If you are sitting around twiddling your thumbs trying to figure out something to do with your spare time, then you must be from another planet. 

It’s April, folks! This is turkey hunting time, redfish time, sheepshead time, and my personal favorite – wahoo time. It only seems appropriate that April begins with an “A” because for outdoorsmen like myself, I give April a solid A plus.

Though I haven’t been turkey hunting yet, I know that many of my friends were chasing these big birds when the season opened April 1. For years I was a turkey fanatic, hopping up long before the earliest rooster crows, then driving an hour or more to get to some turkey territory.  

And how do I know this? I did the same thing for darn near 20 years when I would go every single morning during turkey season. I guess age and my back have dampened my enthusiasm to go, but I still dream about a big gobbler strutting and drumming just a few feet from me. 

If you have never experienced this awesome spectacle, it ranks up there in my top five outdoor memories. If this piques your interest, the state has several game management areas not that far away that are loaded with gobblers. 

If you have never tried turkey hunting, it is fabulous. At times if can be frustrating, but if you stay real still, and know two or three calls, the odds are in your favor. 

April also means the water temperature is reaching that magic mark that triggers every fish out there to feed and feed and feed some more, trying to pack on pounds they lost during the winter months. In both fresh and saltwater, the feed is on. 

I don’t do that much freshwater fishing, but if I did, April is the month to go. There is one pond I know of that is loaded with small gizzard shad, and during April those shad go into a spawning ritual that drives the big bass crazy. It happens at first light, and the shad congregate by the thousands right up against the shoreline. 

The first time I saw it, I couldn’t believe the carnage as every big bass in that pond exploded under the shad. I found that a Rapala shallow-running Shad Rap mimicked the shad perfectly, and on a good morning I could catch a bass on just about every single cast. And talk about exploding on a lure, the bass will hit it so hard and fast it will scare you the first few times it happens.

We still have a while before the cobia show up, but in the Gulf Stream the water is already in the mid-70s. So what does that mean? That means it is time to get the heck out there! It’s a long run for sure, but boy is it worth it. The water there is such a brilliant blue it is hard to describe. 

And clear? You can watch a quarter flutter down nearly 30 feet before it disappears. What really gets my heart pumping is to be trolling big lures and big baits and watching them skip across the surface. Then, almost like magic a huge shape appears right behind one of the baits. 

If it is a mahi-mahi, its dorsal fin is standing straight up and it weaves back and forth with super quick movements as it eyes its prey. When it finally decides to eat, it changes from a vibrant blue to a kaleidoscope of yellows, oranges and greens. This is called being “lit up.” 

Most all the pelagic species out there possess the ability to change colors as quickly as if you had just flipped a switch. Marlin and sailfish do it, tuna do it and my favorite fish of all – wahoo – do it too.

Why am I so all fired up about wahoo? I guess it is their raw, savage power that attracts me. With a unique hinged jaw chock full of razor-sharp teeth, a wahoo doesn’t mess around when it decides to eat. Reaching speeds of 60 mph, there is no mistaking when one has hit the bait. 

They can dump tons of line off a reel in the blink of an eye, they will shake and thrash their head like a mad bulldog. And there isn’t a better eating fish in the ocean. 

With the S.C. Wahoo Series in full swing, with more than 150 boats entered, you surely won’t be alone out there on those days when the wind allows. Thus far, it seems like the wind has been honking for weeks but that isn’t unusual for March. 

One final note: I am considering another two-part “How to Fish the Lowcountry” seminar. I have yet to schedule exactly when and where, but once I figure out the logistics I’ll let you know. 

These are usually limited to 15 attendees, which allows me more one-on-one time, whether it be inshore, near shore or offshore fishing. For now, April is the beginning of multiple choices chasing either fins or feathers. A set of three turkey tags for residents is $5 ($100 for non-residents) and can be ordered online at SCDNR. 

Collins Doughtie, a 60-year resident of the Lowcountry, is a sportsman, graphic artist, and lover of nature. collinsdoughtie@icloud.com