By Chad Hayes
The late-arriving spring sun has warmed our hearts and minds over the last few weeks, but the comfortable temperatures are quickly melting into the heat and humidity of our traditional southern summer. With the returning heat, people are also returning to the rivers, bays and inlets of the Lowcountry, and a couple upcoming holidays should inspire an even greater spike in local on-water activities. While Memorial Day will probably bring the greatest number of visitors to our waters, Father’s Day is also a time for families to celebrate and honor the family patriarch with a day trip to the ocean or creek. For me, visiting the water is particularly important on Father’s Day as it was my dad who first introduced me to the great outdoors. I was fortunate to share many experiences with my father prior to his passing and I am left with many fond memories, especially of late afternoon fishing trips during the summer. As a kid, I remember my dad working all week long and then spending Saturday mornings doing chores around our house. After the work was done, he would load up our Carolina boats and we would head to the fishing hole. A bucket of crickets and a few bream busters is all we needed. Despite his long work hours, my Father devoted himself to his family and he was never too tired to take us fishing. I will never forget those days with him out in nature. They have shaped and molded me into the man I am today. But there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give to spend one more summer afternoon with him.
It is not only the memories of the experiences we shared or the fish and game we caught, but the people that shared the experiences with us that make them special. We will forget the shots we missed or the fish we lost, but the people that were there, we never forget.
In closing, I would like to remind you all to spend some time with your family and friends this summer. Life is a fleeting experience and passes too quickly. I was reminded of this during the spring as a dear friend of mine lost his life in a tragic car accident. He was not only one of the best outdoorsmen I have ever known, but a fine human being as evident by the hundreds that attended his memorial service at the Sea Island Yacht Club. He could hunt and fish better than anyone I have ever known, and submerged himself in the heart of Mother Nature in his relentless pursuit of fish and game. He loved the outdoors and life itself and will live forever in our hearts and minds. Rest in peace Paul Bailey, and if you don’t mind, save some fish up there for me.
Until next time, take care, and we’ll see you On the Water!!
Captain Hayes, a South Carolina native, is a seasoned naturalist and fishing guide. A graduate of Presbyterian College with a degree in Biology, he is a former Fisheries biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and host of the “South Carolina Wildlife” television show. His is also ESPN’s 2006 Ultimate Outdoorsman. His knowledge of local history, ecology, dolphin behavior and fishing techniques will provide hours of enjoyment for you and your family or group. Captain Hayes is USCG licensed and insured. For more information, call the Kiawah Charter Company at 276-1832, visit their website at www.kiawahchartercompany.com or email Captain Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 28 2010