After the past week I have decided that I won’t go fishing unless I go with someone who is having a birthday that particular day.
If my declaration sounds odd, then consider the source, because “odd” is my middle name — or so I have been told since I was around 14. Puberty was a rough stretch for me.
So what lead me to this birthday idea? It started this past Saturday at the Waddell Benefit Inshore Fishing Tournament out of Shelter Cove Marina. Because Collins “Odd” Doughtie messed up scheduling the event on the same day as the Bluffton Seafood Festival and another fishing tournament out at Spring Island, we didn’t get the participation I had hoped for, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
From the response I have received from those who did fish, I will say it was a success even though we came up short raising enough money to purchase a maturation tank, otherwise known as a breeding tank, for the Waddell Mariculture Center. But one strong attribute I do possess is that I never give up once I am committed to a cause. Come to think of it, that might just be my only strong attribute. Oh well, it’s better than nothing.
Getting back on track, I fished the tournament aboard Dr. Ben Parker’s boat along with Waddell’s director, Al Stokes. It wasn’t until we had reached one of my trout drops that Dr. Ben announced it was his birthday.
Due to a lack of melodious vocal skills by either Al or myself, we skipped singing the customary “Happy Birthday” song and simply started slinging live shrimp for trout. If I remember correctly, it took all of three seconds from the moment our corks hit the water for all three to disappear. On our next cast the same thing happened, and the next cast and the next cast. I could go on, but you get the picture.
We never moved from that spot all day long, and I am willing to bet we caught 60 to 70 trout — and most all of them were fine specimens.
In addition to one of the finest days trout fishing I have experienced in a long time, we also pulled out some redfish, black drum, croakers and even a couple of jumbo gar. To top it off, we had quite the display of local feathered friends — which included a bald eagle that darn near skimmed my bald head — oyster catchers, plovers and wads of wood storks circling straight overhead riding the thermals.
The kicker happened when dolphins began strand feeding within spitting distance of the boat. I can guarantee Dr. Ben will have a heck of a time beating that birthday.
Did we win? Heck no, but in one sense we did by having such an incredible day.
In the trout category, Colton Maxey, Thomas McDonald, Courtland Babcock and Jessie Fascenda aboard the Chasin Tail brought in a 3-pound, 8-ounce mega trout, while Thomas Macdonald aboard May River Excursions won the redfish category with a 4-pound, 5-ounce spot tail.
Just about everyone who entered walked away with something, and I cannot thank all the businesses, restaurants and individuals that donated prizes enough. I love it when our community comes together for such a great cause that benefits us all whether you are aware of it or not.
After recuperating for a day or so, I was back on the water again Tuesday. This time I was aboard part-time Daufuskie Island resident George Norton’s boat. George and I have fished together several times, and his funny demeanor combined with a tried-and-true Kentucky accent is right up my alley. Simply put, he is just plain fun to fish with.
Since the trout bite had been so good, I decided to see if history does indeed repeat itself. Heading to another of my trout spots, we had just anchored when he drawls, “Ya know, Collins, today is my birthday.”
Counting back nine months from October, February must be some kind of loving month because there sure seems to be a ton of October babies. I didn’t sing “Happy Birthday” this time either, but our reels were singing. We easily caught 40 to 50 trout.
On literally every cast, that cork was under almost before you had time to engage the reel, and that’s no exaggeration. To make George’s day even more complete, the wind was dead calm, a wonderful chill was in the air and you could barely tell the difference between the marsh grass and its reflection in the water.
Maybe my birthday declaration is a tad extreme but then again so is my middle name. So what the heck, if your birthday is coming up, let’s go fishing!