Karen Doughtie on the boat after she managed to land the sneaky sheepshead. COLLINS DOUGHTIE

Without offending either gender, the phrase “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” is oh, so true. Don’t get me wrong, because I absolutely love women. Oops, maybe that came out wrong – especially if my wife, Karen, reads this column.

I’ll attempt to clean up that rather brazen admission a bit since I meant to say, “I love women when I take them fishing.” Close one, huh?

Yes, men and women folk are very different in so many ways. For me, one of the biggest everyday differences is how the two sexes talk on the phone. Seeing as how I do all the cooking in my house, that hour and a half I spend preparing dinner is when Karen takes the time to call one of her sisters or a close friend.

Amazingly when I ring the dinner bell, she answers that she will be right there – that is, after saying a lengthy goodbye to whomever she is talking to.

As a typical male, I cannot fathom talking to anyone – and I mean anyone – for an hour and 45 minutes. Even when talking to my son or best friend, my calls average, at most, five minutes. This is one case where their planet Venus should be changed to a yet undiscovered planet that should be named planet Ma Bell.

Getting back on track, in my experience, women are way better listeners than any man alive. Oddly enough, I get more emails from women who read my columns than men.

On the majority of fishing trips when I guide a husband and wife, I like to ask them up front how they would rate their angling skills. Almost 100% of the time, the men go on and on about how they caught this and that, to the point you might think they exited the womb with a medium-heavy spinning rod in hand. On the other hand, the women keep it to one sentence or less, saying they have much to learn about catching whatever species we are targeting that day. Immediately I know this trip is going to be a hoot.

Men might listen to my advice, but it’s like there is a tube running through their brain from ear to ear. In other words, my advice goes in one ear and, in the blink of an eye, out the other. Women soak up every bit of advice and almost always out-fish their wannabe Bill Dance husband.

Some fish, like redfish, can handle a lack of finesse. One fish I like to target is sheepshead but, without finesse and patience, you might as well stop at the fish market.

Talk about sneaky. Sheepshead are superior bait stealers and often the bite is so subtle that if you are not paying close attention to the tip of the rod, one empty hook after another will drive you nuts. I repeatedly tell anyone who is fishing to keep the rod tip close to the water, hold the rod perfectly still, and if you even suspect that rod tip moves come up as hard as you can. Sheepsheads’ mouths are tough, and whether the rod tip did move or not, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Women get it, men don’t.

Catching this species takes a ton of patience. What I have noticed is men don’t stick to the plan while women do. Her rod tip is tight to the water, as I instructed, while his is up too high or moving all over the place as if he was just jabbed with a taser. Even when a big one is hooked, women are far more apt to ask for advice to guarantee landing the fish, while know-it-all Bill Dance won’t listen to any helpful advice. Then, either his line pops or these smart critters wrap the line around razor sharp barnacles on nearby pilings.

Yep, women anglers are the bomb!

As for all of you that have emailed me about my “How to Fish the Lowcountry” seminars, I will get back to you … promise. The dates for this two-part seminar will be April 5 and 12 at the Waddell Mariculture’s River House. Seminars will be from 5 to 6 p.m. – and as a special treat, if you arrive at 4:30 p.m. for the April 5 event, you can get a tour of the Waddell Mariculture’s wet lab that will blow your mind. This is where they raise cobia, flounder and other species that will ultimately be released into our local waters. 


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