Sunday, September 9, 2018

Back At It...FINALLY!

You know it's been TOO LONG when you can't remember the last time you came to grips with your swimming slimy friends. Not being able to remember the last fish you caught or even the last trip you took is something that I'm not used to. I guess that is what a 12 month deployment and multiple other short trips will do to ya. 

I'm fortunate enough to live in an amazing area and to be surrounded by good people. Once I finished a couple of projects around the house after returning home from Afghanistan, I joined Benton Parrott for an early morning session in our neck of the woods.

Benton Parrott

Tropical Storm Gordon decided to dump a metric $#IT ton of rain on our stomping grounds a couple of days prior. Along with that, the trusty weather man was a little off by the winds that were forecasted. Between the wind and the water conditions, we figured the bite might be a little tough to come by. At this point, I didn't just felt good to be on the water again.

We tried to get on a trout bite first thing in the morning but nobody appeared to be home. If they were, they were not hungry. After we logged the goose-egg for trout, we went after bull reds to hopefully jump-start the morning.

It didn't take long before a pissed off bull blew up my Skitterwalk without coming tight. That blowup gave us a little pep in our step as Benton knew it was just a matter of time. A short while later...BOOM...this time it came tight.

The jackhammer headshakes and line-ripping runs that a low 30" class redfish provides is fun as hell on medium tackle! It has been 15 plus months since the last time I felt that rush...and I loved every second of it. 

Photo Credit: Benton Parrott

Photo Credit: Benton Parrott

Once the feisty little bull swam off in the chocolate milk-ish water, we got back after it for a short time before the tide slacked. We managed to get a couple more blow ups but to no avail. The winds started to pick up so we called it a day.

The feeling that I had all morning is indescribable. It's always fun to get out on the water. To break the "almost a year and a half absence" was long overdue and much needed.

"Back at it...FINALLY!"

~See ya on the water!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Light at the End of the Tunnel...

"292 days, 7,008 hours, 420,480 minutes, and 25,228,800 seconds...but hey, who's counting?"

How do you put a price on time? Can you? Everything is worth something, everything has value. You can put a price tag on most things, but you truly can't put a price on time. It's one of those things that once it's past, you can never get back.

The value of time comes into perspective when you're removed from your normal life and living a life of unpredictability and uncertainty. Life as a deployed active duty service member is just that, you walk away from everything you love and cherish and answer a calling that is bigger than yourself. It can be exciting yet unnerving all at the same time. There comes a moment while you're away that you think back on the days, hours, minutes, and even seconds that you missed from your "normal" life; holidays, birthdays, kid's chorus concerts at school, even walking the dogs.

As I write this, I have been away for 292 days, 7,008 hours, 420,480 minutes, and 25,228,800 seconds...but hey, who's counting? Numerous holidays, birthdays, bbqs, and retirements have come and gone. This is the life of a deployed service member. On paper it sounds insane, in reality both the deployed member and family know and accept the sacrifice because our country has asked us to do so.

Photo Credit: Polish Pumper

The infamous "light at the end of the tunnel" is a real thing! With every page-flip of the calendar, the light becomes a little brighter. You start to think about seeing your family again for the first time in ages, the first place you want to go to eat, the first beer you're going to drink, and for people like us...the first time your kayak glides through the water again.

It's like a little kid in October thinking about opening presents on Christmas morning. You would never imagine that a grown adult could get so excited for something like "the firsts"  even though it's still so far away. That's the beauty of having loves and passions. It may be in the distant future, but it never leaves you...ever. Reading online articles from Kayak Angler Magazine and keeping up with killer blogs like Rob Choi's, Angling Addict, have kept the fire burning throughout the duration of the long hiatus.

One minute you're lacing up the boots, donning your body armor, loading your weapons, and the other minute you get lost in your mental wonderland watching the sunrise behind your topwater lure "walking the dog" in anticipation of a blowup from a hungry speckled trout .

Photo Credit: Marty Mood

One of the toughest parts of being deployed is staying focused on the task at hand while balancing out the mental field trips. Staying grounded in your beliefs and values is what provides the inner strength to cross the finish line while holding your head high. Meanwhile, I will continue to dream about the moment I get to hug and kiss my wife and daughter again, take the dogs for a walk, and slide my kayak into water as the sun peeks above the horizon. Until then...

~See ya on the Water!