The Sea Was Angry That Day My Friends….

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We hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend, and that the hangovers and sunburns aren’t too bad (just bad enough to know you acted irresponsibly). While you stew in your own filth this fine Tuesday, I thought I might regale you with some behind the scenes SCOF tales to make the rest of your four-day work week just a tad more palatable. In case any of you were unaware, we here at SCOF actually fish for our content. With other jobs and families, we really don’t have time to fish a year ahead for content. So almost everything you see in an issue probably went down in the three months prior to that issue’s release. We love producing content this way, but the time crunch and pressure to produce can be a bear…sitting on your chest…taking a dump.

So last week Steve and I found ourselves in Charleston, trying to get some cobia and amberjack on film for a feature in the next issue. The plan was to run off shore and start checking the buoys as one does when pursuing blue water species. Since neither Steve nor I know the slightest thing about this style of fishing, we enlisted the help of a couple of local friends to  show us what it’s all about. Let’s call one of these friends Bobcat, and the other one John. John being the most important one because he had a very nice boat.

Let’s not gloss past the boat. The boat was awesome. Two hundred horses of awesome. It looked huge sitting on the ramp. On the way out to the jetty in what I now know to be light chop, we stayed dry and comfy while blasting Widespread Panic on the loudest boat speakers I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t until we got to the jetty that I realized the boat was small, real small…and also wet, very wet.

The weatherman had predicted 5-10 mph winds, and 2- to 4-foot seas all week, right up until the moment we got on the boat. Then it turns out he changed his mind to 15- to 20-mph winds, 10-foot seas, and riptide warnings. The weatherman is a dickhead. The next one I meet face-to-face is getting kicked in the junk. Repeatedly. So if any of you out there are weathermen, I’d suggest wearing a cup. If you are female, I will hoof you in the front butt. But I digress.

Once we hit the jetty, shit got real. We were no longer flying across the water on 200 horses — we were puttering on more like three mules. Waves were coming over the bow and the horizon was bobbing and weaving like a drunkard. This however did not deter us from pushing on for what seemed like 37.5 hours but was probably more like two. I mean we were already there, right? Might as well check the buoys. We kept on checking buoys, and kept on seeing nothing. It’s not like we could’ve made a cast safely anyway, the way the boat was pitching. On our way to the last set of cans (ironically the cans that were holding fish all week supposedly), Steve’s queasy battle with the ocean came to a head, and almost a puke. Not wanting to see our little buddy tortured any more than absolutely necessary, we turned tail and ran back in with our rods between our legs.

Plans “B” through “Z” were discussed and eliminated due to wind and the hungover sea. Luckily a tailing tide was happening that evening and proper day drinking could be accommodated. The moral of this story is that just because we run a fishing magazine, doesn’t mean all of our trips are awesome with perfect conditions. And no, you won’t be seeing a cobia story in the next issue.

SCOF History: The Holy City

Who doesn’t love Mad Mike Benson? Who? You tell me and I’ll punch them in the face. This is the first story  Mike did for us way back when, and we couldn’t have been happier. Mike’s somewhere in the Caribbean this week, so now we  couldn’t be more disappointed in Mike for not inviting us. Screw you Mike, but pleased keep writing stuff for us regardless.



The Holy city
By Mike Benson
Photos: Steve Seinberg and David Grossman
Southern Culture On the Fly
Issue No. 2: Winter 2012

Anybody who’s ever sat in an American History class already knows a few things about Charleston, SC. Mainly that we fired the first shots of the Civil War. And those who’ve ever lived here for any length of time may tell you a few other things about our city. They’ll tell you about Moultrie, the “Swamp Fox”, John C. Calhoun, the “War of Northern Aggression”, and of course, Hurricane Hugo. Nowadays, fly fishermen from across the country, and in particular the South, are becoming more and more familiar with Charleston as a great place to chase redfish with the fly rod. But if you’re going to come on down and join us amidst the Spartina grass, I ask that you take a second to really take a look around and attempt to take in what is going on around you.

When you’re poling or wading the flats north of town, just stand still and listen for a minute. If the wind is blowing just right, you may hear the low mournful hum of slaves singing hymns in fields long untended. Running across the harbor, you may hear the sound of Yankee cannons over the whine of your outboard, conducting one of the longest artillery sieges in modern military history. As you leave the harbor and turn north into the waterway, try to picture the Sullivan’s Island bridge completely dismantled and laying on its side in the creek, and the raw natural forces it took to accomplish that. And when you’re standing on one of the “fly away places,” the small cedar islands that escaped slaves used to stop and pray on for God to turn them into birds so they could fly back to Africa, try your hardest to keep your feet on the ground.

They call this place the Holy City, and the tour guides in town will tell you it’s because of the sheer number of churches, or our history for religious freedom. But spend enough time being quiet in the backcountry and it’s hard to ignore the natural and spiritual forces that seem to surround this place. So when you come to Charleston to chase the reds, bring your 8wt, a box full of crab and shrimp patterns, and open your mind and your soul. You may just be surprised by what you’ll catch down here.