Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Winter Redfish in the Christie Belle

Took the My skiff, the Christie Belle out on the river...  Found some nice redfish in one of my usual spots...  I had my oldest daughter as my fishing partner and we had an amazing day.  Redfish were biting, trout were biting and it was just an amazing couple days on the water.

We worked the grass edges and were throwing Eye Strike Texas Eye jigs with a yellow eye and a Z-Man Purple Death paddle tail.

Its been a long time since my daughter and I went fishing.  As usual, she out fished me hands down.  I am so proud of her and so glad we got the time.

In August I purchased a Gheenoe Custom Glass Works LT25.  This boat is amazing.  16ft long, 56inches at the beam and drafting 5 inches according to the website but I have had her floating in 3 inches solo.  The Sixteen inch free-board transom has a 20hp Tohatsu 4-stroke bolted down and she runs like a dream.  Carves turns like a chefs knife and jumps on plane like an F-16 taking to the sky.

This is the first boat I have ever owned.  I have grown up running boats of friends and from sailing with my Uncle and running flats skiffs while fishing with friends, I may be a little biased but this is by far my favorite boat.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lowcountry Lab Rescue and my new Furry Best Friend

I had the best dog on the planet.  She was a yellow lab named Daisy and she was my best furry buddy.  This past April at 14 years old she crossed the rainbow bridge and left a gaping hole in my heart.   I have been more depressed than usual in these past months and never thought I would be able to open my heart again to another Lab.  Then as I was scrolling through Facebook my Wife tagged me in a photo of a Lab up for recuse through Lowcountry Lab Rescue (LLR). His name is Dublin.  It was the first time since April that I had even paused to look at a Lab or any other dog.   Something spoke to me and I don’t why I stopped and looked into him.  After seeing his pictures and reading about him, something was yelling at me to go get his dog, but I just blew it off. SOMEONE would snatch him up before I could even apply.  

A week went by and I looked again and he was still there.  My wife said I should apply for him.  We don’t have a fenced in yard so I thought for sure they would say no but I applied anyways.  Three grueling days went by and after a very intensive background check, yes folks they REALLY do check you out, I was finally approved as an adopter for LLR.  I immediately checked and Dublin was STILL there so I asked about him. I still had this nagging dread he would be gone before I could get him.  I just knew we would hit it off given the chance…  A few more days and I got the e-mail that I was approved to meet and possibly take Dublin for a two-week trial period!  

Dublin was with a foster family up in Greenville, a paltry three-hour drive from me.  On Tuesday, I called and spoke to his foster Mom, Gretchen, and she told me all about him.  He was picked up as a stray and she, through LLR, picked him up from animal control.  She told me he was a mess, and that he was covered in fleas and ticks and looked pretty sad, but he was calm and a good dog while the vet techs scoped him out, gave him all his shots and micro-chipped him.   He never complained and was just so mellow.  She took him home and he started to settle in to a life of love and being taken care of.   Our plan was my daughter and wife would go up on Thursday to get him.  I had to work and really wanted to go but I couldn’t.  All Tuesday night I could not get all the great things Gretchen told me about him out of my head and I barely got any sleep.   I went to work but was so distracted it was hard to function.  I did work a half day before my schedule allowed me to go home early.  

As I walked in the door my wife looked at me and said, “You know its only three hours to get there right?” with a smile.  

I immediately contacted his foster Mom and asked her if we could come get him that day.  It was fine with her and we hit the road.  I was so excited.  As the miles clicked away and we got closer the more excited I got.  We finally arrived and met Dublin.  He was a happy Lab and looked magnificent.  The two months in foster care had done him well.  We all sat and talked as I petted him and his foster moms other two labs.  We went outside and watched him chase a ball.  As I watched him play it was like I was watching my Daisy all over again.  

We went back inside and I signed the papers that said we would take him for a trial, knowing full well this was my new furry best friend, and we loaded up for the ride home.  He hopped right in the truck and found his seat in the back and sat there, smiling and wagging his tail.    The entire ride home he watched out the windows, tail wagging, or he napped.   When we did get home, the other dogs we have instantly greeted him.  He wasn’t all that sure what to do.  After a few minutes of sniffing and a few sideways looks the other dogs started playing and he just laid down and watched.  I went into the living room and sat down. He jumped up on the couch next to me and snuggled up against me, a smile on his face and tail wagging.  Our other dogs came by and sniffed and he didn’t look happy, but everything was so new.   When bedtime came around he hopped up on the bed and curled up at my feet and went right to sleep like that was his spot all along.    This was the best night of sleep I have had in a long time.   He has been my shadow since he came home and as I write this he is curled up next to my desk, napping and snoring.  

We explored the yard the next day and he looked at the pond and looked at me.  I unclipped his leash and he was off to the races.  He jumped in and swam around, his otter tail behind him steering and his paws just swimming along.  He stepped out of the water and shook himself off and came right back to me.  

It’s been a few days now and I have told LLR I want to keep Dublin.  We have bonded and it’s like he has been with me our whole lives.  I can’t wait to finish the papers and get him his new collar that is HIS.   As I write this all I can think of is what a great organization Lowcountry Lab Rescue is.  

From their website:  

Lowcountry Lab Rescue (LLR) is a 501(c)(3) animal welfare organization that rescues and re-homes stray and unwanted Labrador Retrievers from life-threatening situations. LLR promotes responsible Labrador ownership through breed education and spay and neuter advocacy to prevent abandonment and homelessness of Labrador Retrievers.”

They are an all-volunteer organization rescuing Labrador Retrievers from all over South Carolina that are in danger of being put to sleep for various reasons including something as simple as the dog is black incolor.  This includes everything from requiring medical care needed that is greater than a shelter can offer to just a lack of space at a shelter.  They are the only Labrador breed specific rescue group in the entire state.  

While LLR does not take in owner surrenders, they do have a vast network through the shelters and will do what they can to help any Lab that needs help. 

While LLR is not an end all be all answer for all unwanted Labs they do what they can.  You can find their website HERE and you can look at how you can help this great breed and the abandoned and unwanted ones.  You can donate money to them, knowing full well 100% of the donation goes to helping the Labs.  With some training you could become a foster family for these Labs, or you can volunteer time other ways.  If you are travelling from one part of the state to Charleston, there may be Labs that need a ride here to meet a Furever Family.  They are always looking for help with event planning, PR and Marketing, and business partners.   All these options and more info are on their website HERE.  

If you are looking to fill a hole in your heart, a new best friend or a great companion I urge you to check out Lowcountry Lab Rescue and you too may find the Lab that you were meant to be with.  

PS:  As of this date the final contract has been signed and he is officially a Bergmann now.  He has been fully adopted into the Pack and is learning how to play more and more every day.  He is a shining spot in my life and filled a small part of the hole left there by Daisy. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Green Goo First Aid Salve

One of the things I always have in my bug out bag, hiking pack, tackle box or range bag is a good first aid kit.  You never know when you will need it or someone near you might.    Recently I was turned onto a new spot of first aid gear to check out.  Green Goo First Aid Salve. 

According to the Green Goo by Sierra Sage web site, “Green Goo First Aid salve is a power packed homeopathic formula that helps aid the body's own healing abilities. Replacing over 20 traditionally used first aid items, this salve is the first defense for cuts, scrapes, blisters, sunburns, chafing, poison ivy and cracked hands & feet.   It helps to relieve the itch and sting of insect bites and can be used as a wound dressing. First Aid salve is a perfect all-purpose, carry-it-with-you powerhouse.  It helps with Insect Bites, Cuts and Scrapes, Cracked Hands, Poison Ivy, Cold Sores, Sunburns, Chapped lips, Blisters, Ingrown toenails and Chafing.”

I have used it on some scrapes and small cuts and it does seem to help and relieve the discomfort.  While this is not a one fix for all first aid kit it is a great addition to any outdoors kit and handy to keep in the house.  Green Goo first aid salve replaces over 25 items in your First Aid kit like Neosporin, Hydrocortisone, Calamine lotion for Poison Ivy, any anti-itch, anti-fungal creams.  We all know space is a premium in the pack so having a product like this really helps out lightening the load.  

Green Goo is safe for you, your children and your pets including but not limited to dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, horses, cattle and I am sure ferrets and hamsters probably do ok with it. 
Made from natural and organic ingredients like olive and sunflower oil, plantain, chickweed, chaparral, St. John’s wort, yarrow, sage, beeswax. It also includes essential oils of lavender and rosemary, it even smells good.  

Besides first aid products Green Goo has a line-up of other products to fit every aspect of your life.   All natural soaps, natural deodorants, skin care products, sunblock, tattoo care and even stuff for pets are some of the products they offer. 

I have been pretty happy with the samples I have used. I thought it was just for first aid but realized that while it is a great first aid kit addition it has many other uses.  You should head over to the website, check out their offerings and give them a try.   

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Trash fish are not just trash

As a fly fisherman that predominately is a catch and release fisherman, I hate hearing the phrase “trash fish”.   The definition is, “a fish having little or no market value as human food”.   That does not mean they can’t be eaten.  Saltwater trash fish like the Lion Fish have been found to be quite the tasty table fare.  VERY careful preparation is required for these fish’s venomous spines though.  Stingrays are always getting in the way of Redfish and Sea Trout but they are actually pretty good eating.  The rumors of them being pawned off as scallops is still out for debate but they are tasty.  Most of the fish that fall into this category need a little more preparation to be eaten but are still good for the table. 

In sweet-water fishing, Gar, Carp, Bowfin, Pickerel or “Jackfish”, are some of the top names associated to this moniker.  Personally I like to target these fish.  They usually put up a hell of a fight and can really put your gear to the test on a fly rod.  After a quick picture I release them to swim and fight again. 

In past years I have seen a lot of groups stage tournaments around some of these fish.  Bringing anglers together to support a great cause or charity or just to have fun.  I have tangled with Gar on the fly and it is a blast!  The Gar Bros Collective is a group of folks that all love the chase and share tips and tricks on catching these pre-historic fish.  

One of the things I hate to see is a gar floating by with its beak broken off or laid up on the bank, tossed there because someone “hates trash fish”, or seeing a big carp tossed into the rocks to rot away.  Trash fish are not the sexy fish everyone wants.  Largemouth Bass are the kings of sweet-water and people will go out of their way to make sure they are not harmed if they choose not to keep them.  Why not other fish.  Gar and Bowfin love the same food as bass and can get in the way or a bass fisherman’s limit for a tournament or day of fishing but take these guys for what they are.  A fun fight and let them swim on their way.  I have lost many flies to bowfin, it was frustrating at first then it became a personal challenge.  

If you enjoy the fight of a fish, I encourage folks to give them a shot as a game fish.  Look for them and try to catch them.  In my humble opinion a Gar on the fly fights five-times harder than any bass I have caught and to me is a lot more fun.  So remember those of us who love these fish and let ‘em swim when you catch them.