The Central Savannah River Area is a prime location for watery activities, from casting fishing flies to paddling along the banks in canoes. Broadway Tackle outfits adventurers for such outings, renting out boats and stocking tackle boxes with fish-luring equipment. The shop's expert anglers can also repair pieces of tackle damaged by overzealous casts and attempts to catch fish sticks from a deep fryer. And its stock of apparel and accessories, which includes waders, sunglasses, and camouflage hats, equips intrepid explorers for any outdoor endeavor.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Drift boat fly-fishing trips and lessons
What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
My ability to teach newcomers the casting skills, fishing tactics, and fish-finding skills they need to be successful during their time on the water.
The words of praise from world-traveled fly fishers and newcomers alike thanking me for providing them with an interesting, unexpectedly exciting real fly-fishing tour in a part of the world where they might least expect it.
What?s your favorite part of your job?
Having the pleasure of meeting dedicated fly fishermen from here in South Carolina and around the world, and being able to share the unique resource of the three rivers of Columbia, South Carolina, with them. [The three rivers] are part of the Santee-Cooper river system, which was the first in the world in which striped bass successfully reproduced in a landlocked setting without access to the ocean.
I really enjoy watching newcomers hook and land their first fish using the training and practice they have had with me. I love being able to be an advocate for our rivers and for their protection and conservation. It is especially rewarding for me when young clients on parent-child trips take an interest in the insects and other organisms present in the rivers that our fish depend on for food and grasp the importance of keeping the rivers clean for their benefit and the continued health of our fish populations and other wildlife.
When it comes to fly-tying lessons, my favorite part is the spark of recognition on a student's face when they realize that they are able to do it, and the pride they take in producing a cool-looking, buggy representation of a living fish food. I like that parents who may have been skeptical about this activity for their children and their ability to maintain focus often realize just how engrossing the whole process of tying a fly can be for a child. A few years ago, I tied flies at a boat show in New York. When I do these events, I will often sit people down and have them tie a simple fly. Two older gentlemen at the booth next to ours commented on how many kids were interested in trying it. They couldn't believe that the Nintendo Generation was so interested in something so hands-on and non-digital.
Have you ever been a patron of your own business? If so, what was the most enjoyable part?
I was lucky enough to have my second guide row the drift boat down the river for me a few times. The most enjoyable part was that I could fish and did not have to row. It was a special feeling being given the royal treatment and having someone else position the boat perfectly, allowing me to cast to the best spots. It gave me a better appreciation of what I provide my clients when we're on the water.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
I am a full-time teacher, and in my tying lessons, I provide individual help to make sure students leave with the basic skills to continue tying flies of their own. A lesson usually includes a digital demonstration of tying the fly we are working on in that class, followed by hands-on, step-by-step [instruction]. Once the first fly is complete, we will tie another together, and as students feel ready, they can move ahead at their own speed, tying more flies of the same style in whatever color they like. Students usually end up tying two to four flies in a typical two-hour class, and I also try to make sure I tie enough so that each student gets one to take home as a model. Students who bring their own thumb drive can also take the digital presentation with them so that they have the step-by-step instructions to work from at home.
When it comes to catching fish, Chad Smith is more than well equipped. After all, the professional angler captains a 20-foot pontoon boat decked out with advanced Humminbird mapping and color sonar systems. Still, all of his fancy gadgets pale in comparison to his memory. Having fished in the area for much of his life, he's familiar with the best spots to hook multiple species, including striper, spotted bass, crappie. His passion, though, is trophy catfish, which led him to a record catch weighing 61.33 pounds.
On five- to eight-hour trips on Lake Oconee, Chad helps total novices and seasoned fishers alike haul in large catches. If clients aim to net a catfish, he even guarantee their success. Those who don't hook one of the bottom dwellers on their current excursion can give it a second shot on another trip within a year, free of charge. He also helps established fishers set up their own sonar equipment, meeting them on the water for a test run and a lesson on how to distinguish fish schools from fish retirement homes.
Sixty-three pounds. That’s the state record weight of the heaviest fish ever reeled in from the waters of Fish Tales Guide Service’s chartered fishing trips. Angler Wayne White and his team of experienced guides take groups onto Lake Hartwell to capture stripers, largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. “I’d be surprised if anybody knows more about Lake Hartwell and catching striper then Wayne White,” wrote one participant after a day on the water.
Groups depart from Portman Marina and climb into boats outfitted with advanced electronics and fishing equipment. Guides bring along all the necessary supplies, including tackle, bait, and a cheering section that rejoices when anyone makes a catch. Participants are encouraged to bring snacks, drinks, and a cooler large enough to take home the day’s catch.
On the shores of Lake Hartwell, Harbor Light Marina's fleet of 16 new boats waits to cut through the water. Strictly maintained fishing boats, deck boats, and pontoons ferry fishermen or parties into the lake's middle or around its 1,000-mile shoreline, acting as suitable bases for catching striped bass or honing a cannonball. Icons of leisure, the pontoons vary in size to fit each guest's needs, the largest checking in at 28 feet—long enough to fit 16 passengers or set up an eye chart to test the captain’s vision. And all the vessels park in the marina's slips, alongside spaces rented out to other local aquanauts.