Now that the Daniel Island boat landings are open, I am settling back into my regular routine. However, Brody (the amazing fish finding dog), is struggling a bit. When the Covid-19 shutdown began, to kill the extra time and have a little fun, I opened Brody an E-Trade account. It all started innocently. Every day, I would write two stock symbols on pieces of paper and set them on the floor with doggy treats. We would buy the stock that Brody went to first. As it turns out, Brody is a good stock picker and most days his portfolio would be up. Then, he set up watch lists and started doing technical analysis. This is when our problems began.
The first indication of the forthcoming catastrophe was Brody demanding that I mount an iPad on the console of my boat. This allowed him to stay in touch with the market and make trades throughout the fishing day. At first, it was kind of entertaining but quickly progressed into a problem. Brody became more interested in trading stocks than finding fish. It was a crushing blow that I still struggle to understand.
Things got even worse, when Brody converted one of our bedrooms into his trading office. There are so many computers and monitors in that room, I am afraid to look at my Dominion Power bill. Now, Brody stays in there nearly all the time. No time for fishing or me.
Now, I fish alone. Maybe, I pushed Brody to hard about backing up the boat trailer? Perhaps, this is Brody’s way of social distancing? Whatever the case may be, I miss my fish finding dog.
On a brighter note, fishing has been very good. Even without Brody’s help.
For me, the glass is usually half full. During the closure of our boat landings, many friends went above and beyond to help me fish. Their thoughtfulness and kindness make my glass and my heart full.
With our boat landings now open, I have returned to my normal (every day) fishing schedule. As I get back into my routine, things that I may have taken for granted are wonderments once again. On Sunday morning, the water was 69-degrees and the Trout bite was going off. I was catching and releasing Trout at a torrid pace. After about an hour, a pod of dolphin began hanging around my skiff and eating the fish I was releasing. One of them was very distinct as it was missing the top half of its dorsal fin. Not wanting the released Trout to be eaten and for dolphin to associate food with people, I moved to another area about a mile away. Thankfully, the Trout bite we good there as well. After just a few minutes, the pod of dolphin showed up again. I knew it was the same group because of “Shorty”, the one missing half its fin. This time, I moved a further distance away, but the dolphin found me again in very short order.
It became clear, that I was not going to lose this pod of dolphin. So, I began putting the Trout in my release well to be returned to the water away from the ravenous mammals. Each time, I put a fish in the release well, the dolphin would surface right next to the boat and look at me. To my surprise, this went on the rest of the day. Even with the Trout supply cut off, the dolphin stayed with me. It was a bit frustrating but a wonderment none the less.
The best of people comes out in the worst of times. This is the bright side of the Covid-19 pandemic. While my biggest challenge is the inability to fish due to closure of our boat landings, I am amazed by the number of people that have reached out to help.
A few days into the boat landing closure, a friend ran his skiff across the harbor from Sullivan’s Island to Daniel Island and took me fishing in the Wando River. He joked that he was compelled to help because I was literally a fish out of water. The next week, another friend invited me to fish on his boat which was docked on Ralston Creek. It was good to catch a few fish. It was better to catch up with an old friend. Then, to my surprise, another friend offered to let me keep my Pathfinder at their dock. I am lucky to have such thoughtful and caring friends.
With my Pathfinder back in the game, I am making up for lost time and fishing nearly every day. The water temperature is approaching 70-degrees. Baitfish have returned to the rivers and creeks. Redfish, Trout and Flounder are feeding aggressively. It is great to be fishing again!
More good news. Brody, the amazing fish finding dog, has stopped trading stocks and returned to finding fish. While I am happy to have him back on the boat, I do have mixed feelings. Turns out, Brody is fantastic at picking stocks. Well, at least, better than me. So, after intensive negotiations, Brody has agreed to trade stocks during the day and then fish after the market closes at 4:00. Brody is also the new owner of my Pathfinder 2500 Hybrid. A small price to pay for an amazing fish finding dog that can pick stocks too!
Yes, the best of people (and fish finding dogs) comes out in the worst of times.
The boat landings on Daniel Island are closed. So, I have not been fishing. However, I have it on good authority that boat landings in Mount Pleasant and Berkeley County are still operating. If they remain open this week, I will endeavor to leave Daniel Island (say is isn’t so) to go fishing. In the interim, I am thinking ideas to entertain myself.
Number 1 – Write a fishing article that no one ever reads. On the bright side, given the lack of things to do, my readership may go up out of sheer boredom!
Number 2 – Teach Brody, the amazing fish finding dog, to back up a boat trailer. In order to do this, does Brody need a driver’s license? By the way, he has already passed the written portion of the driver’s test. However, Brody is not good at parallel parking. So, backing up a boat trailer may be asking too much.
Number 3 – Eat my emergency food stash. I have a 6-month supply of Cheez Its. Some people hoard toilet paper. I hoard Cheez Its. If things get really bad, you can’t eat toilet paper. Actually, I guess you can. But, you would have to be pretty hungry.
Number 4 – Put together a nearshore fishing class for when this Covid-19 thing ends. Perhaps, for some time in May (let’s be optimistic). Thinking about designing the class around our summertime species. Bull Redfish, King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel and Spadefish come immediately to mind. If you would be interested in attending, please send me a note at email@example.com.
My relationship with the month of March is complicated. Sometimes, March is warm and loving. Other times, March is cold and harsh. The wild variation of conditions is confusion to fish and completely dumbfounding to anglers. Well, at least to me. In March, fish begin to transition out of their Winter habitat and spread throughout our estuaries. This can make fish hard to find and even more difficult to catch. Yes, my relationship with the month of March is complicated.
On Saturday, March and I were heading towards legal separation. It was cold. It was super windy. Clearly, March did not want me to go fishing. Frankly, I was over March’s harsh demeanor. March and I were on the rocks. So, I did what I always do when faced with turmoil, I went fishing.
After launching my new Salt Marsh Skiff, that March did not want me to buy, I assessed the situation. It was unsafe to fish in the Wando River. If anything, bad happened, March would never let me hear the end of it. So, I tucked behind a leeward shoreline and began fishing. Out of the wind, things did not seem so bad. My feeling about March began to warm. But, after an hour of fishing without a bite, March and I were on the outs again! I decided enough was enough and pulled out my phone to call my lawyer. Of course, I made one last cast with my Z-Man Finesse TRD to a dock in 10 feet of water. Before the lure hit bottom, a Trout ate it. I dropped the phone and fought the fish. It was not particularly large, but it lifted my spirits.
On the ride back to the boat landing, it did not seem as cold and the wind appeared to have moderated. Perhaps, March and I still had a chance together. Like I said, it is complicated.