Cast & Blast

How a Lowcountry fisherman managed to “redirect” the winter blahs

Waddell Mariculture Center’s new director Erin Levesque in front of cobia tank in the remodeled “wet lab”
Waddell Mariculture Center’s new director Erin Levesque in front of cobia tank in the remodeled “wet lab” Special to The Island Packet/ The Beaufort Gazette

Unlike so many winters where I get the winter blahs, this year I am doing pretty darn well. Even though almost every one I talk to is begging for mercy from these dreaded blahs.

With spring only two or three weeks away, I’ll make it with very few scrapes and bruises because this winter I “redirected” myself.

My first “redirection” came as I was approached by a publisher and asked to be one of four writers in a new book. Flattered, I repeatedly asked “are you sure you want me?” Blame it on my insecurity, but after the sixth time asking “are you sure?” I started in. It was fun but the hardest part was putting an ending to the essay. I swear I could have filled enough pages to match the book “War and Peace.”

My second “redirection” was self-inflicted — to try to pull off a second “Run for the Bulls” dolphin tournament. When I say dolphin, I mean mahi-mahi, not `ol lovable Flipper.

Hosted by Wexford Plantation last year, tides and other issues meant I had to find another venue and then try to find sponsors to make the $20,000 first prize happen. Unique in that it is limited to the first 30 boats to enter and with that much money at stake, it isn’t an easy sell. I can’t think of another tournament anywhere with a 20 grand payout that doesn’t rely on 100 or more boats.

When I met with the Harbour Town Yacht Basin staff, the stars must have been just so because they jumped on it. For me it was a double-edged sword. Have participated many moons ago in all of the Sea Pines billfish tournaments, it was exciting to once again have a tournament out of Harbour Town. The sharper edge of the sword was now having to come up with deep pocket sponsors. Thankfully Bass Pro Shops and our own Hilton Head Boathouse, both last year’s key sponsors, stepped up to the plate again. Scheduled for Saturday, May 11, the 2019 “Run for the Bulls” is on!

So why go through so much time or trouble for a tournament? That answer is easy for me because a portion of all proceeds go to the Waddell Mariculture Center, by far one of this area’s most precious assets.

The work there is key to keeping our waters clean and educating both the public and upcoming marine biologists while breeding and stocking our waters with our most popular gamefish such as trout, redfish and cobia.

Hopefully the money raised will help complete desperately needed renovations that are nearly finished.

Lastly, I want to use the awards ceremony to introduce Waddell’s new director Erin Leveque to locals and, if everything comes together, hand her a big, fat check.

Many of us knew recently retired director Al Stokes as the face of Waddell and though he still around in the bushes, Erin is the new face of Waddell.

Information on the tournament will be posted shortly but if you want to get your boat on the short list, e-mail me at cdad@hiltonheadisland.net.

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