This week, I felt my age. On Monday, I pulled a muscle in my back. On Tuesday, I could barely get out of bed (much less go fishing). So, I spent most of the week laying about feeling sorry for myself. Thankfully, my back recovered enough to fish with Jack Gardner on Sunday. Jack and I have been fishing together since he was in middle school. He is now an alumnus of The Citadel and beginning his career in Virginia. Sunday was the last opportunity for us to fish together before he left town. I was not going to miss it!
Circumstances were not optimal on Sunday. Strong winds made for rough conditions and poor water clarity. If this was not our last fishing trip before Jack left town, I would have cancelled. It was that awful. Our first stop was a marsh point swept by the current of the outgoing tide. It was exposed to the wind and the waves. Given limited mobility due to my back, not falling out of the boat was a major accomplishment! We cast Z-Man Finesse TRDs on 1/5-ounce NedlockZ jigs to the marsh point and let the tide sweep our lures into deeper water. It was difficult fishing. Thankfully, we managed to catch a few Trout and a Flounder. So, our attention turned to completing the inshore slam with a Redfish. As we ran from place to place in search of a Red, Jack and I recalled memories from each spot that we visited. We shared stories. We laughed a lot. I marveled at the person he had become.
Jack and I did not catch many fish, but we did take the opportunity to catch up. Perhaps, that is the best catch of all.
Fishing and catching are not synonymous. Sometimes, I get to believing that they are. But Mother Nature always steps in to remind me they most certainly are not. Saturday was one of those days. The tide was wonky. The wind was howling. The water clarity was abysmal. It was a tough day for fishing. Wait, tough is not a suitable description. Awful, that is a better word. Simply awful. To tell the truth, I was not even having fun.
The search for synonymous took me from Daniel Island, throughout the harbor all the way to the end of the jetties. After catching no fish, I ran the Pathfinder back up the Wando past the Highway 41 bridge. Still no fish. It was frustrating to say the least. With literally no place else to look, I let the boat drift along the edge of the marsh and told my crew, David and Andrew, we should call it day. They readily agreed. As we got ourselves situated for the ride back to Daniel Island, I spotted a Redfish tailing in the marsh and it was moving toward us! As quietly as possible, I nudged the bow of the Pathfinder into the edge of the Spartina. To our amazement, the Redfish swam within easy casting distance of the boat. Andrew cast a Z-Man 4-inch PaddlerZ into the path of the Red. We held our collective breath and were elated when the fish ate the lure. Our hoots and hollers could be heard from miles away.
After landing the fish, taking a few pictures and letting it go, we could not stop smiling and laughing. That fish changed the day from awful to joyful. It also served as a reminder that fishing and catching are most certainly not synonymous.