Back in early 1980s I ran a 31’9” BHM, the “Sea Wolf”, out of Murrells Inlet, SC in the pursuit of Grouper in the fall and spring, and Black Sea Bass during the winter when they would “stack up”. Using a standard Chesapeake Bay crab trap it wasn’t unusual to haul back 200 pounds of Bass in one trap, and we had several trips where two of us pulled 4400 pounds of fish in less than six hours!
Those days are long gone, not so much because of a decline in the fish stocks, but because of unwarranted government intervention in the various fisheries that have put hundreds, if not thousands of fishermen out of work in the past few years. The oddest thing is that NOAA is now in charge of the fisheries and that agency cannot even get the weather right most of the time!
I remember taking 30 pound Red Snapper on “Puerto Rican” drop rigs when they were bringing $3.60 a pound. It was over ten years after I stopped fishing before I even ate a Red Snapper, because of the money that one fish represented to my family.
Now I look out across the inlet when I am out fishing for flounder or trout, and see that most of the charter boat captains are running pontoon boats looking for the same flounder, trout, and drum that we wouldn’t have thought of fishing for twenty years ago except for the occasional day off from running offshore.
But folks, I have some memories of those days that are still sweet to me. Memories of fishing tournaments on a 31’ Bertram, the “Catch 22”, with a pair of custom big block Chevrolets producing a combined 900+ horse power. I remember losing a rudder on a 95’ dragger 100 miles off of Savannah, GA during a storm and bringing it all the way back to the Georgetown, SC light by rigging a steering sweep because the Coast Guard didn’t have anything big enough to tow us, and being caught in a sustained 70 knot Northwester 70 miles North East of Georgetown, SC because of a NOAA screw up in a weather forecast. Not to mention having a boat catch on fire with my paycheck in the hold and the CG refusing to help us. Yep, those days are gone and probably never coming back, but man oh man, what a bunch of memories!
Well, the government says that you all cannot do the things that I did, but they are not yet controlling what I can write about, so this blog is going to be telling lots of sea stories interspersed with a few good hunting ones also. Feel free to share some of your own experiences and don’t forget to read the excerpt from “COUGAR!”.