Fly Fishing and the Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse

I’m a big fan of “The Walking Dead”.  The show and the comic. Especially the comic.  And like all fans of the zombie apocalypse, I know deep down in my heart, that I’ll be one of the survivors.  I know how to fish, hunt, shoot a gun, shoot a bow, throw a cast-net, clean a deer, tan a hide…  I’d be fine.  My poor wife and kids on the other hand, well I guess my near crippling depression over what ever happens to them can be worked into the story arc, but whatever.  Point is I’ll survive.

The plan was to make it to one of the less populated barrier islands on the coast here in SC. Probably Wadmalaw; lots of land, low population density. There, other survivors and I would blow the bridges, clear out the dead left on the island,  eat by fishing/shrimping/hunting, make daring raids into the city for supplies, and have a few “the living are more dangerous than the dead” moments. I will not stop fly fishing during any of this.

I’m pretty sure that the sporting good stores that we raid during our brave but dangerous forays into the city will probably be stripped of most of their more practical supplies but the fly fishing gear will be mine for the taking.  Sage, Orvis, G. Loomis; they will all be mine.

Not to mention with the sharp decrease in population, fishing pressure in general will be way down.  I’ll have all the best flats to myself.  After a few years the fishing should down right phenomenal.  Other than worrying about the dead eating my flesh and fighting off the occasional boat full of pirate shrimpers life should be pretty awesome.

Of course I don’t live on the coast anymore…

Home Waters

Driving home the other day from a failed fishing trip I passed a van that was selling shrimp. This in its self isn’t unusual, shrimpers selling part of their catch out coolers from the back of their vans and pickups is one of those things you get so use to seeing here in coastal SC that you barely notice them.  This particular van wasn’t anything special; bamboo held up an old sheet as a makeshift awning, blue and red coolers were placed were ever shade could be found and the signs were all hand painted on pieces of weathered particle board. This was a pretty typical setup for what it was.

For some reason (probably having to do with the 20oz Red Bull I chugged) I noticed this one shrimp merchant and tried to imagine what it must look like to the tourist passing through on their way to the island resorts further down the road.  I was sure there are a fair percentage of people that are turned off by the idea of buying seafood from the back of a 1980’s panel van, but there are probably more that think of the scene as quaint or picturesque. I, being from the area, know that nothing involving shrimpers can be called quaint, due to the fact that most shrimpers are one apocalypse scenario away from being full on pirates but I could totally see Marge and Bob from Ohio seeing the van parked under stately live oaks with its lemonade stand like presence stopping to take pictures and talk to the “colorful locals”.

And why shouldn’t Bob and Marge stop and check out the local roadside stand?  These shrimp stands are almost always manned by people who have been in the area for generations.  It’s rare opportunity for many people vacationing in the area to get to talk to someone who’s not paid to be nice to them, not to mention real life natives.  Its something I would do, something I have done, in a foreign place.  And to a person from anywhere else, the area probably seems pretty foreign.

Coastal South Carolina is basically nothing but a mass of barrier islands separated by rivers, creeks and marsh from the Grand Strand (the beach part of Myrtle Beach), south. All of the water between these islands team with shrimp, crabs and baitfish.  This area also acts as a nursery for game and food fish.  This all adds up to make a giant buffet for larger fish looking for a meal.  Redfish, speckled trout and flounder can be caught all year long if you know what your doing. In the summer tarpon, jack crevalle, lady fish and cobia can all be caught.  And if you want to soak a piece of shrimp on the bottom, well, I don’t have the time or patience to list all the fish you might catch. What I’m trying to get across here is that my local waters, the places I’ve fished my entire life, where I was born and raised, is a paradise for people who love to fish.

Not all that long ago I spent some time on a friends dock with my oldest son who had just turned five. We were only there a few hours but still came home with a bucket full of crabs, a couple of pounds of shrimp and a few fish to fry.  All of this off a dock in a creek that is only a foot deep and four foot wide at low tide.  This wasn’t, at the time, a big deal to me.  Coming home empty handed would have been a big deal. No shrimp, no crabs, no fish, that would have been unusual.

And yet, here I am, with the bounty of the sea at my finger tips, day dreaming about chasing bonefish and tarpon in the keys; fantasizing about catching salmon in Alaska; envisioning myself tangling with peacock bass deep in the Amazon, while I could catch all the fish I want right in my back yard.

I guess that’s one of those things about fishing and probably life in general. You don’t always appreciate what you have until you know your about to lose it.  So good-by Charleston, hello Rock Hill.