptune Statue - An iconic landmark on Hilton Head Island, we highly recommend getting a selfie of the pair of you in a liplock while this famous figurative sundial stands in the background.
In a canoe - Head out on our peaceful 11-mile inland lagoon system for some precious alone time together by renting a canoe from Hilton Head Outfitters. Marvel at the natural beauty of the lowcountry and lean in for a kiss just when it couldn’t get any quieter.
On a sunset dinner cruise - Hop aboard a romantic Hilton Head sunset dinner cruise leaving from Shelter Cove Harbour and enjoy a gourmet meal as the sun sets over the marsh. That’s sure to start some loving feelings!
Ocean view villa - Rent one of our Hilton Head ocean view villas and prepare a romantic dinner for two (Dunes Catering can assist if you need a little help in this department). Then step out on to the balcony as the winds sweeps through your hair to make your move!
At the beach - It’s tough to beat kissing at the beach with the sound of the ocean waves crashing in the background. Kick off your shoes and head for a barefoot walk down our 3-mile stretch of beach. Why not make it a game and kiss every time you see a dolphin?! Collect some shells as mementos of your romantic vacation.
On the tennis court - Why not show your “love” during a tennis match? We recommend leaning in over the net at one of our 26 Hilton Head tennis courts. Try a night game with our lighted courts to kick up the romance level.
Over dinner at the Dunes House - Is there a more romantic place to dine than overlooking the beach? Share a shrimp cocktail, some fish tacos and cheer your relationship over some frozen drinks.
Dinner with a harbour view - Second only to the beach in romantic dinner options is a view of the harbour at Shelter Cove. Choose from several gourmet restaurants with a water view at Shelter Cove Harbour like ELA’s Blu Water Grille and Bistro 17.
On a bike for two - Get some fresh air with your amour by renting a tandem bike from Hilton Head Outfitters. You’ll have to work together as you pedal throughout the resort as you cruise beneath palm trees and sweeping live oaks with hanging moss.
Have you stolen a smooch on the island? Got any secret spots?
To plan a romantic getaway to Hilton Head Island, consider our romance packages that combine accommodations, activities and spa services. Want to customize a vacation just for you and your sweetheart? Give us a call at 866-650-4130 and we’ll get it all set up!
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!
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.
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!
It’s almost the New Year, the time when everyone sets resolutions, many of which are health or fitness related. While there’s plenty of calorie-burning activities you can do on Hilton Head Island outside of the gym from running on the beach to kayaking our 11-mile lagoon to surfing the waves, we’ve put together 5 cool apps that can help you meet your more traditional fitness resolutions when you vacation with us.
For more information about booking your Hilton Head vacation at Palmetto Dunes, visit us at www.palmettodunes.com or call 866-650-4130.
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.
Over the last month, we had several travel bloggers visit the resort with their families and they blew up social media with all the fun they had! We wanted to share a recap of their families’ activities and outings to give you an idea of what you and your family can enjoy the next time you’re on the island.
For this post, we wanted to share the adventures of Malise Terrell with Carolina Mama and her family of four, including two teenage boys, who visited in early November. They were pleased to find weather warm enough (68 degrees!) for several dips in the ocean.
The Terrells enjoy tennis, so they decided that some evening tennis court time would be just what they needed after their drive from North Carolina. Their family played after dark on our lighted courts, which just require a token from the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center to operate.
They also headed to the beach with some fishing rental gear from Hilton Head Outfitters to see what they could reel in. No catches this time, but they enjoyed the view and the time together!
Biking was a top activity for the family, using Hilton Head bike rentals also from Hilton Head Outfitters, which were waiting for them when they arrived at their vacation villa. The crew took a ride down the beach and up to the beachfront Dunes House, as well as explored the resort.
The Terrell family loved their Hilton Head vacation rental and Mom was especially fond of her comfy chair and quiet spot for reading, as well as the gorgeous master bath at newly-renovated 714 Barrington Park just a short walk from the beach.
Of course, our favorite picture had to be the boys holding light sabers on the beach, perfect timing with all the talk of the new Star Wars trailer and very controversial new light saber!
Follow Malise on Instagram to see all of her pics and call us at 866-650-4130 to book your own family getaway to Palmetto Dunes!