How I’m Becoming an Occasional Fisherman. The year 2015 has not been a good experience when it comes to time on the water, and I’m becoming an occasional fisherman. Considering that the prior five years it was very common to spend over 100 days a year fishing at Santee Cooper Lakes. We had a camper set up permanently at Taw Caw Campground and Marina. We loved visiting there a few times a month where we would spend 4 or 5 quality days on the water trying to find some of those famous Santee Bass. I personally enjoyed sitting on the porch in the evenings just listing to nature and then taking my late night walk just to get a good place to see the stars. During this time, my old Ranger got quite a workout and even a few bruises from the stump laden waters. It was amazing that a boat over 20 years old never experienced an engine failure and always brought us home safe and sound.
Aside from a few trips to the Cooper River with my friend Terry Gibson and my annual visit to Lake Norman for the Ultimate Bass Rally, all of my fishing was at Santee. I’ll admit, it was getting a bit repetitive. My wife and I started thinking it was time to make some changes. We were getting older, and those trips to the lake were expensive and a bit of a drain on our limited finances. We decided just to go ahead and sell our camper. We thought we would just take the boat back to the beach and start fishing in the Waccamaw River. Surprisingly we sold the camper almost immediately. We did not think this would happen so quickly but unfortunately or fortunately, depending upon how you look at it, the sale was a done deal.
While all of this was going on, I had taken the boat to a local service shop for a routine spring tune up. The motor had not exhibited any issues, and no problems were anticipated. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Water in the lower unit led to a replacement of seals and bushings. Only then to be told the drive shaft appears to have a problem. Soon I was told the only chance the motor had was to replace the drive shaft, and I agreed. A couple weeks later the boat was ready to be picked up. I retrieved the boat from the dealer and drove immediately to the launch ramp. This is when it happened. The motor ran for about ten minutes and then seized up. I took it back to the service shop, and they immediately pronounced the motor was beyond repair. I instructed them to button it up and I just took it home. Now I had to face the cost of a repower or a rebuild or just get another boat. I then received a phone call from our friends at Anglers Choice Marine. They came and picked up the boat and took it to their shop where they replaced the power head and returned the boat to me here at the beach. From the beginning of the initial service event until now has been an elapsed time of over three months. This was prime fishing weather, so I would just have to do what I could until the fall bite would come into play.
We truly enjoyed our visits to our new home water. Although we were still learning about the river system and a few of the nuances of fishing tidal water, it was really fun as well as being very convenient. For the first time, the boat was here, and we could be on the water with less than a single mile trailer trip. Yep, this is going to be a reasonable alternative to Santee. Then it happened again. The steering cables seized up so tight I could barely turn the wheel. Well hells bells, now what. Now the time of the year is September, and here we are with yet another boat problem. Since we had plans for some other activities, we just parked the boat at our storage lot and decided we would take care of this issue a bit later. Our plans included a trip to Guntersville to attend the Ultimate Bass Rally. Then a trip to West Virginia to visit my Wife’s family and finally a trip to Lake Norman for the Ultimate Bass Rally. In the middle of all this the rains came to our area and created record flood conditions so even if the boat was working it was not safe to go to the river.
Becoming an Occasional Fisherman Getting Back To Fishing
I don’t know how many days I fished this past year but for sure it wasn’t many. I would say probably less than 15 days total between the rally events and the local river visits. So I guess you could say this year I have become an occasional fisherman. Hopefully, 2016 will be better. I will have the steering cables replaced, put in some new trolling batteries, and hope like hell nothing else breaks. All I know is that I am not willing to stop fishing at this time. We will continue to plug along the best we can and with a bit of luck, next year will be a whole lot more fun. We still believe we have a lot of fishing still left in us and look forward to our adventures on the water for a few more years. I will officially turn 70 next month and begin my 71st year with all the optimism of a youngster heading to the pond on his bicycle with his buddies. The thrill is never gone. I hope you guys have the same joy as you plan your fishing adventures for 2016. Don’t forget the multiple rally events being held and if possible you might want to come and play with the rest of you Ultimate Bass friends.
“It ain’t over till it’s over”