Mac Perry (left) reels in his bait as big brother Jon Thomas watches during their 'hurrication' at Lake Hartwell. Tommy Braswell/Special to The Post and Courier

Okay, take away my "Salt Life" sticker. But our family decided to make the best of the Hurricane Dorian situation and for the second year in a row turned the mandatory evacuation into a "hurrication."

That decision resulted in a special memory. I got to help my youngest grandson, Mac Perry, almost 5, catch his first fish, a memory I experienced five years ago with his older brother, Jon Thomas.

Since school was out, my wife and I and our son and his family decided to go camping. We ended up at Lake Hartwell State Park.

When we showed up, both boys wanted to go fishing. They had rods and reels and plenty of artificial lures. But we decided that natural baits would be a better choice so we all hiked to the camp store and purchased a container of nightcrawlers.

There were plenty of tiny bream hanging around in the shallows. I threaded worms onto the hooks for both boys and we flipped them into the water. The bream were small but had large appetites. It wasn't long before Mac (with a little help from Poppa) yanked one from the school and excitedly yelled, "I caught a fish! I caught a fish!"


Mac Perry reacts to catching his first fish during his 'hurri-cation' to Lake Hartwell.

Mac posed for a picture, but no amount of coaxing could get him to touch the fish, much less give it a kiss.

For a short time, the approach of Hurricane Dorian was forgotten, replaced by the wonder of a youngster catching his first fish and getting to be part of that special moment.

After the storm

South Carolina residents were still reeling from Hurricane Dorian as this was being written, so it's still early to assess the affects that the storm will have on wildlife and wildlife activities. As S.C. Department of Natural Resources biologist Charles Ruth noted several years ago following Hurricane Matthew, deer hunters today are probably more concerned with repairing their homes and lives than getting back into the woods. Once hunters do get back in the woods, they will find getting to their hunting property more difficult with downed trees and flooding.

A big concern for fisheries is dissolved oxygen levels. Organic materials flushed from the land decays and can cause low dissolved oxygen levels which lead to fish kills.

You should exercise extreme caution if you are heading out in a boat with the potential of encountering submerged logs.

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