Tag Archives: black drum

The bonehead and another fishless trip …


What was it that Forrest Gump said? If memory serves me it was ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’

I can relate.

And don’t ask why I mention a recovery period twice and in two different manners. Letter writing must not be an exact science. But refer again to the Gump quote.


April 10, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Sometimes your dad is just a complete bonehead, and last night was one of those all-too-frequent times. Sondra and Jody invited me to watch the final round of the Masters with them, and when I was leaving and with a clear head after only a couple of glasses of wine, your knucklehead of a father inadvertently backed his car into a tree, giving his left rear bumper a good indentation even though the car was hardly moving. What an idiot, moron, klutz. I just couldn’t believe it. It’s just so irritating. Geez.

Well, knock on wood, but the Medicare thing has at long last moved through the pipeline. Finally, my Part B insurance is restored and the surgery is scheduled for this Friday morning at 9:00. That would give me ample time to heal completely (about six weeks to full activity) and still get in adequate shape for the Bridger Wilderness. Man, this whole process has taken a long time. The Social Security and Medicare systems are just big bureaus that move at their own pace. They’ve got tens of millions of ‘customers’ and it just takes a while to move through the snake. I’ll keep you posted on how Friday goes down.

Since the surgery appears to be set in stone, I’ll celebrate with a final short trip to Charleston to put the boat in the water and fish since it would be my final time on the water for quite a few weeks (4 – 6 according to the hernia literature). Miss Emma and I journeyed down last week and snagged a few nice black drum toward the end of the day so it wasn’t a total bust. There was kind of a different ending to the excursion, however. As is my custom, I gave one of the big drum to one of the black oystermen, and he in turn gave me 25 lbs. of what they call South Carolina oyster clusters.

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Not even a picturesque and fully-rigged Miss Emma could bring her handler any good fish karma on a beautiful day outside Charleston. Skunked again.

Since the fish need to go on ice, my routine is to stop at a nearby gas station for a 10 lb. bag of ice. When I pulled in there was a guy parked near me with what appeared to be a full load of beer in the open hatch of his SUV. I made an offhand comment as I walked by that ‘I need one of those,’ referring to the numerous six packs and cases in plain view. As I got to the car, he said ‘what do you drink?’ I said ‘anything’ and he proceeded to walk over a six pack of IPA. After we shook hands and exchanged ‘thank yous,’ as he turned away I told him to hold on a minute: ‘Do you like oysters?’ and he replied ‘you bet.’ I opened Camry’s trunk and handed over the bag of fresh clusters, in what seemed like a pretty fair trade for both sides. In turn, he gave me even more beer since he worked for Stone Brewery. The two six packs and another separate large bottle of amber ale when into the trunk and off I went. It’s never dull down there in terms of the people one meets. That’s what’s so very fun about the whole down-and-back thing. I’ll miss it immensely during the rehab.

The idea of a book continues to gel. It’s gaining a critical mass. I dream about it, think about it and on occasion talk to myself about it. Some of that owes to the TED Talks inquiry. The specter of that made me put two and two together and begin to consider how this narrative might go down. Since there won’t be any heavy lifting or golf or walking or fishing or YMCA perhaps there will be ample time to built in at a coffee shop to sit comfortably in loose clothing and write, of which I make scarcely enough time for anyway. I write for you two and a few others and that’s about the extent of it. My mentor, a guy named Don whom both of you met when you were toddlers, is a very successful author of journalism books and he might be willing to lend an ear and grace me with his advice. He and I just reconnected and my intent is to ask him.

Okay, you two. Over and out. I’m off to the store and to contemplate bird feeders for the birthday girls. Two will be sent in short order.

Love, Dad

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Patience is running out – I mean the patience of Ellen and Reid


It’s been a total, complete, patience-testing grind as far as the house sale and move to the Midwest are concerned. The kids have to be on the margins of fatigue; they’ve seen me whine and moan about it in the weekly letters for months on end. They’ve got to be as tired of reading about it as I am writing about it.

But all the stewing and fretting is about to come to an abrupt end. More on that next week.


February 13, 2017

Ellen/Reid: I dunno, this house thing is taking on a personality of the macabre. A flurry of visitors last week after the new listing but now nothing. There was a low ball bid from an investor looking for easy pickings but the offer was rejected out of hand. I have faith in the new Realtor. He thinks when a townhouse across the way closes sometime soon at $400,000 it will change the landscape entirely and will be the comp we need.

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It’s very old keeping the house spic & span for the few lookers who’ve paid a visit. But that’s all about to come to a screeching halt.

We’ll see. I was sitting out on the front steps yesterday wondering how this has come to this point. But my chin is still up. I keep my fingers crossed but they’ve been crossed for so long we can only hope they don’t freeze in that position.

Saw six deer foraging out back yesterday morning including one large doe that had some sort of bad rear leg injury. It was everything the poor thing could do to hobble along with the rest of the herd. Probably got dinged by a car over on Sharon View. With the coyotes around she probably will enter the food chain in fairly short order.

It was nearly 80F here yesterday. Some sort of record high. Could’ve played golf but the stinging rebuke from the sad round the day before was still with me. My skills are eroding and fast. It’s not the loss of distance that bugs me. It’s not hitting the ball solid.

Really had to work hard at Charleston last week. When a full moon tide is in effect, it’s like paddling against the current of a major river. At one point we reached the confluence of tidal current from two different branches of King Flats Creek and we literally paddled in place. Plus there was a harsh in-our-face wind that exacerbated things. It was really a grind. But I suppose that’s what makes the sport what it is. You have a paddle and you use it. My mindset on the drive down – knowing the conditions would be this way – was just to hang in there and get through it. I was also comfortable with the idea there might not be anything caught. But Miss Emma (I love that little boat) stuck with me and we landed a bunch of nice reds. What’s really fun is to see the expressions of the black oystermen when you ask them “Hey, how about a fish?” They work so hard for their share of oyster clusters. Nice to share the bounty. It truly is.

We head down again this Wednesday. I’ll cook for 20 on Friday and have got to make sure there’s enough redfish and black drum in the freezer. People have their pick of fish or steak. The menu will be slightly blackened fish with a fresh salsa topping that’s a spin off of Cowboy Caviar. Or, I’ll marinade several flank steaks for about 72 hours for the grill. I’m hoping to run into Mr. Richard during our voyage and if we catch enough of anything, we can swap a red or two for 40-50 pounds of oysters which would make for a fabulous grilled appetizer Friday night. People have been instructed to bring a side dish. I’ll bake some bread and whip up roasted brussels sprouts with garlic and pine nuts and keep that in reserve as needed. There’ll be sautéed shrimp, too.

Reid, watch for a call from my golf friend Luke. He’s an Irishman who founded a very successful IT company with 100+ employees that does business in the States and the UK. He’s got a strong entrepreneurial side that you might find interesting and he knows the ins-and-outs of the industry you’re trying to break into. He’s a great thinker/doer with a high energy threshold. And make sure you call Tom and Gene since it’s a little embarrassing for them to keep asking me when you’ll be in contact. They’re all good businessmen who have so much more to offer than the tepid ideas and encouragement you keep hearing from your mother and your old man.

Alright, enough. Ellen, I’ll see you and the girls and Tim next week. I’ll work the weight machines this week so I can have the strength to help you move. Can’t wait to see your new place.

Love, Dad

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When both sides of the coin are tails … getting real about housing, a close call in Charleston and presidential politics …


Man, there’s just no relief from one week to another these days. If it’s not housing it’s job seeking and if it’s not a close call in Charleston it’s distressing presidential politics. There are no breaks in the action.

But it’s all in a day’s work as far as the weekly letters are concerned. That’s one of the nice things – the real, down to earth things – that I like about letters. Ellen and Reid see both sides of the coin. Even if sometimes both sides seem to be tails.


January 16, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Well, I’ll have a come-to-Jesus meeting this afternoon with my Realtor. Since the listing expired 10 days ago, I’ve been flooded with 25-30 calls and a like number of mailings from other agents knocking on the door. She wants me to re-up but at a lower price point. I’ll need her assurance that more agents from the big company will troop through here. But I won’t automatically re-list with her. Another Realtor from a very small company will meet with me tomorrow and he has some intriguing ideas while not dropping the price nearly as much. He thought the Oct.-Nov.-Dec. timeframe was the absolute worst period of the year, what with the holidays and all. One thing I’m not willing to do is sink a lot of bucks into the place just for some sort of makeover. I want them to sell to the inherit strengths of the place, not just the decor. Otherwise they’d be asking me to spend money in what amounts to a guessing game as to what someone else prefers. Ellen, Tim makes a point to just lower the price and get the hell out of here. Let’s hope it happens.

Reid, no doubt you see your mom and I as thorns in your side about work. But don’t let us put you automatically on the defensive about it. There’s got to be some employer out there that would value you. All it takes is that first step, that first resume out the door, that first phone call or get-to-know-me coffee, etc. Give yourself a goal of two contacts/resumes sent per day. It’ll move you off the dime and give yourself a sense of progress. You’ve got that spiffy MS under your belt. Make the most of it. Hell, I’d camp at the DePaul job office if that’s what it takes. Since you’re now a DePaul alumni, does it make sense to attend some alumni gatherings to circulate among the faithful? Chicago probably has some affinity to take care of its own, doesn’t it?

Close call last week in Charleston. The anchor line that trolleys the anchor back and forth along the boat broke and there was no way to repair it without retreating to the shore. So I paddled over to the broken up dock at the barge, Reid, and the boat suddenly slid out from under me as I scrambled awkwardly to get atop the wood. All of a sudden I’m chest deep in 10 feet of water while clinging to the dock. I was wearing rubber boots and without my PFD I would’ve gone down like a stone.

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My anchor was a lifeline attached to an oyster-encrusted stanchion on the barge where only moments before I thrashed in chest deep salt water when Miss Emma slipped out from under me.

I worked my way around the dock to an oyster bed and was able to get onto the angled dock to empty my boots and take stock of what the hell just happened. Miss Emma drifted over to a nearby tidal creek otherwise I’m in for a long, long walk back to the put-in spot. So I retrieved her and was back in the saddle. Mercifully it was a warm day so this drowned rat dried out pretty quickly. What a moron. But it’s further proof that the salt water, not the kayaker, rules. It was quite the sticky predicament when I first went under. A couple of nice size black drum made the trip home with us. Otherwise, not much was boated.

I guess there’s no denying we’ll be in for adventurous next four years, and that’s not said with a lot of optimism. He seems to see the U.S. as one big deal making opportunity. Yeah, he can badger some firms with his tactics, but where’s the strategy in that? Already the Europeans are thumbing their noses at him. Even if I had a TV I wouldn’t turn on the inauguration. He’s really a punk but he’ll bring a new, harsher definition to the term ‘bully pulpit.’ Hopefully, he’ll offend a larger and larger circle of people to his detriment. What’s particularly worrisome, however, is his ‘screw you’ approach to health care. How can he and the heartless GOP shove tens of millions of people out in the cold and effectively abandon them? I’d like to think the electorate will eviscerate these hoodlums at the mid term elections but somehow their spin machine will be in full-spin mode. I won’t be holding my breath.

Love, Dad

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A stale house and the idiot …


You could chalk it up to shorter, darker days or cold and clammy weather or other seasonal affective disorders but damn, these past couple of months have been pure hooey.

Much of the disarray/disfunction and gloom-and-doom is utterly self-inflicted. There’s been a smattering of good news here and there, but geez, enough already. A ray of sunshine, though, is Reid and I connect in 10 days. And not a moment too soon.

(My note: no doubt you notice typos in the letters. This week’s one pager is no exception. I seldom re-read a letter as it is written. If a mistake is noticed as I type, it is fixed on the fly. Otherwise, after 10 or 15 minutes of writing, the pages are printed and are out the proverbial door. No effort is made to correct the errors for the blog. What was mailed is what you see, warts and all.)


December 5, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Well, there was one bright spot in a weekend otherwise marked by recuperating from a cold and sore throat; there were visitors very interested in the house but they have to sell their home first and their hope is my place is still available if/when their home finds a buyer. We can only wish that would become true. At this point I’m so close to the forest I can’t see the trees in terms of what needs to be done next to make the place marketable or at least draw more lookers. Until the visitors Saturday, there was some thought to yanking the listing lest it be seen as stale or viewed as a home with something wrong.

Ellen, glad to help on the mirror for the girl’s bathroom and the zoo. Reid, let me know what you want; Harvard Business Review or something else. And if anything remains on your most-wanted list, let me know that, too. Not a lot of attention was paid to Black Friday and all that other shopping hoopla. Just another excuse to spend money.

Alas, the tree isn’t up yet. That was on this weekend’s bucket list but I just didn’t have much energy to get off the couch. It’ll go up sometime this week. Reid, I take the car in later today for service that should prep it for the trek to Florida in a couple of weeks. I re-upped my Florida non-resident fishing license yesterday so Miss Emma and I can hit the saltwater if there’s any time to do so in the midst of the Christmas visit. Just let Liz know I’m very appreciative of the kind offer to intrude on her family time.

My good friends Sondra and Jody and Ted will head down to Hilton Head to use the timeshare, which is reserved Dec. 24-31. Reid, I will likely shove off from Marco Island on the 26th so I can join them for a few days on the way home from Florida. Since we have to check out on New Year’s Eve, the thinking is we’ll gravitate to Savannah or Charleston for the Dec. 31 celebration. We’re not sure which as of yet. It’ll be nice to have people use the unit rather than let it sit idle. This whole time share thing has kind of gotten out of control; I’ve been thinking of selling my share in the unit but am uncertain of how to go about it. Really, it has been completely squandered in terms of use over the past decade. Hilton Head has been so close yet so far. What an idiot.

I made another idiotic mistake earlier this summer on my Medicare for retirees. Just before I left to see you guys and drive on to Wyoming, a notice came from Social Security and I didn’t even open it, thinking it could wait for my return. Wrong. It was a payment notice for my monthly Medicare expense – and I missed the deadline and my Medicare Part A (medical insurance) was cancelled. Now, as a penalty, I have to wait for open enrollment in January with coverage not set to resume until July, 2017. I just couldn’t be more stupid and have kicked/cursed myself repeatedly over the past few days. Bob F., whose been counseling people on Medicare and Social Security, thinks I can appeal the error and I’ll try to do that this week. It has just been a complete downer that I brought upon myself.

On the flip side, it’s been great to get down to Charleston for fishing. It really is the best time of year to do go after fish. The cooler waters has tended to draw them in from the open ocean and they also tend to school a bit more at this time of year.

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Can fish be friends? A bright spot for me has been the down-and-back escapades to Charleston to fish for beauties like this slot black drum. With a kiss on the snout and a shove into the drink, most of these biggies return to King Flats Creek.

That’s the real deal, finding the schools and that’s where the structure like the barge is a big help. Hopefully if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll head down this Wednesday for another stab at it. It really is fun. Tim sent me a YouTube clip about tailing reds south of Charleston and from what could be seen, Miss Emma and I are on waters very close to it. If they tide cooperates, I’ll loosen myself from the barge long enough to paddle into the shallows to see what we might find. It would be great to see tails swooshing around, let alone have something bite.

Love, Dad

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Oh, for a beer to go with oysters – a by-product of generosity and a delicacy on the grill …


Salt water fishing is a recurring theme in my letters. 

I like it so much I wonder why it took so long – eight years – to cast my first line in the inshore waters south of Charleston. The total investment is upwards of $4,000 in a kayak and associated gear – not to mention the travel and early morning departures to pursue red fish and black drum and speckled sea trout. It’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. And that means Ellen and Reid often – too often? – read about the all-too-frequent and goofy/poor skills fishing mistakes as well as the triumphs. 

But that’s why I write weekly letters – so they can know what I’m up to and why – even if it reveals my obsession with the Salt Life.


November 28, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Reid, thanks for the invitation to join you and Liz for Christmas at Marco Island. Sounds like fun, and I’ll be there for sure. That sounds like about the right length of time for a visit without overstaying my welcome. Keep me posted on the fishing charter. That will make a bit of difference when I arrive. Miss Emma will drive down with me. I may stick around in another part of Florida or head up to Louisiana to try the red fish up that way. Tim keeps saying how good it is and that might be the time to give it a go since we’ll be in the general vicinity.

Really have done well the last couple of weeks of fishing. Lots of reds (for a change) and big black drum. When not anchored at the barge I still have trouble catching anything in waters that are still a bit tricky to me. It seems you have to fish when the tide is headed out or by oyster beds. What seems to bite the most in the channels are the speckled trout which are, by the way, a truly delicious fish. The tactic to use is a popping cork, a rig with a sliding bobber about two feet above the hook. There are some plastic beads that make noise when the bobber slides back and forth, ostensibly attracting fish to the noise. Caught a nice flounder by surprise on it for the first time last week.

Came upon a trove of fresh oysters on Thanksgiving Day as a result of some dual generosity. I’ve gotten to know an older oysterman, Richard, and gave him a spare redfish a couple of weeks ago, for which he was most appreciative. While the reds were really biting last week – even for this hapless fisherman – he was across the salt creek working hard at an oyster bed and I gave him a yell to see if he wanted a red.

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Here’s my take home pay the week after Thanksgiving; a trifecta of black drum, red fish and speckled sea trout. On T-Day, two red fish didn’t make the trip home with Miss Emma and me; they stayed behind with the oystermen.

He nodded ‘yes’ and when his local harvest was done, he and his crew mate came over to retrieve the 19” drum. When the fish was transferred to his flat boat, the boat hand surprised me by dumping a bushel of oysters, maybe 40-50 pounds worth, in the back of Miss Emma, nearly pushing our stern underwater. That gesture was worth another fish so now they each had a nice drum in their boat and I had big, juicy oysters. The three of us sat there for awhile as Richard pried open a bunch of the shellfish for our de facto Thanksgiving meal. ‘Oh, for a beer,’ I said and we all laughed. After the fishing was done and the boat was loaded atop the car, I poured the oysters into one of the rugged, untearable 35 gallon plastic sacks Richard uses to deliver oysters to a few top-end restaurants in downtown Charleston as well as the diner right there are the Bowens Island put in point. The oysters were covered in mud so when I got home in early evening I dumped the contents of the bag onto the driveway and washed them down as best I could and put them on ice in the cooler than held slot fish: two red drum, three black drum, and one trout and flounder each.

We roasted the bi-valves on the grill over the weekend, and holy cow, what a feast. They were just incredible.

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Toss South Carolina oysters on the grill for 8 – 9 minutes, open a cold one and some cocktail sauce – now that’s some fine eating. It’s no tough task to open the bi-valves. Their shells wedge open during the roasting, putting the salty, succulent meat within easy reach.

The first night I overcooked them a bit – their shells tend to pop when really hot – but the second time they came out just perfect. Not bad with a beer and some horse radish. Since the fishing should still be good, Miss Emma and I will head to the barge one day this week and my salt water license also covers the collection of oysters. I’ll use a brick to jar them from the pillars near the barge and other open oyster beds. That will double the fun.

Here are a couple of fragrant eucalyptus leaves from a tree along my daily route. In the early darkness on Saturday and Sunday I’ll pluck a sweet smelling leaf from the tree and crush the aromatic foliage in my fingers just for the heck of it. Adds a little zest to the walk. Emma should like that fragrance. Thanks, Ellen, for Face Timing the girls with me. Love it.

Okay, over and out. Don’t be too late to get me your Christmas lists. ASAP. Stat. Pronto. As for me, it should be the usual – nothing. Really, there’s nothing I want or need. Other than a house sale but no way you can assist on that front.

Love, Dad

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Of letters, black drum, shared bounty and the Trump effect …


I like to write letters for a lot of reasons. (If you want a one page note, tell me. I’ll send you one. As for subject matter, that’s TBA.)

There is something to the tensile strength of paper in your hands. It’s tangible and real, not some ethereal thing floating loosely out somewhere in cyber space. 

Letters are also a thought process – even if my missives seem to lack coherent thought many weeks. But, hey, it’s the best that is available at that moment, at that instant even if I yammer on about fish caught/missed, a house that hasn’t sold, a disappointing election, leafs from a tree or any of a number of other minor goings on in daily life. But that’s why there’s a letter this week and another next week and the week after that. There’s always a shot at literary redemption.


November 21, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Our first frost arrived yesterday; the grass was stiff and white as I walked out for the morning newspaper. The upshot of it is it will make the Bermuda grass go dormant in an instant which will make golf that much tougher. Actually, the golf has been somewhat improved as of late so all is not lost.

Since there were no invitations – save one, but it involved golf – to a Thanksgiving meal, Miss Emma and I will make the trek to Charleston on T-Day to see if we can replicate the success we had last week. Reid, I wish you’d of been there. The rods really got a workout on Harris Teeter frozen shrimp and mud minnows. Never had to open the package of finger mullet. It’s as many fish as I’ve caught in a single day but by far the uniformly biggest fish ever. All were in the slot.

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Miss Emma and her sometimes inept handler/fisherperson have made weekly forays of late down to Bowens Island, South Carolina while the fishing is good.

Those big black drum can fight like nobody’s business. They set their flat side against you and dare you to pull them in and are just so much fun to haul in. And the two big sea trout – ‘specks’ they call them – hit in an instant. No guessing if they are there or not. You know right away. And the first red in a long while was boated. That felt good. I kept the red, the trout and four black drum. The aim was to give some to the black fisherman who don’t have boats but fish off the dock right by the put-in spot. One guy was lugging his gear back to the his car empty handed, but he was grateful for a drum and a trout. An oysterman I’ve come to know got a black drum, too. It’s appropriate to share the bounty. I caught so many fish so quickly that I was able to leave early to beat, sort of, the Charleston traffic. We pulled into the garage at 7:30 p.m., a full four hours earlier than usual. That felt good for a change.

Here are a couple of leafs plucked from a eucalyptus tree that overhangs the sidewalk along the route of my weekend morning walks. I crumple the leaves in my fingers to release the sweet scent; Ellen, I bet Emma Continue reading

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Losing at fishing and a countdown to the Bridger …


I’ve been AWOL the past few weeks with my blog posts (the letters to Ellen and Reid have still gone out) as I’ve wrestled with internal turmoil about my newspaper gig. That’s resolved now, and it’s time to keep on keeping on.


May 31, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Geez, there have been better weeks than the one that just passed. I dunno, stuff was just setting me off for all the wrong reasons. The letter to you is usually the first thing on the priority list but even it got bypassed for the first time in a long while. There just doesn’t seem like enough time to do the things that I want to do.

That includes a purge of stuff to get ready for the sale. The garage is a good starting point, then the closets, and maybe some of the furnishings. Only enough needs to be kept to furnish a two bedroom place. Hopefully, one can be found on a single floor so there’s no more going up and down the infernal steps (I re-goofed up the left knee by jumping out of a moving golf cart about a week ago. Idiot.). Things are pretty ship-shape mechanically speaking – knock on wood. Units here appear to be selling fairly briskly and at reasonable prices so we’ll see. The goal is still an Aug. 1 date on the market. Ellen, you guys came out smelling like a rose on the sale of your place, and the inspection report was a good one. That gives you clear sailing to pack up and move out. Let’s hope that holds true for the home you’re buying.

Went back down to Charleston with my buddy Ted and he crushed me from his rental kayak. He nearly swept all the bets we shook on. I got the first fish but he claimed the most and the biggest. What was disappointing was we only caught one in the slot, a speckled trout, which we gave to a black woman at the dock.

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My friend Ted enjoys a cold beer – at my expense – after he out-fished me on what should be my turf: Bowens Island. But if you’re going to lose a bet, no better view than the elevated deck at the Bowens Island Restaurant.

Ted caught nine or 10 black drum to close me out. I caught eight, including a small shark. For like the fourth or fifth straight trip, there were no reds boated which was really disappointing. Reid, I think the barge is completely overfished and there’s not enough time for the fish to replenish their numbers due to all the unceasing pressure.

Since we intended to shove off at 3:45 a.m., he stayed the night in the guest room. The ride down and eight hours on the water were fine enough, as were the shrimp and grits at a really nice restaurant Ted knew of in downtown Charleston, but the ride back just finished me off. I only drove about 50 miles before ceding the wheel to Ted. I literally zonked out in the passenger seat. It was the most tired I’ve been in my adult life. I just could not wake up. We pulled into the garage about 11 p.m. and once we got everything situated and stowed, I re-zonked out in minutes. There has to be a better way to do things. Maybe it’s time to experiment with a new place on the water. I may try the open ocean just off Folly Beach but it would be a two hour paddle to reach there from Bowens Island so I’d need to find a closer put in spot. But this down-and-back nonsense has to stop.

Played golf twice with my group and didn’t comport myself very well. At the last second people re-jiggered my announced pairings and it throws everything out of mental whack for me even if their changes are minor. It just throws me for a loop and unfortunately, I teed off on people to let them know it. I need to bottle that in rather than let my emotions get the best of me. I embarrassed myself. But I’m a short timer in that someone else will take over the helm and we’ll organize by committee. A group of 12 has agreed to rotate the responsibilities to put together outings. I’ll be scot-free in terms of zero responsibility to herd the cats. I’m really looking forward to that, as no doubt are the people who witnessed my outbursts this past weekend. Perhaps that’s what really has me in a pissy mood this morning. But I am looking forward to two-plus weeks in the Bridger not that long from now. At least that will give me something to look forward to. That, and videos of Emma learning to ride her bike. Ellen, you can send as many of those as you can. Let Tim know the big Gregory pack and a few bags of coffee beans, plus some little things for the girls, will be shipped this week.

Love, Dad

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