Talk about a whirlwind week! These past few days have left me exhausted, but before I give you a blow by blow accounting I really want to thank all of you that have e-mailed or called me about last week’s column.
The common thread, it appears, was how much they appreciated my encouragement to look hard and long at what we have here and just how important it is to save this slice of heaven.
A perfect example came when I had a doctor’s appointment two days ago. The doctor was Dr. Gilbreath on Hilton Head and though we hardly know each other, he went on and on about how much he appreciated my words about the value of protecting the environment here, especially our waters.
I was taken aback since I was there to schedule a colonoscopy, which is way down anyone’s list of pleasurable things to look forward too.
He felt that not enough is being said or done to protect our resources and that it appears that big money, new developments and traffic issues dominate most all local political discussions, while the environment takes a back seat.
So where was I? Oh yeah, my whirlwind week!
Before I went on my colonoscopy tangent, I flew up to New Bern, NC to bring back a brand new 45’ Hatteras sport fishing boat.
My good bud and fishing companion Dan Cornell dropped a bombshell on me after he and his daughter went to the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show, where he ordered the Hatteras.
If you are not familiar with boats, Hatteras is considered the Rolls Royce of sport fishing boats. I spent three days there learning about the engines, electronics, etc. before the boat headed to Hilton Head.
I have to say, those people up there are true professionals. Watching how they build these machines was incredible. A bit intimidated by it’s size, all I can say is it drives easier than a boat half its size, rides over four foot seas like they are less than a foot and has toys galore. Flir and thermal cameras, joystick controls and a sound system more fitting for a darn disco has me spoiled rotten. Her name is the Reel Deal and I am sure many new tales will be come after I get her fishing offshore.
No sooner had I gotten back from NC than I was out in Port Royal Sound trying to catch cobia to use as brood fish (breeders) at the Waddell Mariculture Center.
The weather was a tad nasty and other than one cobia that we pulled the hook on after a short fight, the rest of the trip was unhooking and releasing shark after shark.
Luckily Capt. John Bracket aboard the “Sweet Pea” had caught a 45lb female for breeding the day before so five are now in captivity. Through DNA testing hopefully some are “true” Port Royal cobia and will be used to replenish cobia stocks in Port Royal Sound that were hammered by overfishing.
This week DNR will be out in the sound with large tanks in an attempt to capture more cobia, so if you happen to catch one Waddell’s Charlie Bridgham may be out there and will gladly take the fish off your hands. You can call him by phone at (406) 781-1663 or on the VHF radio on either channel 6 or 69.
I know this column has been all over the place, but one last thing. The “Run for the Bulls” dolphin tournament out of Wexford Harbour on June 9 will also act as a fundraiser so that we can purchase a breeding tank for the Waddell Mariculture Center.
As you may have heard, Al Stokes retires at the end of June and his dream has always been to have one of these tanks.
If you would like to donate dinners or other prizes to be used at the tournament to help fulfill this dream, please contact me.
We’ll even take money! The special tank will allow Waddell to raise redfish, trout and cobia year round and if you fish at all, here is your chance to make our fishing even better.