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-Written By: Trey Carden
I wanted an epic maiden voyage for my new Shearwater 125 and what better test than a camping trip on one of America’s longest free-flowing blackwater rivers, the Edisto River? For 700 miles it flows through cypress swamps and low-lying woods before dumping out into the Atlantic Ocean via the ACE Basin. We planned our camping after finding an adventurous 18 mile stretch of river, starting at T Coke Weeks Landing in St. George, SC, and ending at Mars Old Field landing in Cottageville, SC.
After getting every bit of tackle I owned, packing my bags, and a quick detour for my friend Bobby to buy a spare trailer tire, we were at the launch. In my Element 20 cooler, I would keep my sleeping bag and a change of clothes. My tent rode under the front cover and I was able to throw my keys, phone, wallet, and some snacks into the Versa Drawer. There was ample room for my fishing rods with the horizontal rod holders being perfect for navigating the riverbank’s low-lying trees. I was already overly impressed by the amount of storage hidden on this fishing kayak and the overall layout of the deck. Starting out there were plenty of boats and the steep banks were interrupted often with river houses and small-boat slips. We crept along stopping at whatever interesting bends we could find to try to catch a few fish for dinner.
As the day wore on, we drifted further downriver, there were fewer boats, we heard less traffic and encountered fewer houses. The best part of river camping is when you finally find the wildest part of the river and you can just enjoy drifting through nature. The river sped up a little and we had to dodge some submerged logs and places where the path forward was almost blocked by fallen trees. It was just enough chaos to make the trip a little more exciting and gave me a good chance to try maneuvering my new fishing kayak through current and sharp turns. By the time we arrived at our campsite, mid-way through our trip, we had five or six good-sized Bluegill and a nice Crappie to fry up on the beach. We took some of the Bluegill heads and put out a line that caught a nice 32” Bullhead Catfish right after we started our makeshift fish fry.
After breaking down camp the next morning. and leaving no trace, we were back on the river. The second leg of the river had more turns but overall, it was easy going. Most of the day was just a steady drift with only a few presses of the toe pedals to correct course and stay out of the trees when rounding a bend. During the last mile, I flung my leg over the side of Bobby’s Jon Boat and hitched a ride. We had cold drinks and jumped right into planning the next trip. Another great camping trip in the books and a great weekend to be in a Vibe Kayak.