Sunday, November 19, 2017

The end of a Champion

Where to even start the story on this amazing event of this week? this story is true on all accounts and the ending is bitter sweet.
   Back in 2006 i had gotten permission to hunt a new land 15 acres of prime country land with fields and woods, mainly fields and my main quarry was deer,but my mind would shift to a quarry that would become known as TANK.
   I first saw him in 2006 on trail camera he was about 250 pounds at the time and a beautiful black bear,after seeing him repeatedly coming in to my trail camera i decided by the end of the year i was going to try and hunt him in 2007 season.
   Year after year day after day of hunting him i would see him in the day time until a week before the season would start and then he would disappear in day light only to show up on camera 15 minutes after i would leave my stand.
   Year after year this would go on and he would eat 50 pounds of corn each nite every year chasing deer away and any other animal that came close to HIS food.
  Finally in 2015 i thought it was the year that this king went head to head with me and i would outsmart him,i had his routine down to a science,i knew where he came in and went out and the times he was moving back and forth,i hunted hard that whole year for the 2 week season and on the second to last day i got that long awaited shot at 20 yards give or take and took it,BUT at the same time i shot he turned his head to the left leaving me to graze his right neck side which had me on a tracking job of 3 days in and out of swamps and heavy brush on my hands and knee's.
   After 3 days i gave up the chase and 3 days later he was back on my cameras as to say to me YOU missed.
   2016 was NO different i chased i sat for hours on end thru rain and 30 degree temps in the day and nite ,i slept in a tent with a buddy heater for 2 weeks never to get that day light shot, so the year ended the same as it did every year since 2007 no TANK .
2017 i was hoping for a better chance and hopefully a better way to bring him in the daylight,Peanuts un processed as allowed by the state of North Carolina we are allowed to use so i purchased my first batch of them at 800 pounds, not knowing how much that would be lol.
   The day before the season i set out at 2 stands about 300 pounds of peanuts and got ready for the first day,tore down my CVA Wolf .50 cal muzzle loader and cleaned it to insure proper functioning of my weapon of choice,loaded it with 100 grains of powder and a 250 grain Thompson Center Shock Wave bullet,its what my weapon shoots best.
   I had made sure the weapon was zeroed in a few days before for 25 yards since the most distance i have from any of the 2 stands is 27 yards,my stands are 30 foot and 18 foot high up enough out of the wind currents to not be too worried about scent,but i still sprayed down with D/code by Code Blue i was taking no chances of him finding me before i saw him.
First half of bear season in Lenoir county started on the 13th of November and ran to the 18th,i took a week off of work to hunt him as hard if not harder than i have in the years past.
  I checked my cameras that Friday night and he was on the camera all nite of the 12th so i knew my chances were good since he was taking his time eating and being caught on camera up till 7 am.
   Monday morning 4:30 am i headed into my stand to await shooting hours and make sure I was there before him,boy was i wrong lol i got there and he was already in eating the peanuts,as i approached he heard me and crashed out of there fast,i didn't give up but i felt like i was punched in the gut because he out smarted me again by getting there before me.
   I climbed up in the stand even if he had busted me coming in and half hour later i could hear branches breaking under his heavy body as he circled me to my right ever so slowly.
   For the very first time i could smell a bear and hear his breath as he tryed to catch my scent,for 20 minutes he worked around me trying to find me.
   I could hear him huffing and sniffing long sniffs yet he slowly stepped under my stand and into the peanuts,in the dark i could see his shadow,he looked like something from the Jurassic park era,BIG ominous and beautiful all at the same time.

   He would stay on the peanuts for the next few hours BUT at 5:53 am he was done and beating the incoming rain out of there leaving me in shambles and disbelief that he was that close to day light and he leaves.

  Rain set in for the morning and i sat there wondering what i did wrong even if i knew i did nothing wrong and it was just faith,after the rain cleared off i sat for another hour and called it a day and decided NOT to go back until the next morning the 14th.
   I believe that was the right call since he was back in eating that nite until 1 am,i knew because i pulled the camera chip after the next event happened.
   On the 14th of November the second day of bear i actually got up later than i wanted too i guess from  going over and over in my head the day before events,i got into my stand at 5 am and hour and a half later than i wanted too and i heard him once again leave the bait pile as i was going in and my heart dropped thinking i had really messed up this time.
   As i sat there for the next half hour all of a sudden i hear twig snap and my heart starts to race faster than my mind,sunrise is half hour away for first shooting light,i hear what i assumed was a slight buck grunt from behind my stand and another twig snap but this time closer and in front of me to my right.
   As i sit there in silence not even a bird chirping my mind is racing trying to think of the best shot possible to take to drop him as humanely and fast as i can 6:10 i see him rounding the first tree on my right just before the bait pile of peanuts,i didn't think twice i picked up my weapon and got him in the scope and as soon as he was in the clear of the bushes i let the WOLF howl,as i am listening for some kind of sound my mind is racing again did i get him, is he dead,did i miss???

   Just as the smoke was clearing i see and hear him rolling on the ground towards my stand and at that point i was reloaded and ready to fire again, the first shot was to the side of the head the second shot i put in his side behind the shoulders trying to take out the lungs,as he was hit with the second placed shot he rolled back the other way to where he was first hit and i gave him a third shot that ended the life of one magnificent animal and adversary.
  You don't or can not explain the way you truely feel after doing something like this,it is a relief yet sad at the same time its being happy knowing you have set a quest and completed it no matter what it took.
   I sat in the woods the rest of the week feeling empty yet satisfied and i know to some that would make no sense but it is hard to put it all in words what it was like and to know you have claimed the KING of the woods,i didn't hunt him for a trophy but i will not let HIS legacy go unheard ,he was between 10 to 15 years old he weighted in at 585 pounds and was over 7 foot tall on his hind legs,from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail he was 6 foot 7 inches and his front thighs were thicker around than my legs.
    He is gone but his memory will live on in my mind and many others i normally do not mount animals but he was the king of his domain so he will be mounted by where he will be brought back to life and be remembered for the magnificent animal he was.
   Where do i go from here? not sure but where ever i go NOTHING can compare to the years I've spent hunting this King of the woods, thank you Lord for sharing your animal with me and giving me the strength and ability to keep on going.
  A very special thank you to Dennis and Suzie Rouse for allowing me to continue to hunt there land and allowing me to fulfill my quest on a very special animal.
   To Ty friend and David Friend thank you for all your help getting him out of the woods and keeping him in great shape to get put back together for a mount. 
  Most of all thank you to my loving wife Ruthie Wilbur for allowing me year after year to go after an animal that some could only ever dream of seeing let alone get a shot at and kill,alot of lonely nites sleeping at home without me for a week or 2 on end and being patient with me while i try to complete a task that most would not try or would give up on after the first year,the money that could have been spent on other things instead of bear hunting,thank you for letting me be me i love you more than i can say.
 To everyone who followed me over the years while i chased him THANK YOU for believing i can and would eventually do it, this was not about me alone it was EVERYONE who followed each year as i tryed to bring y'all on the hunt with me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

                                     What makes a Fisherman

 Random thought running thru my head,over the years since i was a little boy my dad has taught me how to be a fisherman,from tying lines to hooks and baiting them to casting from close faced to open faced reels.
 Fly Rod to tying fly's and teaching patients to presentations,He also taught me how to find the fish ANY WHERE i went what to look for how to approach them and how to actually catch them.
 As the years have gone by i have used EVERY bit of what he has taught me in fishing as well as in everyday life because most of what he taught went hand in hand with every day living.
 As i grown so does my fishing ability's since it is a never ending learning curve,there are many people who consider themselves Fisherman yet know nothing about the reality of how and why they are catching fish.
 Many people ride the coat tails of other fisherman and then consider themselves fisherman because they can go to a place that was shown to them time and time again and shown how to approach and cast to the awaiting fish this is not a blast on anyone in particular just a fact of life.
 Then there is that guy or gal that buys the very best gear and lures that were made to catch fisherman and or woman they watch hours and hours of videos and TV shows and then TRY to go out and catch fish.
There are many guides which i am one that work hard to find fish, keep track of fish and there habits so when the time comes they can take a client out and show them where the fish are and hopefully teach them to catch them.
 The job of a guide is to help put you on fish but further more to TEACH you what our fathers and grandfathers have done from an early age,the job of the client is to learn what is being taught then take it home and REMEMBER what you were taught not where you were brought to catch fish learning.
 The last thing a guide wants to do is find a person he took fishing in his fishing hot spots thru the year because the client is now a fisherman,more or less a tail rider because if he had not been shown where he would not not where and would still be looking.
even if the person who has shown you what you need to know to locate and catch fish is NOT a guide but a friend be smart and stay away from where he has shown you out of friendship,no he doesn't own the fish or the water but if it was not for him most would not have a clue how to catch fish.
 So WHAT makes a fisherman or fisher woman? LEARNING how to do things on your own from what knowledge has been passed down to you,put what you were taught to use for your OWN good and find fish and spots that you can be proud of by knowing you payed attention and didn't have to be shown where to go.
 A fisherman is a person who uses all resources to there benefit,a person who learned what they were taught and retained a person that no matter where they go and fish can find fish because they LEARNED.
Getting a guide is a great way to learn what and how and where but trust me most guides are not gonna take you to a spot and then say ill see you here the next day FREE.
 He or she is not gonna want to see you fishing where they took you after they are done trying to teach you,and again no they do not own the water or the fish but they make a life teaching and if your interfering in that its wrong and yes by being there that's what your doing.
I do not consider myself a pro or believe i know every thing but i do know i LEARN every day about fishing and life,when i can not learn it is over.
I do not need to go to where others show me where fish are i like to go and find my own fish and i work hard doing it,many many hours on the water with different lures and baits,i do not guide from a boat so i use waters that are close and do not need to be paddled miles to get to them a boat guide if he isn't on fish can travel many miles in a hurry to get fish as a kayak guide they can not.

So what type of fisherman or woman are you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I have finally gotten the chance to do an off shore event this past weekend at the Oak Island NCKFA tournament i was sponsored by Eric Moore of Chilly Beat Apparel which is a great clothing company with awesome shirts and hoodies as well as hats all you could ever need for out door wear.
The event started at first light on the 8th of October,i fished from the Native Watercraft Versa board which is 12.3 inches long 33 inches wide and Only 55 pounds,it is a great platform to fish from with its wide open deck and low profile with swivel seating and elite seating to make it comfortable all day long,easy to stand on and stable enough to allow for you to fly fish from or throw a cast net off.
Family and friends Paul Anderson and his wife deb put me up as they always do and i am very greatful to call these friends family,THANK YOU Paul and Deb for putting up with me each year to see more of these great people check them out at for all your fishing needs.

The first morning was stunning with light winds and calm sea's which meant my first time out in the ocean in the Versa board was gonna be a good one,i got my bait from the beach before i launched all nice sized finger mullets made sure every thing was in place before the launch,watched the wave action for a bit then saw my opening and went for it.
My rigs were simple leader was 50 pound mono with bead crimped in place with a 3 ounce barrel sinker and another bead crimped in place holding the sinker and 8/0 circle hook in place,20 pound braided main line on a Penn Pursuit rod and reel combo.
7:56 minutes into my launch i had hooked up to my first ever bull drum off the kayak and the fight was on after a brief fight i managed to land the fish tag it and safely release it unharmed to fight another day.

There were many bull drum caught on this day and i was able to hold first place on the bull drum at 41 inches at the end of day one 

on day 2 there was a 43.75 came in and a 43.50 along with a 42 incher knocking me out of the running for a top seat

i did how ever learn a great lesson ,not only do you need to make sure your pictures of the tape are CLEAR and seable BUT also ALWAYS have your identifyer in the picture,i lost out on 3rd place big red because i forgot that part,my picture was clear but no identifyer means no fish.

This was my first offshore fishing tournament and it will not be my last since it was a blast and i did very well in my own world.
Thank you again to my sponsors and Eric Moore for the chance to represent you and your awesome apparel ,thank you to Native Watercraft for a fantastic all around fishing kayak   and also thank you to my loving wife Ruth Jones for believing in me all these years 

Here is a video of my first morning first bull drum hope you enjoy.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Made a new kayak purchase it is   #nativewatercraftversaboard

Here is my take on this kayak paddle board.
it is 12.3 feet long 33 inches wide and weighs in at a whopping 55 pounds.
 very stable kayak with the elite seating by native with a swivel base that will lock in place where ever you put it or it can be flipped up and back folding out of the way enabling you to be able to stand and paddle with ease.
it is not a fast kayak in the least but it moves with ease,i can stand and fish with the help of a stand up strap i installed to help with the ease of standing ,i have pushed the seat back and i can tell you it makes it a lot more roomy if you will.
The deck is clean and open without any obstructions to get in your way,this deck would be ideal for fly fishing which i will test out soon as the weather permits .
 I can sit in this kayak for hours on end with the seating as it is the best part about this kayak is there is many different seating options,you can remove the swivel seat and mount a cooler for higher seating or put a normal kayak seat on it as well as a wedge seat by native.
 my over all opinion on this kayak is it is a great kayak and it performs better than i could have wanted,i look to add a second one to my fleet of kayaks along with 2 manta ray 14's ,neither of these kayaks will break the bank and are user friendly by all from beginner to professional 

 March is almost over and it has been a good month for sure,the red drum bite had been from cold to hot in a week or 2 and back to cool.
drum were hitting every thing we could throw at them from top waters to soft plastics and live baits,there were no shortage of fish up till now,the fish are there but with the water temps back down they are less willing to chew.
 Had the pleasure of getting a repeat customer out when things were on fire and he had the time of his life,6 drum on top waters up to 26.50 inches and he bested his personal best drum 3 times in one day with the largest being 30 inches.
 Had some friends out in the same area and in a few hours we put almost 100 drum between 3 kayaks on soft plastics JP Hammer Shads 3.6 in money and bubble gum worked very well the schools have thinned down some but they are still there and it takes time and patients now to get them to bite,but with next weeks warmer weather that will all change as they become more active with the warmer waters.
Here are some pics from the last few weeks of drum fishing and i have actually caught a flounder how ever it was short but they are showing back up as well ;)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Standing up for whats right

 It has been some time since i have updated or made a report but ill start off 2015 with this story of trying to right a wrong. A few weeks ago at Willis landing off bear creek road in Hubert North Carolina there was an incident on the creek between a commercial fisherman and 2 kayaker's over a parking space that the commercial fisherman felt was his own private parking spot. What it came down to is these 2 guys were gonna spend there time from work on the water kayaking and a parking space was open ,so they unloaded and launched only to be aggressively approached by the commercial fisherman in his boat yelling and screaming at them for where they park and after words exchanged he ran his commercial boat around them a few times sending wakes at them from the speeding boat,putting them at risk of flipping over in the ice cold waters.

 Marine fishery's were called in and the commercial boater found and ticketed so you would think this is the end of the story right? wrong. This commercial fisherman feels that since kayak's do not get registration by the state unless they have a motor that they have no right to take up Public parking at a wild life ramp. Now this story takes a twist in a weeks time there is no parking signs put up in the small parking lot stating NO parking without a trailer and the parking went from close to 10 spots down to 4- 3 for trailers and one for Handy capped parking.

 What is the problem with that? well it eliminates parking for locals fishing the sea wall and for kayaker's looking for a safe place to fish away from heavy boat traffic. No inquiry's were made or public comments looked for just signs banning single car parking,i have lived here for 14 years and have used that ramp every year all year since it is across the street from me.

 The ramp has a history of being problematic since it is a very small ramp with limited parking,but it has always ran smooth by the people who use it kayaker's and boaters alike. Last year they painted the sides of the road to make better room for trailer parking and still allow room for single car parking but after 1 complaint from this commercial fisherman we are stopped from single car parking.

 I have taken it upon myself to try and bring light to the injustice this brings by not allowing EVERYONE to use this PUBLIC launch. I have contacted and requested we talk about this and see if we couldn't get it resolved. After talking for a bit and him offering alternative spots for a new kayak ramp and pointing out that what was being suggested would not make anything better just worst considering the location of the site proposed is heavy traffic and a waist of tax payers money and he agreed it was.

 Then i was asked what i would do? and i firmly told him i would leave well enough alone, since it has always worked before and no matter what you will not please everyone, leave the bottom gravel part for single car parking and the sides of the road that were marked last summer for trailer parking only and are now off limits to single car parking only, this would allow all user groups to use the public ramp since we all help fund it with license fees and registration for boats as well and from the sale of kayaks and fishing gear which a small portion of all that helps fund the public ramps in North Carolina.

 The only other ramp to use in that area is a 2.4 mile paddle from shell rock landing to the mouth of bear creek and then another mile or so up the creek to fish,now i don't know about y'all but that's a heck of a paddle on the inter coastal water way with barges ,off shore boats and hundreds of other fishing vessels running up and down it. I would not allow a young person to paddle that even if he had been at it for years it is simply just too dangerous and too far.

 Bear creek is a great fishery, it was a safe haven for people to take there kids fishing in kayaks, rafts or small oaring boats and now that is gone for the time being. This is not about ME its about all the others that use this ramp its about the older woman with cancer who fishes off the sea wall every year in the summer from sun up to sun down, because fish is very beneficial for her to eat and she can not find many other places far from her to fish and enjoy,she lives 2 blocks from the ramp yet can not use it.

 Where does this go from here? i don;t have a clue but if i can help make a difference to all those who don't know how to fight and will just sit back and say we can not do anything,i will fight for them,i will try to get it back to a usable ramp for all not just commercial boaters. I want people to know we have rights too, we help pay for that public ramp we do clean ups to keep it pretty and usable,we teach kids to fish there we, teach the art of kayaking for pleasure or for fishing,its a safe haven for me to take wounded warriors out there in a kayak fishing or in my boat,yes i have both so the parking for a trailer is no real issue to me since i have access one way or the other ,its about those who don't have boats or have a place to fish peacefully.

 If you are reading this and want to help and voice your concern over OUR public resource please send an email or make the phone call to and let him know how you feel about all this. And thank you one and all for takeing the time to read and hopefully voice your opinion on this matter. here is some pictures of the ramp just to get the point across and show it is small but for the last 14 years that i have lived here it has worked as it is.

the ramp has now been settled and all remarked so EVERYONE can use it thanks to everyone who helped get it back open.