The fall is hard to beat here in the lowcountry. Along with tailing tides we have marsh hen hunting. On the highest of high tides these birds are forced onto the last remaining areas of grass that is still above water. Pushing thru these areas in the skiff will cause the hens to flush very much like a quail. This is a lot of fun and can be paired with a tailing tide trip. These are what we call cast and blast trips and are one of the greatest lowcountry experiences.
I recently redid the nonskid on my Hells Bay Whipray. The cockpit and the front deck were getting pretty slick so I decided it was time for a refit. I have never attempted to work on a boat myself like this and I have never touched awlgrip in my life but considering that I am happy the way it came out. I removed the fly line toe rails, the front cleat, and the nav lights (I have shark eyes on the hull side). I also removed the compass and put a cup holder in its place. Lastly I removed the old push pole holders and replaced them with the tried and true stiffy holders. Plugging the holes where the cleat and nav lights were was my biggest difficulty. They aren't perfect but I can get them better next time. I learned a lot on this go around and next time I will use fine awlgrip griptex instead of the coarse. The coarse is a bit much for this skiff.
I have always dreamed of owning a classic whipray. Not the newer heavier versions that are produced now but one of the origional Whiprays built when Hal Chittum owned Hells Bay and the skiffs were designed by Chris Morejohn. I really wanted one of the Whiprays with the crustacean crevice crab drawing on the live well. They were only built like that for 3 or 4 years. Mine is a 1999 model and is the lightest skiff I could ever imagine poling.
When I was in the Florida Keys guiding I really never had the opportunity to own one simply because it isn't made to handle a lot of open water. In the keys conditions are often rough and long runs are a necessity. Once I moved back to South Carolina I had the opportunity to own one. Where I fish in South Carolina the runs are short and I very rarely cross water with any chop on it. For the fishing I do shallow draft and maneuverability is extremely important. There has never been a skiff built that does all of that as well as the origional whipray. It is extremely lightweight and a dream to pole. This allows me to get my clients on fish and stay with the fish longer reguardless of the tide.