Fisherman’s Saturday Night Gathering…..Sneads Ferry Style
Fishermen, well, are what amounts to a tight community of people with a passion for fishing. There’s probably only one thing that is more important to this special group of people, and that’s family and good times. We recently saw that first hand when we were invited to a gathering of anglers, families and friends in the laid back little fishing village of Sneads Ferry, NC. It was a wonderful experience that Kathy (my wife) and I were honored to be invited to attend and will remember for a long time.
The gathering was initially supposed to be the awards festivities for the “New River Slam” fishing tournament. The tournament however, had to be cancelled due to high winds making fishing conditions dangerous. Instead of just calling it a day, Captain Eris Jones and his tournament organizers quickly decided to entertain the residents of Sneads Ferry with a good ole Carolina pig and chicken pick’n, complete with a DJ.
So at about 5:00, Kathy and I arrived at a marina on the New River with shrimp boats moored in the background and the familiar smell of whole pigs cooking and chicken on the massive smokers. It’s an aroma that every Carolinian knows and longs for. It always brings back wonderful memories of the past and anticipation of the great times just ahead. As the food continued to cook, the folks started to appear. Young and old they came, with folding chairs in hand and took their places on the neatly groomed field near the pop-up tent (provided by Coastal Carolina Fisherman e-Magazine).
It was a fishing community coming together to enjoy great food, but more importantly to enjoy each other on a beautiful Saturday. The crowd was made up of a wide variety of people from many walks of life. There were families with small children that played during the festivities to older adults that just took in the wonderful night. The 2015 Southern Kingfish Association National Champion (Captain Eris Jones) and the 2019 National Champion (Captain David Hull) were present as well as a number of other anglers and their families. Also there was Bobby Kreesher, a United States Maine Corps Captain. He is a Charleston native that now lives in Sneads Ferry and has become part of the local neighborhood. We met Kenneth Oxfurth. Kenneth was a Navy Corpman that was injured in Iraq in a rocket attack in 2014. He now gallantly battles PTSD with the help and support of his beautiful wife Katrina and son David.
Finally, about 6:00 pm a moment of silence was called for and in the southern tradition, the food was blessed and the eating began. Kathy and I enjoyed our loaded plates of smoked chicken, BBQ, boiled taters and green beans with a lady named Joann. She is the owner of the property where the event was held. This delightful lady has definitely gotten the art of graceful Southern living mastered. Her pleasant laughter and infectious smile made Kathy and I feel so welcomed to her special part of the world.
After the eating, the music began courtesy of DJ, Graham Wiggs and dancing started as the sun set over the outriggers of the nearby shrimp boats. It was Saturday night on the New River in Sneads Ferry. The weather was warm and the smiles and laughter even warmer. The talk was about fishing stories from the past and the present with a few lies likely mixed in. I’m sure of the lies part, because I’m pretty sure I told a few. It was a great scene of the young and old enjoying the evening as we were. Most of all it was about a group of people that had found a place in their lives that was free of the rat race that most of us face. They loved having a good time.
As it drew later in the evening, we started making our way to the car to begin our hour return trip to the rat race. As we looked back at the crowd with a glimmer of envy, it was that this fishing paradise was here every day for some, but could only be visited by others. But, I had enjoyed it all. Fishing champions, military heroes, family fun, great food and lots of fellowship in the backdrop of the vintage shrimp boats lightly rocking in the marina. It was Sneads Ferry, NC on a Saturday night, a true Coastal Carolina Fisherman happening. Thanks Eris, Julie and Joanna as well as all the others for sharing it with Kathy and I.