Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fishing With My Uncle

Oh how I love the beach. As you can tell by all the pictures of Pawley's Island on my blog. It is my favorite place in the world, my sanctuary. It is where my mother grew up when she was young, but her parents died when she was 14. It is where I go to connect with the past. My mother is real close with her brother. It is a special connection because of their parents dying at such a young age. When they are together you can feel and see the closeness between them.

My uncle is a legend at the beach. I am so proud to be his niece because not only is he a special person, but he knows fishing. The saltwater is in my blood. My grandfather fished with his son (my uncle). My uncle told me a story about how they were fishing together when he was young and my grandfather caught an eel and said "son of a bitch." When my uncle caught an eel later he said, "look daddy I caught a son of a bitch too! He was then told not to tell his mom what he caught.

So this love of the water was passed down to me. My uncle will take me fishing and showed me the ropes. I remember when I was real young, you will need to tell the the difference between and flounder bite and a crab. He doesn't do anything for you. He showed me how to clean a fish, bait a hook, find the minnows, etc. I was talking to my cousin (daughter of my uncle) and she said he mom told her to play dumb when she meets a guy. Guys like to feel like they know what they are doing but Katie (my cousin) knows more than most people. She said I will not ask a guy "can you bait my hook?" It's just not how we are. Pretty much you would never know I make bait balls with fish meal, dehead shrimp that we just caught, cook crabs and clean them, etc.

My uncle takes me fishing so it is just us. I learn a lot on those trips and not just about fishing. He does not do this for my sister, I think my sister did not inherit this love. So I planned a fishing trip with my uncle way in advance because I wanted to learn more about my mother and grandparents, stories that should not get lost through the years. I want my children to know these stories and pass them down.

We went shad fishing. It was my first time and even though I don't like fresh water fishing, I really enjoyed this. We were fishing for row, female shad that are pregnant, it is the spawning season. I have never had it, but shad row is a delicacy. I am picky about what I eat and even though I catch things in the ocean, I don't really eat much seafood. It was great. My uncle with his hat that said, "shut up and fish" and the weather was beautiful. He let me reel up the fish and helped me learn not to get to excited when the fish gets near the boat, that is where people lose fish the most. It is like a game, the rod and the fish. So now I know the secret about shad, they only will bite citronella lures.

My cousin was telling me there is a secret fishing club that has a flounder fishing tournament each year. Many people want to be in this club but it is not possible. I did not know about this club but my uncle was one of the first members. He is always on the creek. She was at a restaurant/bar having drinks with her dad and she saw someone she knew and went to talk to him. He asked if that was her dad and quickly asked if he could please meet him. He is a legend like I said. No one quite like him, He knows things about fishing that goes by nature. Such as the flounder do not bite until the dogwoods bloom. The brown shrimp leaves the creek after the first full moon in July. He tells me fishing is a cycle. You use crabs to bait the minnow traps, the minnows are used to catch the fish, the bones of the fish are put in the minnow trab to catch the crabs. He lives off of the water, never buying minnows, the only fish he will buy that could be caught is grouper. He said he will sometimes buy it, but other than that it is the fish he catches that is dinner.

So last weekend was a huge success ans I am going back this weekend to show my boyfriend the ropes. He think he knows but he has never been around a member of my family fishing.