Is it really 2017? Just so you know, I am one of those folks that has a hard time giving up the past.
A perfect example of this was when it turned 2016. My bank would call me weekly until around April saying I had put 2015 on checks I had written and could I stop by and correct them.
Even my grade school report cards, which my parents so graciously held on to, include teacher comments like, “Collins is likable but he has a hard time accepting what day it is. He is not exactly ‘slow,’ but he’s also not very fast either.”
This past year is pretty much a blur. Talk about time flying by — for me 2016 was like one of those cars going for a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
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I think a lot of it had to do with the weather. If I remember correctly, it never really got cold and for a fisherman like myself, it kept me guessing as to when this fish or that fish would show up. In hindsight, every one of them came early. Starting with shad, which usually show up in late February, they must have migrated up the rivers in early February because I simply missed them.
Then there was the wahoo run, probably my all-time favorite fish to catch. They started chewing in early February and by March the bite was insane. There were more big wahoo caught around here this past year than at any other time in my life. One of those we caught on board Don McCarthy’s boat, the Manatee Mac, was an 84-pound monster that still gives me chills when I think about the way it took the bait.
It was around 1 p.m. and I had just put out a lure I had made and just after dropping it back, I tapped my friend Will “Catfish” Thompson on the shoulder and told him to check out my homemade. In the blink of an eye, that monster came straight out of the water a good 10 to 15 feet in the air and like a cat, pounced on the lure on the way down. It was spectacular!
The wahoo fishing here in 2016 was as good, if not better, than any place on the planet. If 2017 is even half as good, I will be one happy camper.
2016 was also a banner year for good friends. I feel so blessed to have friends that accept me for who I am and if you read my columns with any regularity, that is asking a whole lot of someone. I am talking friends that would take the shirt off their back for me if asked.
I have always cherished friendships more than about anything and during this past year I have held onto tried and true buddies as well as building to that stable with a handful of new friends. Even on my worst days, a call from one of these friends can change my entire attitude from gloom to laughing so hard I can’t catch a breath. Now that is priceless.
Speaking of weather, I guess I can’t leave out Matthew. Yeah I know, I was stupid to ride out the storm on Hilton Head but does it really surprise you? Other than Hurricane David, in my 60 years here I have never once left for a storm. Even when I was 6 years old with four brothers and sisters, my folks would take us to the oceanfront William Hilton Inn to ride out hurricanes. So blame my hard head on genetics.
Actually, it was pretty exciting in a weird way. Even when there are mega lightning storms I am that idiot who is outside watching the light show. Extreme weather intrigues me but with that said, I have great respect for the power of Mother Nature.
Any of you who spends a great deal of time out on the water, many times many miles from land, knows that the ocean can take you in the blink of an eye. That’s where respect and awareness comes in. I never, ever take the power of nature for granted.
May good health be with you all this New Year.