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‘It’s all about the experience’

Bill Caldwell, of Dillwyn, recently set out on a fishing journey with friends Lloyd Seely, of Farmville, and Robert Schutt, of Burkeville, that proved rewarding as a shared experience and as an opportunity to catch a lot of fish.

The trio went from Farmville to Carolina Beach in North Carolina.

“We went out of Carolina Beach Inlet out 18 mile to a wreck called the Schoolhouse Wreck,” Caldwell said.

To fish, they used live bait which they caught in the waterway. This bait is usually menhaden, and Caldwell noted that sometimes catching the bait can be just as challenging as catching the fish that the bait draws in.

He said he and his friends catch the bait using a cast net and try to get at least 50 in the live bait well before using them to draw larger fish.

“If we’re lucky and the bait is plentiful, we will get an extra five-gallon bucket or two to put in the meat grinder that’s on the boat (to later) use as chum bait,” Caldwell said.

He pointed out that chum has a powerful draw and is capable of bringing up fish from the wreck, increasing the chances of hooking one.

“The myth is chum brings up sharks like ‘Jaws,’” Caldwell said. “It brings up everything, sort of like if you drive by Burger King and smell the flame-broiled hamburgers on the grill, and suddenly you turn around and get a Whopper.”

On the trip, Seely, Schutt and Caldwell ended up catching eight king mackerel, with the largest being around 25 pounds.

In addition to catching many small sharks, the group also caught many barracuda.

“They were fun to catch,” Caldwell said of the barracuda. “Once they’re hooked, they jump out of the water several times.”

The trio released the sharks and barracuda.

Reflecting on the trip as a whole, Caldwell said, “To me, it’s all about the experience with friends.”