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Outdoor Matters: More people outdoors with cooler weather
Hector Claudio Outdoor Matters mug
Hector Claudio is a Richmond Hill resident.

Hello again, I hope you are enjoying the cooler temperatures. Like you, our family is glad to be out of the uncertainty of hurricane season and trying to avoid the worst of our recent heavy rains.

Unfortunately, bad weather meant that it was not the best year for the Ogeechee Seafood Festival. If you have not been to this event, it is well worth it and a great time. Hopefully next year we can enjoy the musical acts and fireworks!

Although, it seems like we don’t have a proper fall in Coastal Georgia as we experience temperatures in the 80s suddenly plummeting to near freezing all within 24 hours, I believe that this time of year is amazing in the great outdoors.

For those of us who like to wear more than the standard T-shirt, shorts and flip-flop outfit of our region, it is fun to reach into our closets for a change of style.

We get to enjoy the occasional experience of crisp, invigorating air, without having to deal with winter snow and all the associated hassles. But of course, you already know that if you live here.

However, if you are new to our area, be careful because every fall or spring when we enjoy great weather with pleasant temperatures in the 70s, be prepared for the biggest mosquitoes and just about every other bug trying to eat you alive.

But other than this problem, I can’t find anything else to complain about regarding outdoor life in this area of the USA.

So now that the weather is not sweltering and you are protecting your skin from bugs, where can you go to really enjoy this season? Pretty much anywhere – I already see at least three times more people jogging and enjoying a casual walk in my neighborhood.

But If you want to venture out, don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path. Here are a couple of my favorite places:

• Do a Google search for Green Creek Trail, which is a great short walk on a hidden path right off of 144. If you blink you will miss it. It is very woodsy and laid back, so once you get away from the teeny tiny parking lot it is really tranquil. The trail is more for walking, as it is not paved for bikes or other traffic.

• Another great spot to enjoy is actually near the border of Bryan and Chatham counties. You probably have passed it many times and not even known it was there. This is the Chatham County Wetlands Preserve. This park is huge with lakes and walking and bike paths. The lake offers decent fishing and non-motorized boats like kayaks and canoes are allowed.

Although I am not much of a hunter, I believe it is now “game on” for deer hunting. If you hear gunshots in the distance, it is typically no big deal in our area – just people out pursuing their passion for hunting.

There are a number of local hunting clubs within Bryan and surrounding counties. Two highly recommended professional hunting clubs in our region are Dorchester Shooting Preserve and 17 South Rod and Gun Club.

Now, if you are wondering what I’m doing right now, I am on and around the water every chance I get. Fall is exciting for fishing in our area and the inshore bite is on fire. Get on it now before the water gets too cold.

If you are near shore or offshore, you can always take a stab at trolling for king fish and Spanish mackerel, although our recent cold snap could push them away a little prematurely. You will need water temperatures of 70 degrees and higher to catch the mackerel. While I can’t turn this column into a full-on fishing report, the best and most simple advice I can give for inshore fishing is to buy or catch live shrimp. Get the tides right and go out a couple of hours before low tide.

Try a few spots with structure and creek openings into main rivers to get you started. I have even heard that using dead shrimp or squid as bait in and near the sound will catch you all kinds of different species of fish. If you are getting nothing but stingray, go to another spot.

Now if you think you are hot stuff, take a shot at a local inshore fishing tournament. It can be fun for the whole family and helps support our local community. The Fort McAllister Sport Fishing Club is having a “Bykes For Tykes” inshore tournament on Saturday, Nov. 30. Look them up on Facebook for all the information.

Last but not least, you know we are all amused and annoyed laughing when we see Christmas stuff in stores in October, long before Halloween. But, by now you know we are all mentally in the Christmas mode and mood.

Besides spotting bargains or splurging on gifts for those who like to get everything done early, the one thing that is often done in late November is the hunt for a great Christmas tree.

When we lived in Atlanta, I loved to get our family’s tree from Pikes Tree Nursery. For most of the years we have lived here, I went to Home Depot and was pretty happy with their trees which were a good price and they lasted.

However, last year was a little different and was actually very pleasurable. I went to a local tree farm.

The experience of driving out, and seeing all the trees already spread out or even planted in the ground for me to cut down personally was fun for the whole family. Great service, enjoyable experience and a fair price at the Brewer Christmas Tree Farm – I highly recommend it. In the run up to Christmas in our area, I am looking forward to Saturday, Dec. 7, when my family will be enjoying the annual boat parade with Christmas lights at Fort McAllister Marina around 6 p.m., followed by fireworks.

Earlier that day, we will be watching the traditional holiday parade through Richmond Hill.

I would like to wish everyone a great Thanksgiving!

Hector can be contacted at or at

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