First off I have to confess that after all of the airport woes for me yesterday continuing through this AM I was not at all looking forward to today. Delays for my return trip from Orlando put me climbing into bed at 3 AM this morning for a whooping 2 hours of sleep before heading to grab the boat and bait.
Once I arrived at Little Hall Park I was perplexed to see a line at 6:30 AM out into 53. OUCH...like the airport I left at 2 AM!
Once I got into the parking lot and found the OWL group the day started to brighten up. Tim paired one of my best friends and Co-Captain, Randy Griggs, and I with our anglers for the day and from the very beginning I was amazed with the Crais story. Seemed John had apparently fallen asleep on his way home from a late shift and ran of the road only to be found by the authorities because his headlights were shining out of the woods. When Johns Dad, Stan, was called he was told to get to the hospital ASAP as John was not long for this world. Even through all of this, 70+ days in a comma and all of th complications John is still with us. Lets just say that I was wide awake all day...even as I share this with GON and I was the one who received the blessing. I had the best time I have had in a long time clowning around and working to get this young man on some action. At the end of the day John and Stan were so grateful yet I was the one blessed in my book.
OWL...hats off to you as an organization and you Sir Tim you are at the top of that list! It takes a small army of folks to pull this off from organization to hosts. There was food donated, bait, and other stuff that I'm sure I don't even know about. All Randy and I did was grab the boat, some rods and bait and take a young man and his father fishing.
Great day and now off to the shower and fishy dreams....<")))><
Bill, you gave John a day to remember. Those smiles are a huge blessing to me and the reason for Outdoors Without Limits. Thanks so much to all those that made it a great day for all involved.
Folks, give it a try sometimes and I promise, you will get more out of it than the disabled participants.
Good day here too with only a few less complications. Waited in line for bait, then headed out knowing where I was going because my phone had shown me the previous night. Forgot my glasses, couldn't see to reprogram, it sent me way down over Brown's Bridge, I hate being late, have never been late on a guide trip and was freaking out by the time I finally got to Little Hall. Was paired up with Jeff and we had a great day, not a ton of fish or monsters, but a really good time. Thanks for the blessing of being able to participate and thanks to Tim and all the folks that put this together, this is one of the highlights of my year. Going to try and get Jeff some hunting time, but he does a bunch already, look forward to fishing with you again. James
First off thank's Tim.
Just want to say we had a great time with Sonny yesterday. We started off with 2 dinks and finally got a decent fish. Sonny said at the being he didn't even care if we don't catch a fish. Just being out on the lake will be a great day. But it sure was nice when the reel started peeling drag.[/ATTACH]
I think I can speak for all who fished this event aboard the Redneck Cruise Line's mother ship that we had a perfect day on the lake and caught fish! Thanks from me to all who made it so good.Tim Rowe and crew did an amazing job in spite of a bait shop that was not able to participate and an unexpected bass tournament launching from the same ramp.Tim,your patience and cool head are amazing!
Our folks had a great day,and so did the Captain and crew.The weather was perfect,and it was great to be a part of this O.W.L. event.I hope to be a part of the one May 16,at Oconee.Thanks to Hunter,his Granpaw,and James for the chance to do something for you.Hope you enjoyed it as much as me and Major Tony Brown and Burton Trout did! Hope to see yall at Lake Oconee next month.
The blessings received taking the O.W.L members fishing were beyond measure. Joshua, Edward and myself could NOT have had more fun. Catching some fish was a welcome bonus. I'll be back. Great work Mr. Rowe!
If any of you other guys get a chance to participate in this, it's life changing. Seeing the looks, and the excitement, on the guests face as they await to be called, and then get paired with their boats and captains was enough for me.
I was partnered with Brian, a mutual friend of a friend from here, who knew we'd hit it off first thing, and he was right. It was a day full of wise cracks, jokes that would get us all banned from here, and even some fish.
Brian was manning the trolling motor and did an excellent job keeping us on course and our lines clear.
We started the day with a 3-3.5lb spot who hammered the outside planer, made it skip to the inboard line as she pulled away with it, and then submerged it for the remainder of the fight. I was reminded of Jaws when Quint tags a buoy on to the shark and she takes it down. I've never even heard of a spot doing something like that. Brian fought her perfectly, and she was released to fight another day. That was 45 minutes in to the day. About an hour later we get our second fish, another spot who was also released.
We then decide to move up the lake a little and hit some submerged humps.
Brian masterfully kept our outside planer board just off the bank, while we had an inboard board, all on the starboard side of the boat, with a weighted freeline on the inboard port side, and a narrow planer board on the outboard port side.
After trolling for 45 minutes I watch the freeline bounce once; twice, and then take off just ripping drag. I had a moment of indecision with how to get the rod to Brian, not tangle the lines as she ran, while trying to keep her from pulling the rod out of the one hand I had it in. That's when Brian made his way to the captain's chair where we reversed the seat so he could fight it.
You'd think he'd been battling big striper all his life the way he kept constant pressure on the fish. 2 boats trolling the same area stopped to watch the fight which lasted about 10 minutes. It just so happened I picked up a new landing net that morning from OBT (thanks Larry and crew for everything including getting the boats turned around quickly) and Jersey picks it preparing to land the fish. She planed around one side of the boat and then the other making jersey run around while I helped Brian keep balance so he could focus on fighting. We got her over the gunwale and she went 21lbs on jersey's certified boga. The look on Brian's face was more than I could have ever asked for.
The cheers from the other boats around us were awesome as well.
He voted to keep her and get her mounted so into the cooler she went, where I realized that I was woefully unprepared in the ice department. Beelined over to a marina to get some ice for her, and then it was off to the ramp for lunch.
Tim, thank you for putting such a great dock crew together. Getting the participants in and out of the boat was a breeze for everyone as there were always plenty of hands waiting for us. Guys helping dock the boats, guys helping transfer passengers, and plenty of photographers.
After lunch, thanks for providing food and drink again Tim, we decided to head back out to try again. The channel by Little Hall was nearly empty while we ate lunch, but someone must have sounded the bell when we put back out because in short order it was too rough to consider staying out there. So we went back into a creek arm trying to put at least one more spot in the boat. Nothing took us up on the offer, so it was back to the dock for weigh in, where Brian ended up taking first place. That's where I learned that this fish was the biggest of his life, and that she would be taking a place of honor surrounded by his other trophies from a recent safari he went on.
I was over the moon already, but to hear that we were able to help Brian have that kind of a story, and that kind of trophy, amongst all of the others really made my day. When I heard the other stories from the other participants, several "best day of my life" moments were mixed in, it really lent perspective to just what this event meant to the guys and gals.
I'll certainly be looking to do this again the next time there's one on Lanier, and I hope you can, as well. All I did all day was bait hooks and lay lines out, and it was probably in my top 3 days of fishing in my own life.