During my many years of living in Pawleys Island, my husband had 25-foot cabin boat. He loved that boat. He washed it endlessly, he waxed it and he often slept on it.
One day he and I were traveling from the marina at Heritage Plantation where our home was, to Georgetown for dinner. We were skimming the tops of the waves. The river sparkled with sunlight and it smelled like South Carolina. It was perfect.
All of a sudden a giant silver thing flew over the boat—from port to starboard. We both gasped! It looked like a cross between a prehistoric shark and a surfboard, and it had to be at least seven-feet-long. I’m not kidding. It was enormous.
My husband was as astonished as I was, but at least he knew what it was. It was a STURGEON. He’d heard that they were in the Waccamaw River, but he had never seen one. When we got back to the plantation, our friends thought we were telling fish tales, but we were so adamant they finally believed us.
I researched the fish, and this is what I learned: Sturgeon are found in many sizes, locations and varieties. The one we saw might have been an Atlantic Sturgeon, but we were pretty sure it was a Shortnose Sturgeon, that according to the South Carolina Wildlife Federation can be found in both brackish and salt waters along the South Carolina coast. I also learned that the sturgeon is an ancient fish with fossils dating back 65 million years.
Wild sturgeon is celebrated for it’s ROE, but according to tradition, only roe from sturgeon from the Caspian Sea and Black Sea in Russia can be called caviar. As an aside, Russian caviar is currently going for $75 an ounce.