Good day folks!
Michael Sims here, President and CoFounder of Hook + Gaff. Happy New Year to you and your family! We hope y'all had a wonderful 2023.
I am looking forward to posting a recap of a family trip I'll be taking soon. Many of you know my backstory and know that my wife and I are involved in several businesses. Her business is wide open from the summer through football season and peaks during Christmas. Every year around this time we pin somewhere we want to go and we take a trip. It's our way of reflecting on the previous year, taking a breather, and recharging for the upcoming year. And we usually have a little fun while we're there! This year we're going back to Costa Rica for some fishing and surfing, and I can't wait to jump on and give some updates about the trip in a few weeks. I spoke with our captain yesterday and they had a 20+ dolphin day, along with some yellowfin, sailfish, and black marlin. You never know what you're going to get down there, but I'm sure it's going to be awesome and I can't wait to share it with you.
The past 2 months were eventful for us. We can't thank y'all enough for continuing to support our business. Many folks purchased 2nd and 3rd watches for gifts during the holidays. Some people are new to the H+G family now, and we're excited to have you on board!
During the hustle and bustle of assembly and shipping and getting watches to our new fans, we were able to squeeze in a little fun. Personally, I capped off one of my best tournament years as a competitive amateur (I'm 42 now and I'm not happy about this process of getting older and how it's affecting my golf!). I finished the season helping our Carolinas Team beat the Virginias Team in the CGA Captain's Putter Cup Matches at Cape Fear CC in Wilmington. It was quite a treat to be able to spend a few days there, and to be able to get the win was special.
Shortly after, in November, our 2003 National Championship Golf Team was welcomed back to Clemson. They had us out on the field and recognized us as one of the most dominant teams not only in college golf history, but in all of Clemson sports history as well. We had some guys like Lucas Glover, Jonathan Byrd, and Charles Warren who came before us from '97-'02 and paved the way for this team to dominate the way we did in '03. Our win/loss record at the end of the season has to be in the top 3 if not the best on record. My high school teammate and college roommate DJ Trahan was on a mission that year, and it was incredible to see him dominate college golf the way he did, winning the Ben Hogan award and becoming the best player in college golf. I enjoyed seeing my teammates and I have much love for all these guys.
After Christmas I finally jumped in the river a few times. SCDNR did not stock until very late this year, but I was able to get on a few fish before the rains moved in. The river has run so high since then that I have not been able to wade, but I'm looking forward (hopefully) to having a few clear days and seeing it get back down to a level that allows me to jump in.
Lastly, this year brings about some colder mornings and some great quail hunting! I love a little frost on the ground as we get the dogs out of the box and start our walk through the pines. This year, like last year, I've already made several trips up to Upland Wings Preserve in Fairfield County, SC. Joe and Neil Culbertson are fantastic hosts. My springer is 5yrs old and we've been running him for 2 seasons now with a GSP named Turbo, about the same age. Turbo's owner Bruce recently moved from AZ to SC and has become a good friend and neighbor. Y'all may remember the post I did about Arizona quail hunting--this was right out Bruce's back door into a hundred thousand acres of public land in the desert for wild birds! Quite a trip. Now he has to settle for pen-raised birds on the east coast, but we still have a great time. I even had my son Fisher out for his first quail hunt a few weeks ago. We have had a great couple of trips up there and plan to do a few more.