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 is first and foremost a family resort. Our resort was developed by a family and, our staff, who is like family, works hard to insure that you feel a part of the Palmetto Dunes family during your stay. We are passionate about Hilton Head Island and our guests’ experience is of utmost importance. We could not be more proud to announce that our guests have rewarded us by crowning us with accolades from Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler!
This month, Travel + Leisure selected us as a Top 500 World’s Best Hotels. We were the only Hilton Head Island resort included! The publication asks readers to vote on their favorite hotels around the globe and you voted for us! Thanks so much for putting us in such great company.
In the November 2014 issue of Conde Nast Traveler, the magazine named Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort as one of the Top 25 Resorts in the South. In fact, we came in pretty high at No. 13. This award is also voted on by readers, so we greatly appreciate your support and recognition.
Hilton Head Island overall has received some new accolades lately, as well. Fodor’s Travel named Hilton Head Island a Top 15 U.S. Destination on the Rise and Yahoo Travel picked us as one of America’s Buzziest Beach Towns. We also loved that The Travel Channel said we were one of the 22 Best U.S. Islands!
Thank you so much for your continued support. We could not be happier that you love Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort just as much as we do!
What is your favorite thing about Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort?
For more information about booking your Hilton Head vacation and Palmetto Dunes getaway, visit www.palmettodunes.com or call 866-650-4130.
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’ve got an exciting new “green” way to get around all three of our Hilton Head golf courses this spring: the golf bike! Our staff just returned from the PGA Golf Show in Orlando in February where they got a firsthand look at the bike, which will be available at Palmetto Dunes in 2015.
The golf bike is a bike specially designed to be used on the golf course with minimal impact to the course (in fact, less impact than a cart). It’s has a “step through” frame to make it easy to get on and off quickly and has places to hold 12 clubs, along with some supplies. The club holder is integrated into the frame so it’s not difficult to balance the bike and the “Turfstand” makes sure your bike stands up wherever it is -- fairway, rough or cart path. The golf bike also features a gel seat and riser handlebar that puts the rider in an upright and natural position for maximum comfort.
When it comes to course etiquette when using this cool new golf bike, just as on carts, stay on the cart paths when possible and enter the fairways at 90 degrees. Don’t ride up onto greens or on the tee boxes.
If you play a round using a golf bike, it averages about an hour and 15 minutes to complete 9 holes, much faster than walking and with the best fitness benefits. Of course, you can enjoy a more relaxed pace of play or ride your bike even faster if you desire.
Who wants to rent a golf bike on their spring round of golf at Palmetto Dunes?! We’re excited to get these new items in and hope you are too!
See you on the greens!
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.”
We herald the arrival of spring here on Hilton Head Island. From our brightly-colored bushy azaleas to warmer days and plentiful sunshine, spring is a wonderful time of year in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. At Palmetto Dunes, spring also means it’s time for tennis season to get into full swing! From Hilton Head tennis tournaments to happy hours and special tennis clinics, here’s what you tennis fans can look forward to this spring at the resort: Luck of the Irish Tennis Tournament, March 6-8 This annual tournament, presented by Giuseppi’s Pizza and Pasta, is for men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Team Tennis Challenge, May 15-17 In team tennis format, this tournament will be for men’s and women’s singles, doubles and combo mixed. Welcome Exhibition and Happy Hour, Mondays 5:30 p.m. Starting in March, each week we welcome our new guests to the resort with this super fun happy hour. Not only will you get to enjoy head tennis pro Brian Kiggans’ joke of the week, but he and other pros will perform an exhibition on the court while you enjoy cocktails from the stands. Demo Days, Tuesdays, 4 p.m. We’re always getting the latest and greatest gear at our Hilton Head tennis pro shop, and every week, once spring arrives, we give you the opportunity to not only take a look, but try the gear for yourself. Come give our racquets and more a try at this weekly demonstration. More Options for Juniors Come springtime, we add to our selection of available junior clinics. You’ll find 22 more offerings on the weekly schedule plus a weekly round robin. Cardio Tennis, Tues, Wed, Thurs 8-9 a.m. Regular tennis not getting your heart rate up enough? Try cardio tennis on Hilton Head! This heart-pumping workout is available March through October for all skill levels. Burn and learn set to music. We’ll provide the heart monitors. Grand Slam Clinic, Daily, 8-9:30 a.m. This special clinic comes back when spring arrives, as well. Designed for intermediate to advanced players, it focuses on the fundamentals of stroke production, footwork and strategy. Count on fast-paced drills and a ball machine workout. View the complete Hilton Head tennis lessons and clinics schedule to find a program that fits your skill level. Do you love tennis in the springtime? Tell us why! Consider our Hilton Head tennis vacation packages that combine accommodations, tennis court time and instruction for your spring visit to Palmetto Dunes. Give us a call at 866-650-4130 to plan your vacation now.
We herald the arrival of spring here on Hilton Head Island. From our brightly-colored bushy azaleas to warmer days and plentiful sunshine, spring is a wonderful time of year in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.
At Palmetto Dunes, spring also means it’s time for tennis season to get into full swing! From Hilton Head tennis tournaments to happy hours and special tennis clinics, here’s what you tennis fans can look forward to this spring at the resort:
Luck of the Irish Tennis Tournament, March 6-8
This annual tournament, presented by Giuseppi’s Pizza and Pasta, is for men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Team Tennis Challenge, May 15-17
In team tennis format, this tournament will be for men’s and women’s singles, doubles and combo mixed.
Welcome Exhibition and Happy Hour, Mondays 5:30 p.m.
Starting in March, each week we welcome our new guests to the resort with this super fun happy hour. Not only will you get to enjoy head tennis pro Brian Kiggans’ joke of the week, but he and other pros will perform an exhibition on the court while you enjoy cocktails from the stands.
Demo Days, Tuesdays, 4 p.m.
We’re always getting the latest and greatest gear at our Hilton Head tennis pro shop, and every week, once spring arrives, we give you the opportunity to not only take a look, but try the gear for yourself. Come give our racquets and more a try at this weekly demonstration.
More Options for Juniors
Come springtime, we add to our selection of available junior clinics. You’ll find 22 more offerings on the weekly schedule plus a weekly round robin.
Cardio Tennis, Tues, Wed, Thurs 8-9 a.m.
Regular tennis not getting your heart rate up enough? Try cardio tennis on Hilton Head! This heart-pumping workout is available March through October for all skill levels. Burn and learn set to music. We’ll provide the heart monitors.
Grand Slam Clinic, Daily, 8-9:30 a.m.
This special clinic comes back when spring arrives, as well. Designed for intermediate to advanced players, it focuses on the fundamentals of stroke production, footwork and strategy. Count on fast-paced drills and a ball machine workout.
View the complete Hilton Head tennis lessons and clinics schedule to find a program that fits your skill level.
Do you love tennis in the springtime? Tell us why!
Consider our Hilton Head tennis vacation packages that combine accommodations, tennis court time and instruction for your spring visit to Palmetto Dunes. Give us a call at 866-650-4130 to plan your vacation now.
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’ve already outlined the many reasons you should consider staying in a vacation rental on your Hilton Head vacation from access to a washer/dryer and kitchen to privacy and space to spread out.
To make your stay in a Hilton Head vacation rental even more awesome, here are 7 services you can take advantage of that you may not know about:
Bike Rentals - You probably knew you could get your Hilton Head bike rentals from Hilton Head Outfitters, but did you know they deliver them right to your door? Forget about carting your own bikes on a rack down to the island or walking over to the shop to pick up your rentals. Hilton Head Outfitters, located just inside Palmetto Dunes, will leave your bikes at your vacation rental before you arrive and then pick them up in the same spot when you’re done. Simple as can be!
Dunes Buggy - If you’re visiting Palmetto Dunes April through September, you can hop a ride around the resort or Shelter Cove Harbour on the Dunes Buggy. This free shuttle service is available first-come first-served, though it generally arrives within 10 minutes.
Catering - Want to have a get-together while you’re vacationing on the island and don’t feel like doing the cooking? Our very own catering service Dunes Catering can help. Whether you’re looking for plated meals, a casual BBQ or an oyster roast, they’ll prepare it and clean it up so you can focus on enjoying your party.
Take out from Big Jim’s Restaurant - If you’re not throwing a party, but just don’t feel like making dinner and want a night in, order take-out from Big Jim’s restaurant at the Robert Trent Jones golf course at eat in your villa’s dining area. The kid-friendly menu features everything from burgers and BBQ to salads and seafood.
Grocery Delivery - Don’t feel like hitting the Kroger as soon as you arrive? Services like Cyber Valet Grocery in Bluffton will delivery your selection of groceries direct to the door of your vacation home or villa. Your family can relax and unwind while someone else does the grocery shopping!
Babysitting - Want to have an adults night out but make sure the kids are entertained and safe? Try Hilton Head Nannies, which offers vacation babysitters and in-room nannies and sitters.
Pet Boarding - If you’re not staying in one of our pet-friendly rentals, you may want to board your pet while you’re visiting the island. There are a variety of options including Evergreen Pet Lodge, Southpaw Pet Resort and All About Pets. If you need someone to stay with your pet in one of our pet-friendly villas, HIlton Head Nannies also offers in-room pet sitting!
For more information about booking your very own Hilton Head vacation rental at Palmetto Dunes, 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!