Tag Archives: Folly Beach

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.


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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A living room full of gear … or not …

The emphasis has been on getting ready for Wyoming; Reid is confirmed as on board and he’s prepping for the trek, and from the workout perspective, things looked to be progressing in good order.

But fate has a cruel way of fooling aging bodies. Now the trip is in question. More on that next week.


June 1, 2015

Ellen/Reid: Still trying to get over the great weekend in Minnesota. Georgia is just a peach, and Emma is Emma. What a pair of darling little girls. Ellen, you and Tim are very lucky.

I’m watching the bluebird male standing (perching?) guard outside the nesting box, and like a lot of things, I just can’t figure out what these little birds are up to. They’ll go AWOL for a couple of weeks and then they magically reappear. My assumption was they nested only in the early spring but on this I am apparently wrong. Nice to have them back.

My workouts for the Bridger are in full swing. They felt like they got the best of me a couple of weeks ago, and Ellen, the few days in St. Paul were the respite my frame needed. Things have been much better since then. Walked 36 holes on Saturday with no ill effects other than hitting the sack shortly after 9 on Saturday night. Felt pretty chipper Sunday morning and that is interpreted as a good sign that things are in good stead for the mountain haul.

Gear for Wyoming is amassed in the empty living room. Let's hope it gets to be used. (The Tyvek is a good lightweight ground cloth for the tent.)

Gear for Wyoming is amassed in the empty living room. Let’s hope it gets to be used. (The lightweight Tyvek will be trimmed to the footprint of the tent as a ground cloth.)

I’ve started to spread out in the vacant living room most of the gear for the trek. Literally, it is all strewn about the floor. If I had to shove off tomorrow it wouldn’t take much to get ready. I’ll wear just one pair of clothes plus probably a spare shirt for use while the primary shirt dries after a wash in some stream. Tom and Katy and I will have breakfast this Saturday and I want to refine my menu so as not to carry too much. It is a good thing to leave the MSR stove and its weighty fuel behind. Reid, let me know of your flight itinerary. I’m uber excited that you’re making the trip. We need to chat about fly rods; if your Orvis isn’t the one you want, I will bring the Scott A4 for your use. It’s the rod/reel combo that Tim recommended. It’s a great rod. Hard to believe it Continue reading

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Three things I love …

This post features three of the things I love (the first of whom I’ll meet this week in St. Paul): tiny little Georgia, Reid, and inland fishing from my kayak. If there was a photo or other mention of Ellen tucked in here, then you could round it up to four.


May 11, 2015

Ellen/Reid: Well, Reid, it looks like you’re going to have two adoring little nieces. But you’ve got to work on this infant holding thing. You didn’t look entirely comfortable. That’ll come with practice. Not that there’s a hint there.

Georgia looks comfortable with her uncle Reid, but his grip looks like it needs some work.

Georgia looks comfortable with her uncle Reid, but his grip looks like it needs some work.

I changed out the heavy brown comforter for a warm weather version last week and that’s when it dawned on me that I have no – zero – sense of style/decor. The lightweight one is robin egg blue and it clashes, to put it mildly, with the brown tones of the cherrywood bed and carpet. I need some guidance on such things. It kind of goes hand in hand with the utter lack of style in the first floor living room, and probably extends to my jeans and tees, too. But at this point what the hell. It is what it is.

I’m still sore this morning from a tough down-and-back day trip on Friday to fish near Charleston. I hit the road about 4 a.m. for the three hour-plus drive. The intent was to put in about 8 a.m. but got caught in some dead-stop traffic just north of Charleston which cost me most of an hour. A tropical storm loomed offshore and it pushed a heavy counterclockwise wind inland. It was very hard to paddle against, and a strong tide exacerbated things. It was everything I could do to make headway.

It seems there's a little more gear each time I set out. But if it means catching fish, yeah, bring on the stuff.

It seems there’s a little more gear each time I set out. But if it means catching fish, yeah, bring on the stuff.

The guys at the put in point said the fishing would be slow, and they were right. Had a few bites early but then nothing for a few hours. So I roamed over to a huge grass flat that looked promising but didn’t see any tailing in a foot of water or so. Reid, I hit the barge about 2:30 and wasn’t there too long before a guy pulled up in his boat and anchored roughly where you sat when your big spot hit. Both of us were using cut mullet. His name was Jim, and he’s there with some frequency since he only lives a mile or so away and he had three lines in the water. He predicted we’d hit the fish quickly. But for the better part of another 60 minutes neither of us got anything other than a few nibbles, sheepshead most likely. He thought the pressure of the storm had an impact. When he learned I had some mud minnows, he suggested I ditch the mullet and hook the minnow through the upper lip about two feet below a bobber I had already rigged with a DOA shrimp and flip it toward shore in about a foot of water. Sure enough, the bobber went under and the line just stripped from the reel. What a sound/sensation that is. It felt like a spot from the get-go. About a 16 incher, just inside the slot. Onto the stringer it went although to be honest, there was a pang about letting it live. It was such a pretty fish. There were another couple strong strikes but nothing more came of it other than a minnow sacrificed for the sport. It wasn’t much later when a strong squall moved in and it rained like hell. It was a wrath of God rain and wind. Jim took off after offering to pull me in to the dock, but I declined to instead wait out the deluge. About 30 minutes later it stopped but there were no more fish. So I labored back to the marina, my fish in tow about 5 yards behind the boat. It takes about an hour to get the kayak back atop the car and everything hosed down with fresh water and stowed. The stringer was tied off to a rock as I prepped the boat for the car ride. The debate about a free/non-free fish didn’t last very long.

The Bowens Island restaurant is a must-visit deal near Folly Beach. Not high cuisine, but a funky place with good views and great beer. My fishing spot is on the horizon just above the diners.

The Bowens Island restaurant is a must-visit deal near Folly Beach. Not high cuisine, but a funky place with good views and great beer. My fishing spot is on the horizon just above the diners.

Since I’ve paid some pretty heavy dues on this and past trips, the red was hurriedly filleted it and frankly I didn’t do a very good job. But it went on ice and that was it. The little seedy restaurant next to the put in was open, and I changed clothes in the car and went up for a beer and some fried shrimp. The joint was packed with locals and was a lot of fun with good views of the waterway. If you guys ever come down this way, we’ll visit it. If you wear anything other than the aforementioned jeans and tees, you’ll be overdressed. But it made for a long, long day. I pulled into the garage about 12:45 a.m. and it took 30 minutes to unpack everything and stow the boat. I told myself this was the last time for such a jaunt. But the itch will return soon enough.

Love, Dad

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If we could all have the resolve to be energetic …

Hadn’t seen Reid and Liz in a while, so it was good to get over Durham way for brunch. Sure, sitting down with those two was the highlight but every so often you come across a human situation that can’t help but impress.


May 4, 2015

Ellen/Reid: Reid, it was wonderful to see you and Liz yesterday in Durham. You guys had picture perfect weather down here, and that Washington Duke Inn was incredible. I never would have gone of my own devices to the Duke Gardens, but it was wonderful, too, as was that restaurant place, the name of which I couldn’t remember if I had to. And this week in St. Paul for Emma’s third birthday. Man, it’s quite the travel schedule you both have. But that’s half the fun.

It's confirmed: Liz and Reid are a cute couple - his mom and sister and Liz' sister all chimed in on the same topic.

It’s confirmed: Liz and Reid are a cute couple – his mom and sister and Liz’ sister all chimed in on the same topic.

Went from Duke down Rte. 501 to Chapel Hill to see UNC. It’s a nice campus but not on the level of Duke. But I’d been wanting to see it and now I have. The ride back on two lane roads was far better than slamming it on I-85. That part of North Carolina is really picturesque although you see how the other half lives. The Road King handled great. The round trip was about 329 miles. Too bad it was a total goof up in the morning because my hands froze without the gauntlet gloves.

The other highlight was a stop at some backwater McDonalds for some liquid. There was an elderly gentleman at the counter, cane in hand, ordering something and it was obvious once he got his tray that it would be all he could do to reach his table. A gracious woman gave up her spot in line to help him, and she took his tray to a table. He was a tall man, six foot plus and in his upper 80s at least, with a full head of silver hair and he wore a pressed pink cotton shirt and khakis and shined shoes. It was his Sunday meal out and about. I watched him eat alone in such a dignified manner. He’d take a bite, put his sandwich down, wipe his mouth and resume. He was obviously widowed. If we could all have the resolve to be energetic at that age Continue reading

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A triumvirate of good things …

I don’t know if the kids are bored yet (a rhetorical question that does not demand an answer) with yet another story about ‘fishing.’ But at least this tale was about ‘catching,’ a wholesale change from prior fish-less excursions.


December 1, 2014

Ellen/Reid: As weeks go, this past one was pretty good; it was holiday shortened, the Thanksgiving meal was passable (grade B), and red fish were caught aplenty. That’s a fair triumvirate of good things in the stretch of a few days.

The meal for seven was fine. Amazing what following directions can do for

It's amazing what some sugar will do for the taste of pumpkin pies - as Ellen and Reid have discovered the hard way with their dad's baking.

It’s amazing what some sugar will do for the taste of pumpkin pies – as Ellen and Reid have discovered the hard way with their dad’s baking.

pumpkin pies (yes, I did add sugar this time). Most of the prep work (pies and stuffing) was wrapped up on Wednesday. That removed some of, but not all, the angst on Thursday morning. The only near-snag was I was hell bent to post my early morning walk on my trash blog and lost complete track of time about how long it would take to make bread. It was to be a three rise affair and I cut a couple of corners in order to get the loaves finished and the bird in the oven about noon. Things worked out okay but I nearly screwed the pooch right there. Reid, I recalled a photo of you slathering the turkey with butter a few years ago at Hilton Head and I repeated that performance. My friends got here about 3:45 – 4 p.m. and wine was liberally served so they might overlook any food faux pas. Everything turned out just fine and on time. The gravy was a bit thick and lumpy but that might be because the cook tipped back his share of wine. It still tasted good. We sat around retelling the old stories, eating pie and creme brulee and it was a lot of fun.

On Friday I hatched a plan to head back to Folly Beach for some fishing since only three of us were to play Saturday golf. I pulled the plug on that, which freed up the day. The beach forecast was favorable (60s) and the drive doable (a shade over 3 hours door to dock). The loading of the kayak atop the car and stowage of gear is becoming somewhat simpler.

The Ocean Kayak Trident 13 may have looked rigged and ready, but self-induced fouled lines cost me an hour of fishing. I was pissed.

The Ocean Kayak Trident 13 may have looked rigged and ready, but self-induced fouled lines cost me an hour of fishing. I was pissed.

I took bagful of frozen shrimp from the freezer and let it thaw on the counter. I woke up about 3 a.m., made sufficient coffee for a carafe and headed down the highway a shade after 4:00. It’s a pleasant enough ride down I-77 through Columbia to I-26 and on down to Charleston, which you skirt to the West and then finagle your way along Rte. 171 to an off the beaten path little road. I arrived in the parking lot (the bed of which is oyster shells), paid $2 to use put-in spot, and shoved off. But your dad makes so many, many stupid mistakes. I mis-handled the line on a reel and spent the next hour trying to undo the thing, cursing the whole time. It just cost so much precious time that could be better spent fishing. With no bites at the first stop (the pilings of a pier) I paddled a half mile away to another pier only to ram my kayak into the posts because I was unable to navigate through the strong tide. The mishap bent the eye guides on one rod and nearly broke the other rod. Two other fishermen watching me and must’ve thought ‘That guy is an idiot’ and they wouldn’t be far from right. The only catch there was a very, very small sea bass of some kind, so it was on to a sunken barge about 400 yards away. There was a pleasure boat anchored in the prime spot and they were catching all kinds of fish when I pulled up. But the bite for them stopped as soon as I anchored about 50 yards away and they left after an hour of catching nothing. I hopped over to their spot and all hell broke loose on my Harris Teeter shrimp.

This beauty was 23 inches - well inside the slot. But it was a day to catch and release.

This beauty was 23 inches – well inside the slot. But it was a day to catch and release.

I caught 17 -18 red fish in the space of 90 minutes and lost a few more. The smallest was 14 inches and the biggest 23 inches. If I hadn’t made some other poor mistakes (bad knots, fouled line, etc.) no doubt the total would’ve been more. It was so exciting. I was yelling and laughing at the same time. All those other frustrating trips were old news. Ellen, tell Tim his advice on the guide was the best money I’ve spent on this. Tim’s comments that it’s ‘bad karma’ to keep a fish came to mind, so I let all the beautiful beasts swim away and free. Reid, you’ve got to get your sorry carcass down here because we can rent a kayak and rods. It’s time you and I headed to The Barge. Let’s do this – soon.

Love, Dad

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A Guinness at my expense – gladly …

Now that I finally ended months of frustration and caught real fish, maybe it’s time Ellen and Reid saw their dad move on to some other sort of adventure.



November 17, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Well, all it took was one day to atone for my lack of fish from a kayak. We killed them yesterday morning in Folly Beach, South Carolina. All it took was a guide and some live and cut bait. Tim was right; I’d learn more in a half-day with a guide than I learned in all those disappointing fishless trips by myself. I reeled in five red fish and a dozen or so speckled trout. My friend Jody and his girlfriend Sondra from my golf group came along with me (she wisely stayed indoors) and Jody won both the first fish and largest fish bets (a Guinness at my expense). He caught a black drum about 6 pounds.

All it took for my friend Jody and me to finally catch fish on a raw day was some good guidance from Cap'n Tripp.

All it took for my friend Jody and me to finally catch fish on a raw day was some good guidance from Cap’n Tripp.

We persevered through a tough day of temps in the 40s and cold wind and steady rain the first three hours before sunshine broke out. We only kayaked about 1/2 mile and fished the ‘structure’ that Cap’n Tripp (of a fun group called Charleston Outdoor Adventures) pointed out; dock pilings and a sunken barge. He also espoused letting the bait sit. It was pretty much the opposite of what I’d been doing which was to slowly reel in the plastic bait along the grassy shorelines. We also let the reds set themselves on the hook since they ingest the bait and crush it in their throats. The speckled trout nibble and then you can set the hook. My biggest red was a couple pounds and the biggest trout was in that range, too. Jody and I kept several for a hoped-for feast later. The toughest part was filleting the catch once I got home. I muddled through it, wasting I don’t know how much precious meat and slicing a finger, but at last the fish are in the freezer until we can sauté it. I can’t wait to go again. Reid, we need to do this since I’ve got a somewhat better feel about what to do. We really need to get on the water. It’s so much fun.

The cold, wintry weather persists this morning. It’s raining now and feels just completely raw. The week looks bleary but in view of the white stuff you’ve had in the last few days, perhaps your old man shouldn’t bitch and moan so much. It’s all relative.

My diet went to hell in the space of a week. Why that is is beyond me. A bit of ice cream, a bag of chips, a steak, overeating and other food felonies played havoc with me this morning at the Y. The workout was just a slog, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. I don’t like falling off the wagon. They say the mind is strong but the flesh is weak. That certainly applies here.

The will is set to be notarized and signed tomorrow. It really is a relief to have it finished since it has been on the front burner for a while. Your uncle has reminded me of it from time to time. He didn’t want me to use an online service like legalzoom.com. He thought those didn’t offer all the options a neophyte like me would never know about. It turns out he was right. You’ll get copies soon.

Elle, I haven’t told many people about your and Tim’s good fortune. I’ll keep it under my hat for a while longer until it can be broadcast a little wider. Hope you’re feeling better. Hard for men to identify with what you’re going through.

Reid, I wouldn’t mind getting up to Chicago soon. Just toss out a few Friday – Sunday dates that fit for you and Liz. I promise to be good guest.

Consider this another plea to send ole’ Santa your Christmas lists. Emma and Tim’s, too. I can’t be trusted to buy stuff you’ll want without your guidance.

My guest list for Thanksgiving has grown to 9. I’m excited about it. The 13 lb. bird is in the freezer and most of the other trimmings have been bought. I arranged a couple of morning tee times so they could all play golf before coming over, weather permitting of course. But if it’s a day like the one we have right now, there won’t be much golf involved.

Love, Dad

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