When my wife Vicki made the decision to marry me, I'm not sure she new just how much I loved to hunt and fish. As life progressed and 14 years later, she has certainly discovered that I have more than one love in my life. This weekend was one of those rare weekends where my wife decided to face my other love and exact her revenge. I'm not sure why, but she has a near perfect record of coming out on top every time this happens. This weekend was no different.
I'm typically an early riser. I like to get up at 4:45 and be on my way to the water no later than 5:30 in the morning. I've found this to be the ideal time to avoid a lot of boats unloading at the ramp. It's also a good time to throw a cast net without having to contend with a Donald Aronow wanna-be casting a massive wake as you are trolling near oyster beds in search of bait. However, when my wife wants to go fishing, I've discovered it does no good to get up early...we will get there when we get there. Fortunately for us, the falling tide was in our favor as we pulled up to the launch around 10 a.m.
After purchasing bait and launching the boat, we were on our way to a favored fishing spot. Knowing my wife doesn't like it when I myself want to drive like Mr. Aronow, I kept the speed down to an easy 32 mph as we negotiated the turns and avoided the crab pots in the oxbow creek.
Upon arriving at our destination, I had the Minn Kota deploy and quietly glide the boat along the back side of a large abandoned dock. We were the only ones fishing this area and I had pretty good expectations for catching trout. After allowing the current to turn the boat so we could slip back near protected structure, I deployed the power poles to ensure we wouldn't rub against the prominent backdrop of barnacles.
Now, being the husband that always wants to please (at least I try to make her think that), I grabbed a large live shrimp and put it on the hook for Vicki so that she could begin fishing. However, she was quick to point out that my job was not done. A few months earlier I had put new line on her spool. Since she is left-handed and I am right dominant, she informed me that I failed to relocate the crank to the proper side of the reel. 1 minute later, the crank was swapped to the other side and fishing was underway. Just as I threw my first cast under the dock, I head the gleeful scream as Vicki caught her first fish. Knowing by the level of excitement that it had to be a big one, I quickly retrieved my line, set my rod down and grabbed the net, only to experience a near miss as a dink trout flew by my head.
After freeing him from the carnival ride my wife was taking him on, we took a moment to take a photo for posterity. I let him swim off to eat a few more crickets and put a fresh shrimp on my wife's hook. Once again, I grab my rod to fish around the pilings. Just a couple of casts into the day, I heard a grunt of excitement and turned to see Vicki struggling to make the reel turn. A moment later the drag started screaming as the fish she was fighting showed he wasn't ready to be taken so easily. The fish's quick run under the boat had me paying more attention to how my wife was holding the rod than I was to the fish. I've seen this game play out before and it does not always end well. Grabbing the net, I waited for Vicki to get him in position. After seeing him come to the surface, I knew she had done good. It's not everyday we see fish of this size in the Savannah area. Landing the fish in the boat, we took a moment to take a couple of photos and a video before we laid him on a bed of ice for an upcoming meal.
Although we both caught fish that day, Vicki exacted her revenge on me with the biggest fish, for the excessive time I spend on the water. That never hurts my feelings, because my joy comes from seeing those happy moments that she gets to experience. I also rest easy knowing that without the time I spend on the water, I would not have had the experience needed to put us on top of fish so quickly.
My wife loves what we do as an organization almost as much as I do. She often puts herself second to our goals. This weekend was about getting her mind off of her own battles as she confronts the physical limitations of various autoimmune disorders . As you may know, we maintain the highest level of confidentiality when we carry our members on board, allowing them talk freely if they so desire, or simply enjoy the fishing. In this case, it was all about enjoying the fishing and just freeing the mind....at least until the sun decided to crank the temperature to broil. By that time, we had exhausted our bait supply and it was time to head back in. The photos below are of my wife Vicki of whom I am very proud. As usual, she out-fished me and managed to bring home dinner.