When Jerry stopped for a visit, a few hours on the water gave us time to catch up on things. We hadn't seen each other for years, and fishing together would put us back on track.
Jerry soon gained a quick advantage and made a few remarks about my qualifications: "Hey, buddy, you got a reputation to uphold -- looks like there's a new sheriff in town now."
With each fish he caught, less and less conversation came from my end of the boat. He must have noticed my uneasiness when he said, "Seems like your fishing is about as good as your attitude."
I turned and said, "I fish better than I talk, and you are getting on my nerves."
He decided to push one more button. "Well, it appears you write better than you fish."
As competitive friends, we have always challenged each other no matter the circumstance. Once, we were shooting turkeys on the Santee and paired off on whose gobbler had the largest spurs. To this day that argument is still a sour note. I claim victory because Jerry's turkey was never found.
On another outing, shooting ducks on the Edisto placed us at odds. We were arguing about who made the shot that had brought down a low flier. As it turned out, neither of us hit the mark. Another hunter across the marsh claimed the prize and, in leaving the area, he stated his new lab made less noise than we did in a blind.
At the end of the day, as Jerry climbed in his truck, he said something profound: "To be good at something, make it as simple as possible and enjoy doing it." He said he read it somewhere.
To set things straight, Jerry was making an attempt at a Will Rogers quote: "If you want to be successful, it's just this simple; Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing."
The only thing I have ever known Jerry to read is the sports section. I'm impressed -- but I won't tell him that.
10th annual Hilton Head Harbor Wahoo Shootout: Captains' meeting on April 23; Fishing dates are captain's choice of April 25 or 26; 100 percent payout; Details: Call the tournament committee at 843-298-0377 or 843-422-5911.
Charleston In-Water Boat Show: April 25-27 at the Bristol Marina and Brittlebank Park (Friday Noon-7pm, Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 11am-5pm); Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for military with valid ID, $5 for children ages 4-12, free for kids 3 and under; Free parking; Details: Erica Bittner at 864-250-9713.
Cobia Capture Day: May 10 at Waddell Mariculture Center; Fishermen can meet SCDNR biologists at Broad River to donate live cobia brood stock. The stock will be used to culture fingerlings to ensure a healthy cobia population for the future. The Hilton Head Reef Foundation and local tackle dealers will reward the largest and most donated fish. Top prize is $200 for the largest donation. 2nd and 3rd place donors will receive rod and reel. A collection station will be available at the Hilton Head Boathouse dock. Fin clip kits will be distributed at local fishing/boating shops or can be picked up at the Waddell Mariculture Center. Details: www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/stocking/index.html, or call 843-953-2011 or 843-837-3795 Ext. 125.
Port Royal Sound Foundation's annual golf tournament: May 19 at Callawassie Island; Registration: call Judy Almand at 843-810-6881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beaufort Water Festival Fishing Tournament: Captains' meeting on June 6; Fishing on June 7 with weigh-in at downtown marina from 3-5 p.m. Awards banquet after. To register or sponsor, call Henri Madlinger at 843-812-8202; Details: bftwaterfestival.com
S.C. Governor's Cup fishing tournament: May 21-24, 47th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament; June 4-7, Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament; June 18-21, Carolina Billfish Classic; July 9-12, Megadock Billfish Tournament; July 23-26, Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament. Details: Amy Dukes 843-953-9365
If your fishing gear is showing signs of corrosion, there is a cure. Simply place them in a shallow dish with a bit of cola. The acidity will free your gear of rust in minutes. A little oil will help deter future problems.