Updated: Sep 8, 2020
This weekend I had the opportunity to go out and scout a few areas for fish by myself. I got out of bed around 4:40 a.m., stopped by the store for a bag of ice and some Gatorade (I like the original green stuff) and headed off to the boat ramp at Turner's Creek on Wilmington Island. I try to time it so that I'm at that point of the morning where it is light enough not to need my white light, but still early enough to avoid the crowd of boats that is typical of the area. The route I'd chosen takes me past an area favorite, Miss Judy's Charters, where a couple of acquaintances practice their trade as charter captains. It also takes me past the home of Paula Deen where I always look to see if she is outside on the dock. However, as my luck would have it, I hold a perfect record for never seeing her outside.
This particular morning my goal was to head to the Wilmington River sound and fish both sides in search of Flounder, Trout and Redfish. It's also a great place to jump an occasional Tarpon. Notice I said "Jump"...that's because I have yet to do anything more than that with Tarpon. When I launched around 6:45 a.m., the tide had just begun it's outgoing turn, so where I was headed, I would have to watch the time and my depth due to the number of sandbars in the area.
As I hit the Wilmington river and pushed the throttle to make a steady 30 knots to my fishing location, I took the time to enjoy the quit stillness of the water and thank God for all that he has provided. That quiet stillness is what I love the most about the early morning ride. I can usually expect to be pushing through some kind of chop on the return trip, which can sometimes be a bit like playing dodge ball when a wave crashes over the bow and I'm trying to avoid getting wet by the spray.
When I arrived at my fishing location, I found to my surprise that no boats were fishing this location. I was able to GPS lock the Minn Kota and hold my position long enough to catch a trout and a couple of flounder. The bite had just begun to pick up when the tide forced me out of my position, so I relocated further north to a creek that is typically good for redfish. I would not be disappointed as I began to haul in one redfish and then another. A number of them were below the slot limit, but I was able to bring home 4 of my 5 fish limit. I was also able to catch another trout prior to my departure, which would provide more than enough fish to put in the freezer. Making a mental note of the water conditions, temperature and the position of the tide, I would add this place to my marked locations on the Garmin chartplotter.
When I am under power, I will usually have the radio playing from my Patriotic playlist. Some people may think that is a bit silly or even ate up, but the fact is, I enjoy the music played by American patriots and marching bands. This morning, the music proved to be a little more special than expected though. As I motored at idle past a local marina, America the Beautiful began to play. The captain of a local food boat stepped out on the deck and threw a kind salute as he heard the music and saw the wrap displaying the stars and stripes on the boat. Another 50 yards down as I was passing a slip with various sized sailboats, a bald eagle flew overhead. The day could not have been anymore perfect. The time spent alone on this day proved to be much needed self-reflection time as I emptied my mind of the stresses incurred throughout the past week.
At Casting for a Cause Disabled Veterans Foundation, we are about providing relief through a recreational outlet to our veterans. Many of them deal with issues that most people will never be able to understand or experience. They are part of the 1% that has served their country. They are a minority with the voice of a majority. As you are working in the upcoming weeks, please take a moment to talk to any of the veterans you work with. Do a brother check and see if they are experiencing difficulties. Go out of your way to be a part of the solution for them and let them know you are willing to listen and that you care. With all of the chaos going on throughout our nation today, your words of encouragement may be all that is needed to prevent one of these brothers or sisters from taking their own life.