My Life

Existence

I will apologize for my poor grammar in advance. I started this blog to share my hunting stories and outdoor encounters. I hope to be able to give insight into the world of south Mississippi. While some might call Columbia, MS a backwoods hick town, filled with rednecks and mobile homes, I call it home.

I grew up in suburban Columbia, Mississippi. Little known fact, Columbia was the temporary capital of MS. Columbia is the heart of Marion County MS and has roughly 6500 people living within its city limits. I was raised mostly by my mother, with lots support from my grandparents and my aunt and uncle. From an early age I was taught to hunt and fish, my uncle operated a very successful sporting goods store, so naturally I spent a lot of time there. By the age of five I had successfully harvested my first doe, and by the age of 12, I could hunt with the best of the best. I practiced archery, though successful, I never had the passion like my uncle(a three time national champion). One evening while scouting for deer I watched a large great horned owl take a rabbit, I had seen the rabbit, but I never saw or heard the owl until the hit. That was it, the ultimate form of hunting and being a part of nature, and I wanted to be a part of that.

Fast forward 14 years to one small family, a college degree and a desk job in the medical field. I have all but given up on deer hunting for sport, I will harvest a few for sausage and steaks, I have given up all other forms for hunting with the exception of dove hunting. I still find dove hunting a challenging sport, and I have also decided to become a falconer. I have been studying for six months day and night, whenever and wherever i’m able.

Stay tuned for the start of my life in falconry….

My Life

Turning 30 :(

my 30th bdayTurning thirty wasn’t to bad, except for loosing half of my vision to some health reasons.

Money being tight as always, and with our anniversary coming only three days after my birthday, my wife and I decided to go eat crab legs at Boom Town Casino in Biloxi, MS. Naturally Lizzy was the ‘belle of the ball’. She lights up any atmosphere, she dolls up nicely, but at the same time she will get down and rough when it  suits her.

I’m a lucky father!

lizzy getting ready
Chap-stick is a must have in our life!(at least she thinks so)
boomtown
Hats off to the bull!
Gulf State Pier, Pier Fishing

Pompano

Pompano usually cruise between the bars, generally just behind the 2nd bar in my experience. They patrol up and down the beaches looking for sand fleas and other small creatures. They are a member of the jack family, and they let you know when they run with your bait. On occasion you can see them if you look for flashes of light zipping through the water.

pomps

In Alabama there are size and creel restrictions, so know your regulations. I like using a quality 3000 class spinning rod with 8lb-10lb mono(I allow them to run a ways before tightening the drag down. 3/8″ of fresh peeled shrimp works great. Don’t waste money on the frozen mess.

They taste great on the grill with a little butter, salt, and lemon pepper(skin side down).

My Life

The Boss, the Trigger and the Benelli

Its 2013 and my wife is making rounds delivering flowers for valentine’s day when she came across a house with white GSD’s for sale. She picked out a little male as a ‘surprise’ and gave him to me later that night. I had raised white shepherds as a youth and loved them very much( I still had an older male named Boss). I had trouble picking a name for this new pup, so when Kelsey landed on Trigger, the name stuck like glue.

Flashback to 2005

Boss was an overly large AKC white GSD, he had a gentle loving nature and was loyal to a fault. As a younger boy I would take my shepherds on runs through the woods and neighborhood. One evening a territorial retriever made a charge at me(Boss was at the end of his leash about 25 feet ahead of me), by the time I turned to dodge the incoming dog Boss had him locked down on the pavement with jaws around the aggressors neck. The retriever knew he was out matched and froze on the ground until I called Boss off.

Many years passed and I always had Boss by my side. He suffered a severe stroke after a minor surgical procedure(neutering) and ended up 90% blind and needing extreme physical therapy. My vet suggested euthanasia, but I opted to keep him and do therapy at home. Several months later I had a loyal companion that could walk again. Boss, even blind was still a better dog than most, he knew my voice and my smell and came to me no matter the obstacles he had to face. He also had a fierce devotion to Kelsey, and after she moved in he became fairly hostile towards visitors while she was around, but Boss was also the most gentle dog when it was just us, I’ve fed him a fresh egg on more than one occasion and watched him carefully poke a small hole in the shell and lick the yolk out.

Back to 2013, when I introduced Trigger to Boss, they became instant pals. Trigger had the eyes, Boss had the smarts and training. I developed Trigger into a hardcore hunting dog through rigorous daily training. I remember crossing a small creek while Trigger was left on the other bank alone, I continued to encourage him to follow and he made a giant leap into the stream and under he went. After what seemed like a minute he popped up on my side of the bank and ran to me. From that moment on I knew I had a great dog on my hands. My wife Kelsey became pregnant and Trigger became her loyal couch buddy during the 1st few months. One day while working on the chicken coop Trigger came up to me and told me he wasn’t feeling well, and within an hour parvo had taken full effect of his little body. Being a nurse and not wanting to give up on my amazing little man I started fluids and medications with the vets guidance and support. After two weeks of subcutaneous iv fluids he was better and back on track to growing into a FINE young dog. His strength and stamina returned and the look in his eyes told us he was grateful for the constant love and support shown during his time of need. One evening while I was working Kelsey called to inform me that Trigger had been ran over at our mailbox by one of the many rural neighbors that likes to drive like a bat out of hell. My wife and I mourned him and still miss him in our lives. Shortly after that Boss passed away, leaving us dog-less and hurt.

Below are pictures of Trigger

Enter Benelli, Jan 2017, my wife again located a breeder that had some white GSD’s and convinced me that we ‘needed’ one. So we waited the 6 weeks and we picked out our newest little man. In keeping with tradition of having a unique name, we chose Benelli(aka B’Nell or Benelli Sue). Benelli is an extremely mouthy dog, I’ve never had a shepherd that makes the vocal expressions like he does. Simply put, he literally trys to talk and mimic the words you say to him. He is now 12 weeks and is fully house trained, and some basic commands are known and he follows hand commands good. At times I feel Benelli is the living, breathing re-incarnation of Trigger. He watches after my daughter and will sleep under her bed or in the bed next to her if she allows. He is never more than a step behind his Lizzy to play or protect her.

Below are pictures of Benelli

 

 

I hope to grow my dog family in the near future by adding a white female. I would love to breed a litter off of Benelli.

Uncategorized

Dippin Sauce and Fried Fish

Few things are as fun as getting into a bream bed. On my grandparents property we have a small 1/2 acre pond that is stocked with bass and bream. I love to take a fly rod with a tiny dry fly and work the shallows and edges of the bream beds. Its always fun when your’re ‘catching’ and not just ‘fishing’ :). The pond is nearing the overstock level so it’s time again to start having a fish fry. On a good day, it’s nothing to pull in 75-80 of these tasty little fellows.

bream

I prefer to scale them with a spoon, then remove the innards and head, wash them, soak them in milk then batter them in a 75%/25% flour/cornmeal solution that is already seasoned with salt, pepper and a dash of cajun seasoning. Bring the frying pan up to temp, add the fish, fry until light golden brown, remove the fish, pat dry on paper towels and serve piping hot with a side of homemade sauce.

Home made dippin sauce recipe:

3/4 cup blue plate

5-7 sweet jerkin pickles diced

1/2 white onion diced

1/2 tablespoon of salt

a dash of lemon juice if you like,

stir it all together and served chilled

 

 

 

Pier Fishing

Cedar Point

Each evening after my flowchart class at CPSI I would head down from the heart of Mobile, AL to the beautiful Dauphin Island. I fished a pier known as ‘Cedar Point'(a private establishment as you enter the island). There were few fisherman on the pier and the ones there weren’t looking very hopeful. I fished the pier for 3 nights before I finally landed my 1st catch.

Being on ‘work related business’ I was unable to pack my large reels and all my gear so I opted to rent an additional rod from the pier house. I rigged the rod with a cheap double hook rig from the pier house and baited up with a hunk of fresh mullet. I made a nice cast to the channel, set my bail, and placed the rod against the rail at an angle. I walked up and down the rails with a popping cork and shrimp, hoping for trout to bite(no luck there). I was at the far end of the pier and had all but forgotten the rental rod when I heard a young boy yelling mister! mister! ‘your rod’. I made a dash to the rod, by the time I arrived the only thing holding the rod was the reel pressing against the rail. I immediately set the hook, and the fight was on. I had hooked into a large black drum, and fought him for about 15 minutes until he finally gave up and I was able to net him with some assistance from another fisherman.

drum

I knew the fish was too large to bring back to the Hilton and prepare in my room for the tiny charcoal grill outside, so I gave him to the fisherman that assisted me during the netting process. He immediately loaded the fish and his family and went home to dinner :).

drum2

I hope you enjoyed this story, there’s more to come….

 

Gulf State Pier

Sabiki Rig

One of my favorite parts of fishing the ocean is that you don’t have to buy live bait. There’s usually plenty of bait in the area in the form of scaled sardines(LY’s) or small hardtail jacks that will readily bite a shiny gold hook.

 

In the interest of catching plenty of bait in a short amount of time I prefer to use a ‘sabiki’ rig. This is simply a prepackaged item with a mainline and a snap swivel at each end, between the swivels are 5-6 ‘branch lines spaced 6″ apart and on the ends are small gold hooks with a shiny piece of green or red tinsel material. You attach your mainline to the top and a 1oz weight to the bottom and simply lower the rig into the water. Once your line is several feet below the surface; start a ‘jig’ motion up and down and reel every now and then. It’s common to hook a fish on EVERY hook. It should also be noted that when you add a tiny tip of shrimp to the end, this rig is a favorite of ‘spadefish’ and when one bites, wait for more to bite the other hooks and you’re in for a real fight on light tackle. Occasionally the spanish mackerel will devour these rigs; cutting the majority of rigs off your line, but you will land about 50% of the spanish that go after your hooks.(the rigs are very light line and are easily cut by the mackerels’ sharp teeth)

When you are done with the rigs, THROW THEM AWAY, don’t save them, they become a hook nightmare and they are only $1 a pack. I’ll throw them away properly before I worry about getting hooks in my hands again…

Thanks for reading,

E.

Gulf State Pier

Tying the ‘KNOT’

The underlying truth to this blog is actually tell most of my stories so that in the event something happens to me, that my daughter Elizabeth will be able to read and learn from the stories I’ve told.

This story/lesson is the first of many to come. Its important when fishing to be able to tie the proper knots. When using braided line not just any old knot will do, in comes the UNI KNOT. This knot is my favorite and works for braided line, mono line, fluorocarbon line, and tying line to line. Its simple and fast and maintains one of the highest break strengths of any knot. Any internet search will show perfect tutorials for this knot, however I will be adding step by step photos later on.

When fishing at Gulf State Pier it’s important to target a specific species. For instance, the 5th & 6th light poles on the right are my favorite for producing pompano in April. Use a Carolina rig with a thumbnail size of FRESH peeled shrimp on a small khale hook.my-1st-pomp

For big red-fish I find it best to fish the right side of the ‘octi’ between 2 and 3 o’clock. I like to use a carolina rig also with a heavy mono leader and a #1 mustad treble. Live sardines are great bait. Cast it as far as you can and wait. When the fish takes it, let him run against the drag after setting the hook. This will tire him out, NEVER bring a ‘green'(lively) fish to the pier, it will wrap you around the pilings.evening-red.png

Falconry

Harris Hawks

My first experience holding a hawk was with a medium size male Harris that was flown at my first hunt. Having only been in the a part of this small community for a few weeks, I wasn’t expecting, nor was I prepared(I had yet to purchase a glove). When one of the guys tossed me a spare glove and said ‘hold your arm out and whistle to him’ I did just that, and like magic, I had a piece of God’s finest work perched atop my fist. All of the years I had been after this suddenly came forward. I realized how close I was to achieving one of my dreams.

I had mixed feelings about this hawk, although he was certainly the smallest hawk present and seemed very docile, his talons pushed past 1 inch and he had the foot strength to punch through the glove should he so desire. Watching him fly branch to branch while he put his faith in us below to flush wild game is something I’ll never forget. I will be flying a Harris when the opportunity presents itself.

While the tiercel Harris is something along the lines of a 911 Carrera, quick and powerful, yet agile in the turns, we also had the Corvette ZR1 of Harris’ hawks present, a massive female imprint that hits game hard, and does so with impressive speed and precision.

harris female.png
Female Harris
Uncategorized

Bull Reds

 

As an analyst for certain electronic medical record companies I require training on the software I maintain. Fortunately for me CPSI(my 1st analyst gig) was near Dolphin Island so I could fish every evening. I fished a place called Cedar Point Pier every night for a week without catching a single fish, finally on the last night of the trip I landed a 27# black drum and a 28# red fish. During this time I met a young man and his fiance who spoke of a place that was supposedly the best pier fishing on the gulf. That place was Gulf State Pier.

My yearly conference is held in San-Destin at the Hilton, so every evening you can bet that I’m fishing. This particular trip ended and I met my wife and her grandmother in Gulf Shores for a few days. This was the perfect opportunity to land some “bull reds”(large female red-fish). I use a large aluminum pier cart that i purchased from J& M tackle of Orange Beach, AL. I had been fishing with few bites, but i noticed an elderly man of Asian descent that repeatedly landed my target species. So when he hooked up and went down rail, I baited up and sent the “LY” (bait fish) to the bottom. Soon after I was hooked into a large red that decided to head south, way south. She stripped about 150 yards of line off, then I decided to tighten the drag a little on my Okuma ABF90 and began the fight back to the pier. After 15 or 20 minutes I could see the fish nearing the pier, then all of a sudden my line went slack, the red made a dash towards the pier pilings to try wrapping the line. Thankfully my 10 month pregnant wife :), was beside me with the drop net and managed to assist in netting the big red before my line snapped. I can’t recall weight, although she measured around the 34″ mark.

red1

We try to make yearly trips to this wonderful pier, it’s a great place to just relax and leisurely vacation. I spend 75% of the time on the pier, but the zoo and water parks are a great place to beat the heat.

If you want further information, please join the FREE website Gulfshorespierfishing.com and introduce yourself. The information on there is phenominal.

Thanks for reading,

E.

 

Uncategorized

My Mews Build

I apologize for the lack of pictures, during this build, I will include some once i finish the project.

I started off with a 8’x8’x10′ shed kit from lowes. It was a scratch and dent/water damage special. The roof was missing, and that is the only negative part, otherwise the price was right and the other parts are in great shape.

mew-build
Most parts were already assembled and saved me a great deal of time.

I started out by laying everything out(it didn’t have instructions). I began to use my framing gun, but after the 3rd nail, the gun ruptured an internal seal, left with no other options and being my only free time for a while I began to use a hammer. I completed everything by hand with the exception of the roof deck and shingles. I opted for shingles because I like the look, my siding is a coated plywood and I plan on using schedule 40 pvc for my vertical bars. The windows are cut on the south and east sides, and there are vents near the top of the east and west sides. I plan on making large sections of the mews ‘convertible’ to allow adequate ventilation during the hot days of summer when i’m unable to weather my bird.

So far my biggest expense has been merely the nails. I have sourced some scrap decking material from a family member that had some extra lying around, additionally they had a pallet of shingles. This Sunday I will attempt to finish the roof and start coating the interior with primer.

Equipment used: compound miter saw, hammer, 3.5″ nails, 4 sheets of 5/8″ osb and some shingles, roofing nails, roofing felt, jigsaw, paint(interior and exterior), 20ft of 1″ schedule 40 pvc and a few other minor things(locks, handles etc)

Stay tuned!!