Stokes: Valuable lessons to learn in your outdoors 'firsts'

rodcrafter@islc.netMay 18, 2013 

I have come to the conclusion that a number of "firsts" can make quite a statement in one's life.

While many firsts are common, the personal result can be amusing as well as add focus to what lies ahead. For example, your first: teacher, kiss, date, car, dog or that first hunting or fishing trip.

Your impression of firsts may be different than mine, but it's good to reflect on those that remain vivid.

Granted, there may have been a few that lacked any degree of thought before application, which could explain why I remain confused to this day. In any event, no matter the amount of conviction behind the choice, I have come to the conclusion that eager answers do not always speak the truth.

A good many firsts will be discovered this season:

  • First-time boat owners will learn that cost is associated more with neglect than usage.

  • Towing vehicles do not a vehicle make simply because there is a hitch on the bumper.

  • Trailer tires are fine in the driveway but take a totally new attitude at highway speeds. The label says warning, read it.

  • Jumping from a boat still under power does not necessarily mean your landing will go well.

  • Hooks seem to find body parts when fishing rods are in the hands of a novice as well as a seasoned veteran.

  • All bait should not be considered fresh just because it is frozen.

  • You can't walk back from a fishing trip that involves a boat.

  • Know your target; any excuse is painful with firearms.

  • A good skinning knife should always be part of your wardrobe on a hunt.

  • All dogs do not come when called, some not at all.

  • Never assume the boat plug is installed, the tie-down is secure or the boat ramp is endless.

  • Know what that first gobble is wearing.

  • Every tree stand or blind is not secure, neglect often precedes inspect.

  • High tides do not have normal boundaries.

  • And, finally, know the length of your leash and keep your collars secure. Your wife will appreciate the effort.


    Alan Brittman celebrated his birthday early with a 50-pound cobia taken May 13.


  • The Backyard Bar (formerly El Toro's) Tournament has had a schedule change. The tournament will be May 25. Contact Charlie Ledford for more information.

  • Fripp Island's Memorial Day Kingfish Tournament will be May 24-25. Call 843-838-1517 for details.

  • The 28th annual Food and Beverage Cobia Fishing Tournament will be May 29. Call 843-816-4121 for details.


    An expert at splashing off the gunnels since 1974, Capt. Wally recently teamed up with two other expert divers and plans to do a great deal more diving this year. During a recent trip, Capt. Wally reports: "We saw huge schools of varying species and black bass were everywhere. We sighted a few stingrays that were estimated to be over 80 pounds."

    Capt. Wally hasn't seen any cobia yet on the Sea Wolf, but an 84-pounder was taken at Broad River recently. There were more than 90 boats on the river with no witness catches. Offshore, the stream is producing some outstanding runs of dolphin.

    "I have been chartering for 34 years and still love it," Capt. Wally said. "I believe S.C. reefs have a variety of fish not seen in other locations, and over the years I have met a number of great people. I am fortunate to have many friends in the Beaufort area."

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