Lowcountry locals continue to surprise Guardian writer

Trips to local launch ramps have given Matt Popovich a great deal of insight into area.

One of my favorite pastimes, if you have read any of my blogs or columns, is fishing. I have been going to creeks, ponds, and rivers with friends for as long as I can remember. There is nothing better than walking for miles in the middle of a creek, trying out every deep hole you come across .

A great deal of the enjoyment I receive from fishing doesn’t come from a tight line, although there’s not much better than a fish on. No, a great deal of the enjoyment I receive from fishing originates with the friendships I have made via fishing throughout the years. I also greatly enjoy meeting new people through my love for the outdoors.

One thing I notice quite often, as I explore the Lowcountry and its many public access sites, is the friendliness of the individuals I meet. The people I meet come from all different walks of life. The one thing they all share is friendliness and approachability.

Most times when I am fishing, I will get a chance to talk to a local and pick their brain about fishing, cultural nuances of the south, questions regarding racial relations in the south, and so on. Individuals are willing to help me with my fishing and speak to me of the history and way of life here in the south.

This is why I love fishing. It would be difficult for me to find out where to fish, who’s important, how to speak to people etc., without meeting these varied individuals. Visiting the many launch ramps of the Lowcountry has allowed me to expand my knowledge of the area and what the residents of this area truly value.

And it’s not just me. The other day I was fishing and I witnessed an older gentleman explain to a group of high school aged kids how to rig their fishing poles in an easier way. This gentleman did not have to take time out of his fishing day to teach these young guys, but he did.

That is why rural communities are the greatest places on Earth to live. People you have never met before and don’t owe you any friendliness or consideration will take time out to help each other. How would someone like me ever learn a good fishing rig to look up or where to go without the help of someone with a great deal of local knowledge?

After spending time here in the south, I have started to feel guilty about not wanting to be helpful to any buckeyes I would encounter at a ramp back home. I would get frustrated when a bunch of city boys would show up at my favorite spot. I would never approach them with any tips or tricks. Why? I am not sure of the answer, but I know that I was not being acceptable of someone I considered an outsider.

And that’s scary. When you treat others as different or as foreign to you, you very well may miss out on a great friendship or a great deal of knowledge. These are both things that we as people, no matter what side of the tracks you are from, need in our lives.

In closing, I would like to thank all of the people I have met so far in my time fishing in the south. I would also like to apologize to all of the people from Ohio that had bad fishing days at my expense. In the future, I hope to surprise many a buckeye when I walk up to them and begin asking them who they are kin to, hoping that within 30 questions we will both realize we are somehow related.