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Stokes: Ditch your motor, pick up a paddle and take your time

"Commonly we stride through the out-of-doors too swiftly to see more than the most obvious and prominent things. For observing nature, the best pace is a snail's pace." -- Edwin Way Teale

The sound of water being pushed from the hull of your boat in the early morning is music to a Lowcountry boater. In recent years, more and more boaters and anglers have left the noise and fumes of outboard power behind. With the popularity of kayaks, the mystery of backwater creeks and forgotten waterways are being discovered once again. If you have an itch for adventure, perhaps give kayaking a go -- you slip into a much more natural time and rhythm when you do.

The S.C. Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail extends 295 miles through the Carolina Sea Islands, past the port of Charleston, along the Grand Strand, and ends on the North Carolina border. The section offers diversity of tidal waters, marshlands and swamps to barrier islands, dunes and beaches. Many areas of interest are accessible, including old forts, plantations, fishing villages, port cities, resorts and wildlife areas.

If your interest has piqued, get on with the challenge and give kayaking a try. If your challenge has not been satisfied, perhaps a new technique is due.


Oldfield Plantation in Okatie will be the site of a fly fishing expo this Saturday. The day will feature presentations, seminars, demonstrations and activities with some of the Lowcountry and Southeast's premier fly fishing instructors, guides and professionals.

Presenters and Instructors include: Dusty Sprague (FFF Master Fly Casting Instructor), David Murray (Orvis Casting Instructor), Capt. David Cargile (FFF Fly Casting Instructor), Capt. Charlie Beadon (Oldfield Guide and FFF Fly Casting Instructor), Marvin Bouknight (Oldfield Naturalist, Photographer and Author), Capt. Tuck Scott (Bay Street Outfitters Head Guide, Orvis Endorsed Saltwater Guide, and Orvis Instructor).

Gain knowledge and benefit from one-on-one casting instructions to add a new dimension to your fishing experience.

Details: Bay Street Outfitters 843-524-5250.


If deep-water excursions and adventure is more to your liking, there is a free tool available to make outings safer and more rewarding.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council announced the release of a federal fishing regulations mobile app. The free application highlights fishing regulations, as well as species and rules governing what to keep and what to release.

The app is available for iPhone and Android, and offers a searchable map for waters of the South Atlantic Region -- North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and the East coast of Florida.

Among the app's features are species identification with illustrations, bag limits, size limits and specific regulation requirements. The program has guides for measuring and links to fishery management contacts and state fishery regulations.

Stay up to date, and find instructions to download the app at


Many people set benchmarks that designate a goal they wish to achieve. One of the greatest disappointments in life occurs by not making an effort.

Stay away from the political, refrain from divine debates of right and wrong. Get to know yourself and your surroundings -- you will be a much better person whether you reach your destination or not.

The Lowcountry is a blessing for those who appreciate all it has to offer. The optimism of things to come makes the setting of anticipation much sweeter.