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Tight Lines wishes 'Merry Fishmas' to all

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Bucket list item fulfilled: Fishing with Santa! Merry Christmas from Tight Lines Carolina Angler staff, Linda and Rick Goines.

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BY RICK GOINES
Tight Lines

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

'Twas the Christmas before fishing season, when all through the South

The fish started stirring early, even the resident cottonmouth

The rods were rigged and hung by the back door with care

In hopes that shad fishing season would soon be there

Fishermen were nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of trophy fish danced in their heads

And wifey in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap

Had just settled down for a quick winter's nap

When out on the water there arose such a clatter

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter

I heard whooping and hollering, so I moved lightning fast

The fish had come early and I didn’t want to be last

The moon on the water made the Tar River glow

I swear the fish were laughing and taunting us below

When what to my wondering eyes seemed so unclear

Were hickories and whites — this early in the year?

With my Custom Jimmy-D shad rigs moving so lively and quick

I knew in a moment this would do the trick

And then, in an instant, my fishing buddies had gathered

They’d heard the good news and were completely enamored

Sittin’ at the mouth of Fishing Creek

I turned to see familiar faces who were too stunned to speak

“Hickory Shad! White Shad! and a few Rockfish too!”

I exclaimed loudly to the locals, “We have lots of work to do!”

Standing on the creek banks, working my magic

My gut instincts quickly told me this could turn quite tragic

“Would we fish this place dry? Would the tournaments turn cold?”

“Are we outsmarting ourselves? Don’t we have integrity to uphold?”

As I shook my brain into action, and was turning around

Down the boat ramp St. Nicholas came with a bound

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon allowed me to know I had nothing to dread

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot

And his words of wisdom were quite frankly well put

“Fish? This many? It is my Christmas wish to you

Please continue to gleefully reel them in – two by two

So up to the water’s surface floated both species of shad

I chuckled to my jolly old self, “Hey! This ain’t half bad!”

More rapid than rockfish they swam and they swam

I knew in an instant this year was going to be a grand slam

Santa laughed and he chuckled as he watched with careful eye

He turned with a jerk but there was no chimney nearby

With little to offer but my rod and my chair

I encouraged him to join us — assured he’d feel like a millionaire

The fish kept biting and Santa was clearly having fun

But I knew his time was short and he needed to run

A Christmas Day to remember, a tale to repeat

It was certainly a day that I felt complete

“I fished with Santa!” — I could now brag all day

“He needed to leave but I insisted he stay!”

It was truly a Christmas wish come true

For each and every Eastern Carolina angler I knew

But I gave it some reflection, pondered some intellectual thought

Maybe all anglers weren’t as independent as I had sought

So when wetting a hook, you don’t have to go it alone

FishIBX or Down East Guide Service — I want you to phone

Or if you prefer, there’s always Fisherman’s Post Schools

I am here to attest they won’t make your crew out to be fools

Carolina Outdoor Expo in Greenville near the end of January beckons

Seminars, vendors, important info and intel, I reckon

Ninth Annual 2019 Tight Lines Tar River First Hickory Shad

Contest I guess, with a prize package chock full of really cool mess

There’s Pell’s Pond Party in June for the younger fish wranglers

Or Inshore Institute Fishing School in February for older smart anglers

Tarboro Association of Saltwater Sportsman — known as TASS

Full of great anglers with a whole bunch of class

TASS shad tournament in March, John Cherry Rockfish Rodeo in April

Both tournaments are fun and enjoyed yearly by the faithful

Custom Jimmy D Shad Rigs always super to crank

If you need some to purchase check with Big Rick at the riverbank

Your stories and pix we gladly receive, reporting your catch fills us with ease

“Catch and release!” we shout loud and clear

Leave some in the water so we can catch them next year

So this holiday season, I ask you to reflect

On the blessings and good tidings we never expect

May each of you have an epic day on your chosen waters

Do remember to include your sons and daughters

And what warms the heart of this old salty dog

Is to wet a hook while sipping eggnog

So., as I cast out another and throw each of you a cheer

Merry Fishmas to all and to all a great catch in this New Year!

Plans are underway for the 2019 Ninth Annual Tight Lines Tar River First Hickory Shad Contest. Simply put, we reward the first angler to catch and check-in a hickory shad at Roberson & Dupree Shoe Store in Tarboro. The payoff is a prize package of merchandise, gift cards and gift certificates. No sign-up, no registration and no fee. Open to everyone.

Prize package is building nicely. Adding neat stuff daily. If you or someone you know could benefit from sponsor association with this exciting contest, please let us know. Gold, silver and bronze levels of sponsorship available — $25 minimum involvement.

Start date this year will be Jan. 19 at sunrise. Boundaries are the Tar River upstream of N.C. 42 bridge at Old Sparta to the Falls at Battle Park in Rocky Mount. Obviously, an honor system is in effect.

As the new year approaches, the Tarboro Association of Saltwater Fisherman board of directors is looking for new board members for 2019. Duties would include meeting seven to eight times during the year, assisting with five events and promoting TASS. Anyone interested should contact Greg Sessoms or Jimmy Dupree Jr. Ping us and we will put you in touch with the man with the plan.

Rick's Soapbox — A very Merry Christmas and most happy holidays greetings to you and yours. We wish you a joyful holiday and a healthy 2019 full of tight lines and tons of fishing pleasure.

I don't want to go and get all sappy on you, but I am a believer, and encourage you to remember the reason for the season. The good Lord above blesses us anglers with the abundant, productive, beautiful waters we fish and enjoy, and I am never more prayerful, thankful and appreciative than those days I am out and about on the water communing with nature.

Wifey Linda and I did not send out Christmas cards this year, so please allow this Christmas verse and heartfelt message to fill that void.

Winter Fishing Success? Mazel tov! Give us all the exciting details at carolinaangler@gmail.com. Large-file, high-resolution fishy pix make us happy.

See you on the water, my friend!

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