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Shrimp Baiting Season Open and Yemassee Shrimp Festival

Just one week ago Hurricane Dorian made time stand still in the Lowcountry, as residents showed respect for the power of nature. Businesses, schools, and other daily endeavors were put on hold. The start of the hunting season was interrupted by the threat of flooding and crop damage, and the saltwater fishing season outlook was iffy. The fact that Dorian stayed about 40-miles off the coast of the Lowcountry and passed by helped save our natural resources from any worst-case scenarios. The annual bait shrimping season opening on September 6 signals a return to normal, and the Yemassee Shrimp Festival is a good way to celebrate.
S.C. Department of Natural Resources sets the season on shrimp baiting, which opens at noon on September 6 and runs through noon on November 5. The daily limit remains 48-quarts of head-on shrimp, which is measured best by filling a 48-quart cooler full of shrimp. Throwing a cast net over bait at ten stations that are marked with a PVC-pipe is the most common method of bait shrimping. The method of using only one-pole requires a slower tempo and more wait time between casts, but if the shrimp are running strong it can be very productive.
Participants must purchase a shrimp baiting license, and shrimp caught over bait cannot be sold. No more than ten poles can be used per license per day. Poles must be marked with reflective tape, may not exceed 1-inch in diameter and require stickers with a corresponding number to the license holder. All ten poles must be set out within a 100-yards, and they may not be placed within 50-yards of a dock. Cast nets must have a minimum mesh size of 1/2-inch square, and the heavier the weights, the better for getting down to cover the shrimp that are darting in every direction.
The 2019 Yemassee Shrimp Festival marks the 26th year this small coastal community brings folks together to eat shrimp. On Thursday, September 19 the Kids Night gets underway at 6 p.m. with a parade, treasure hunt, and music by DJ Cat. On Friday the shrimp grilling competition gets underway to determine who can channel the spirit of Forest Gump and come up with the best tasting shrimp recipe. Arts and Crafts vendors will be set up downtown, flanked by carnival rides and a dunk tank. The official opening ceremony is at 8:45 p.m. followed by a street dance with the Steel Rail Express band.
Saturday at 10 a.m. is the Yemassee Shrimp Festival parade, featuring small, medium and jumbo floats. A cornhole competition is set for 11 a.m. followed by a talent show, a pet show, and raffle drawing giveaways all day long. Officials are using the campfire shed as the setting for a foam party, where they fill the area full of foam and then anyone willing to wade though it could enter clean, but they will exit covered in suds. Which might be a great way to beat the heat? The 8 p.m. concert by The Carolina Soul Band finishes out the full day of shrimp festivities.
The second annual Hilton Head Shrimp Festival is also the weekend of September 20 – 21 and is held adjacent to the liberty oak at the Harbor Town Marina. The $35 daily admission includes participating craft beer vendors on Friday nights, and Saturday 20 local restaurants will prepare a shrimp dish. Live music from the Cranford Hollow band and face painting for kids are some of the extra activities planned. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Hilton Head Island.
Music lovers can plan to visit Palmetto Bluff on September 20 – 21 for the May River Music Festival featuring singer-songwriters from the South. The headliner on Friday night is Vince Foy and the Headliner on Saturday night is Ben Rector. Opening musical acts, food, fun and drinks are all included in the $135 admission fee, and lawn chairs and blankets are welcome. Looking out over the May River from the live oaks at Palmetto Bluff is always special, but adding a soundtrack of live music to accompany this natural beauty sounds like an invitation to get footloose.
Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (392 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com