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Protect your fishing gear now, or pay for it later

Fishing tackle is expensive, and rods and reels top the list of gear that need replacement due to negligence.

I am amazed at the number of boats I see on the roadway and waters with rods stored in rod holders while under way. Salt spray and road debris wears away at rods and gets blasted into each reel if you transport them this way. While it may give you a jump start to your day, it could be costly.

The finish on a rod and guide wraps seldom withstands excessive wind speed, and reels are rarely subjected to the same grit intrusion when fighting a fish.

Being a custom rod builder these many years, it never ceases to amaze me when an angler brings in a rod needing guide replacement and is bewildered as to why a rod has stress cracks or is worn unevenly. The primary cause is due to handling and storage more so than any bout with a fish.

Store your gear when traveling and you could save a few dollars to go in your tank. This is one expense you can control.


  • The S.C. shrimp-baiting season opened Sept. 9. The season will remain open until noon, Nov. 8. Resident licenses cost $25 and non-resident licenses cost $500. All boats are limited to 10 sets of poles, and the catch limit is 48 quarts (heads on) and 29 quarts (heads off), per boat or set of poles per day. Remember net restrictions -- no cast net may be used having a mesh smaller than one-half inch square measure or 1-inch stretch measure.
  • The Hilton Head Island Sportfishing Club will be holding a meeting Sept. 13 at the Yacht Club of Hilton Head Island in Palmetto Bay Marina. The topic of the evening will be "Get Ready for Adult Drum Season." Bait, tackle and techniques will be presented by guest speaker Capt. Glenn Ulrich. Maps, brochures and expert charter captains also will be on hand. Cash bar and dinner will be held from 6:15 to 7 p.m., followed by the program. No reservations necessary. For more information, call Dave at 843-785-4106
  • The Fripp Island Invitational Kingfish Tournament held last Saturday collected $3,000 for the Cancer Society. Capt. Hank Simmons of Beaufort and crew on "Nomad" took top prize with a 20-pound kingfish. The top Spanish mackerel went to Capt. Robert Wallace of Beaufort and crew on "Molly Carolina" with a 2.4-pounder. For upcoming tournaments, call the marina at 843-838-1517.

    While putting together this column, my mind drifts to earlier times. Fact and fiction become one. So many trips, so many faces, so many fish.

    The anglers I shared a boat with have names but their faces are now more vivid. Who caught what becomes more of "I remember when I ..."

    Truth be known, I appreciate these slight nuances that nudge my memory. It makes me tolerable company in the presence of lesser anglers and adds credibility to my stories.

    The following should be taken at face value: "While fishing the other day, I caught a fish that was much smaller than the one that got away." Any reasonable accuracy to this statement can be attributed to the uniqueness all fishermen proclaim. As the saying goes, all fishermen are liars -- except for you and me, and I'm not too sure about you.