There’s something fishy about Mandy Henderson
Mandy Henderson (@OneFishyNurse on Instagram) is a cardiac nurse in Charleston, South Carolina. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she has been fishing for most of her life.
“I grew up fishing,” Mandy says. “My parents went fishing on their second date.”
Although she started on freshwater, Mandy now concentrates most of her fishing time on saltwater — particularly inshore species.
“It’s just awesome to be out on the water and feel that tug when something’s on the line,” she says.
She enjoys how challenging saltwater reeling can be.
“Certain species are a lot harder to catch than others,” Mandy says. “Saltwater is tricky because it is so tide driven. You have to know what bait, what tide and what season.”
Mandy changes the species she chases depending on the season.
“I’m currently targeting reds and flounder inshore,” Mandy says. “The trout bite is starting to show up now that the water temperatures are decreasing. And the bull reds are running hard with the mullet run right now.”
Bull redfish and flounder are Mandy’s preferred quarry.
“I like to target flounder because most people just catch them as bycatch or as a mistake,” she says. “Targeting them is much more challenging. For bull reds, I just wait for the mullet run and start throwing bait. October is the perfect month for it here in Charleston!”
“But whatever, you’re going after, you have to make sure you know the tide and the right bait for the time of year — even if you use artificials that mimic live bait.”
Switching bait and patterns is key to Mandy’s fishing strategies.
“I change all the time!” she says. “It just depends on the time of year and whether I’m catching or just fishing.”
But what if she was limited to a single rig for reeling?
“Oh, that’s a tough question… I’d probably use a shrimp on a popping cork,” she says. “It covers a lot of species and is very dependable. You can even use it with a Voodoo shrimp.”
When scouting a location, there are a couple key things that Mandy looks for.
“My strategy is very basic,” she says. “Find the structure. Then find the fish — but you typically want to make sure the tide is moving.”
However she does it, Mandy’s strategies certainly pay off.
“One time, I was out fishing with some friends, and everyone left except me and the guy with the boat, so we stayed out a little longer and tried a new spot at the near-shore reef,” she says. I’d just got a new rod for my birthday the week before and figured we could break it in out there.”
“We get out there and get lines in the water. My new rod feels like it’s snagged on the bottom, so I let a little line out, reel up and I can feel the egg sinker hit on the snag — but then I can feel something shaking. I let some line out again, and the rod bends over. It’s a good fish and I have to fight it for a while. We finally get it on the boat and measured. It was a 47-inch bull red,” she says. “Needless to say, my new rod held up — and I landed my personal best red drum.”
Mandy’s advice to new reelers is pretty straightforward:
“Keep trying new things. Enjoy every sunrise or sunset that you get on the water. And even if you think the fish got off, keep reeling!” she says. “I love being on the water and all the surprises that come along with fishing. Every time you go out, it’s a new adventure.”