Friday, November 20, 2015

Fishing with a Longtime Friend

Terry Madewell just held tight when I scurried to get the first catfish bite of the morning. Same as he did when he first introduced me to Santee Cooper catfishing 25 years ago. Same as he always does. Terry will tell you it's a business move. He wants photos. And in truth it never takes long for his camera to start clicking. I contend, though, that bigger factors are Terry's natural graciousness and his desire to see other people catch fish.

Terry and I spent yesterday with Linwood Thornhill, a legendary Santee Cooper guide who has guided on these lakes 15 years longer than I have been alive, and we had an outstanding day. We caught about a dozen cats up to 25 pounds in the morning, and then spent the afternoon catching about 50 stripers from schools. As good as the fishing was, though, I'd have to say that my favorite part of the day was just spending it with Terry, who is a friend and a mentor in this industry.

When I was just out of college and working for the South Carolina Waterfowl Association, Terry took me bass fishing on Lake Marion and answered questions about outdoor writing all day long. I still remember many conversations from that day. Terry also introduced me to several Santee Cooper catfish guides, and set up trips with some of them so we could fish together. It had been too many years since we fished together, though.

Terry's notepad and pen are never far from him, and he's always asking questions of guides, pros and other anglers, and taking notes for stories. He's also an avid fisherman himself, and he lived in Manning for many years, and I'd guess that with the exception of a few veteran local anglers like Linwood, Terry knows about as much about fishing these lakes for all species as anyone out there. He doesn't boast his knowledge, though. He just sits back and listens, has fun catching some fish and seemingly has even more fun watching everyone else catch fish.

For information about the Santee Cooper Lakes, check out Santee Cooper Country.

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