12 13 www.htcinc.net | Spring 2017 Spring 2017 | www.htcinc.net Wacca Wache Marina, Murrells Inlet, SC. Photo provided by Austin Bond Photography. of seven boat landings: Red Bluff, Little Savannah Bluff, Big Savannah Bluff, Star Bluff, Horry’s Restaurant, Chris Anderson Memorial Ramp and Wortham’s Ferry. The Little Pee Dee River runs 116 miles from Red Bluff Lake on the North Carolina border to its confluence with the Great Pee Dee just below Little Pee Dee State Park. After a tough decade for fishing, the Little Pee Dee has bounced back in a sprightly manner, thanks to copious rain and the stocking of redbreast by DNR. The introduction of invasive flathead catfish, combined with 10 years of drought, slashed redbreast populations. Today, redbreast are plentiful — not to mention fun to catch and delicious, especially when cooked up fresh on the riverbank. During spawning season, the male redbreast glow bright red, in contrast to their iridescent black- green backs. Take some four-pound test line and a beetle spin lure or some live crickets, and paddle over toward shady spots where the water is cool. Then sit back and breathe in the fresh air while enjoying the cooing of the animals as your soundtrack. When a redbreast does bite, get ready for action. For a one-pound fish, he’ll give you a workout — not the showy test of stamina that bigger fish demand, but enough to make dinner taste that much better. SEE US FOR YOUR NEEDS: • GRASS & GARDEN SEED • FERTILIZER • MULCH • BIRD FEEDERS • BOOTS • PET SUPPLIES • PET FEED • CLOTHING • HORSE FEED & TACK 2200 N MAIN ST CONWAY, SC 29526 (843) 248-4344 CONWAYFEEDANDGARDEN.COM Cast an inland line to reel in our area’s natural bounty For many folks in these parts, recreation means escaping the condo developments, motoring out into the Atlantic in a charter boat, baiting a hook with pinfish or finger mullet, and casting in silence, awaiting the adventure of battle with a feisty red drum. Saltwater fishing means catches that feed a family — sea trout, flounder, king mackerel and the like. There’s nothing more fulfilling than wrestling a 20-pound grouper out of the vast ocean while your friends look on in awe. But if communing with nature is as much a part of the experience for you as catching fish, you can while away entire days on the scenic Waccamaw or Little Pee Dee rivers, enjoying the abundant flora and fauna as well as the casting. Both rivers are part of bottomland hardwood ecosystems characterized primarily by blackwater, so called because tannin in the bark of lowland trees colors the water like a tea bag. These rivers are perfect for the peaceful paddling of a canoe or johnboat, offering fishing enthusiasts the opportunity to bear silent witness to the bald cypress, water tupelo, water oak and willow oak draped in Spanish Moss that overhang the periphery of the river. Although the remoteness of the river can make you feel like you’ve meandered off the edge of the earth or back 100 years — especially on the Waccamaw inside the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) heritage preserve above Conway — you’ll be joined by a wide array of winged and swimming creatures. The brightly colored prothonotary warbler and wood duck are relatively common. Look overhead for birds of prey like barred owls and Mississippi kites. Otter, raccoon, alligators and numerous species of turtles regularly pop their heads above the water’s edge. The Waccamaw River Heritage Preserve starts at the North Carolina border and ends just below Horry County Highway 31 at Red Bluff. According to DNR, you can reach the preserve via one