A Perfect Day for Fishing


Senior Member
No, it wasn't. With the Easter week-end approaching very quickly my Cousin and I made plans to fish Lake Marion the upper lake of the two Santee-Cooper reservoirs near Manning SC. It was April nice and warm outside and the Crappie were beginning to bite with people bringing in good catches of the tasty fish for a good meal or two. My Cousin and I always planned a trip to Santee on Easter Friday if possible.

My Cousin was a Viet-Nam vet same as me, the only difference in his military service in that country was he got both of his legs blown off by a land mine near Quang Tri South Viet-Nam while serving there with the Marine Corp in 1969. How he survived his injuries only God knows that but he did. I always took my Cousin fishing any time that I could he loved being on the water just as I did. He didn't have too many friends that wanted to take the time with him and his handicap for a fishing trip so he mostly depended on me for his fishing pleasure.

Anyway he and I made our plans, I got my boat ready and got all the fishing tackle that we would need in the boat and hooked it up to my pickup for our Good Friday outing with a sport that both he and I enjoyed so much. I watched the weather report Thursday evening and the weatherman said that a big storm was moving our way and rain associated with wind would start before daylight on Friday morning. I called my Cousin on the phone after seeing the bad weather report for the next day and asked him, what do you want to do. He replied well it isn't raining yet so lets just wait and see if the weatherman is right about tomorrow.

I woke up at 5am on Easter Friday morning, as I gathered my senses about myself I could hear the rain pounding on the roof and also the wind howling outside. I dressed and went outside the weather had deteriorated overnight just like the weatherman said it would. It was raining hard and the wind was stiff. So I dialed my Cousin's phone number I knew he would be up the man was always an early riser in the AM and his cheerful voice answered. I said boy, do you hear what's going on outside? Yeah he answered and I replied what do you want to do now, should we go fishing or just stay at home today. My Cousin said well its kinda up to you but I have a good rain suit and so do you. If you can stand it lets go I ain't got nothing else to do. I said good then the trip is on I don't care about the rough weather either we will give the fishing a try, I will pick you up shortly.

About that time my Wife came out of our bedroom as I was getting my heavy weather gear together along with a good warm jacket as it was also pretty chilly outside and she said. Don't tell me you and Bill are going to Santee in this storm. I told her yes we are I just got off the phone with Bill and he is ready to go. My Wife looked at me then shook her head and said well good luck and be careful you both know how rough that lake can get during a storm like this. I told her not to worry we aren't going out on the big water we will just fish the creeks off Wyboo.

I arrived at my Cousin's house he lived across town from us we lived about 4 miles out in the country while living in SC. He rolled out his house in his wheel chair with a smile on his face, a true fisherman ready to deal with what mother nature had thrown at us on this good Friday morning. I put him in the truck and grabbed his fishing gear and secured it in the boat and away we went to a very wet and windy day of fishing.

We took I-95 to Manning SC then the road that lead to our favorite boat landing after stopping at Joe's place to purchase some minnows for fishing. Don the guy who ran the tackle shop for his Dad who was semi-retired looked at us when we entered his place of business and said. You guys going out in this mess this morning? We knew Don well and he knew us we had bought live bait and other fishing tackle from him many times in the past. Don told us,, you know fellas, I kinda expect that you two will be my only customers today. There ain't nobody else crazy enough to drive all the way from Florence in this weather to Crappie fish on a day like this. My Cousin and I agreed, we paid for the minnows then launched our boat and headed out on Wyboo Creek.

Wyboo Creek was a big creek that led to the open water of the big lake a couple miles from the landing. My Cousin and I well knew that we held no chance of fishing the big water with the wind like it was so we motored up about a half mile to a creek off Wyboo called big White Oak. Even Wyboo Creek was white capping with the gusty southwest wind that morning and the rain was beating down hard on us foolish fishermen.

Upon arrival at Big White Oak creek we anchored next to the piney woods there just off the shoreline where the water dropped off to about 15 feet or so to fish the ledge where we knew that Crappie often gathered during the pre-spawning season. As I dropped a minnow to the bottom and picked it up just a bit something took my bait. I hooked the fish and brought in a good sized largemouth Bass. My Cousin looked at my catch, nodding his head in approval of my good luck. I dropped back down and almost immediately caught a good sized Crappie. My Cousin replied, well look at you this morning. He still had not had a bite.

We fished for about the next two hours without catching another fish so we moved out into deeper water in a different part of the creek, still keeping the pine woods along the shore in our favor for knocking off some of the gusting winds, the weather was getting rougher and the rain harder. We both had our good rain suits on and rubber boots so we were not getting wet at all except for our faces and I wore glasses so that was quite a bother but I dealt with it.

There were some houses not very far from where we were fishing and I saw a man getting into his boat that was tied to his pier. The man started his boat motor and came straight to us. When he got close he cut his motor and said, you guys have to love it to be out here in this mess all the while shaking his head. I replied, yes we do love it are you going to fish for a while also. No he replied I'm not that crazy the only reason I am out here is the Wife needs something from Joe's Landing so I was appointed to go and get it. But anyway you guys have a nice day if possible and catch some fish.

My Cousin and I fished for several more hours and caught enough fish for both of us to have a mess for supper. About 1pm or so I told my Cousin, I guess we had better call it a day and he agreed. We were cold and wind blown but not wet our rain suits saw to that. So we headed in and I loaded the boat and tied it down. We stopped by Joe's tackle shop again and talked to Don a few minutes before hitting the road to home. Don told us, well I was right. I have not had another fisherman to come by since you guys were in here this morning except one guy who came in from across Wyboo Creek and picked up a couple items that his Wife needed. I told Don yeah, he stopped by where we were fishing in Big White Oak and told us how crazy we were for being out there in that wind and rain.

We bid Don a good day and he said you boys come back now, but I hope you come on a better day than what it is going on outside now. I told him well we had fun and caught a few Crappie for the pan so all in all even with this storm we are returning home happy. And the bad weather didn't really bother us that much at all. Don just shook his head and smiled.

Don Drose who ran the tackle shop for his Dad was a guide on the Santee-Cooper Lakes for many years. I have not seen Don in decades I do know that he retired from guiding a few years back and I hope he is still around and in good health.

This fishing trip took place many decades ago. Bill and I aren't quite as crazy now as we were back then about fishing. Old age has seen to that.
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