Though monster January cold fronts have been less frequent than in past years, the one that came roaring in last week had an odd effect on me.
Getting out of bed around 7 a.m., I knew that I had about a six-hour window before its arrival, so my plans to fish that day had me pacing the living room mumbling, "Should I go or not?"
After wearing a groove in the carpet from all that pacing, the phone rang and on the other end of the line was my friend Jimmy McIntire. As if we were on the same mental page, he too had considered going sheepshead fishing before the front hit, so when he suggested we go, I was all for it, weather or no weather.
I think it took us all of 20 minutes to get organized and off we went.
The wind was already blowing a hefty 15 knots straight out of the west as we rounded the corner at the entrance of the May River. There was no doubt whatsoever that the front was coming and coming fast. Knowing that once it hit fishing was going to be shut down for a few days, we continued on.
Halfway across Calibogue Sound I saw these huge dark spots on the water and as we got closer dark spot after dark spot rose into the air as one.
They were ducks!
From my many years growing up here and duck hunting, I knew immediately that these weren't buffleheads or mergansers -- about the only ducks you see these days -- they were scaup (sometimes called blue bills) and lots and lots of them.
So what's the big deal about that? The big deal is I haven't seen this many scaup in the Calibogue Sound since the early 1980s.
Pulling back the throttle, Jimmy and I watched wave after wave of scaup fly around us. It was dèj
God does not subtract from the allotted span of a man's life the hours spent in fishing. Columnist Collins Doughtie, a graphic designer by trade and fishing guide by choice, sure hopes that's true.