I met Diane when she was in her mid 20s. Working with her highlighted my radio career. She was like a little sister, although the age difference could have placed her nearly in the daughter category. We’ve stayed in touch through email, phone and FaceBook. She’s become one of the most respected people in the DC Radio market now at the number one station in DC…WTOP! My wife and I enjoyed Diane’s FaceBook photos and posts, watching her career and her family grow. Then one day we were frozen in fear. Diane had posted information about the sudden illness of her five-year-old son Cody!
Updates rolled in like an old AP newswire, from the Children’s National Medical Center. Cody had lost skin on various areas of his body leaving sores that had to be treated to prevent secondary infections. Skin pain with blistering continued to emerge. A high fever made for one very miserable child. Even drinking was challenging as he could barely open his mouth from the pain of skin loss and swelling around his lips. IV fluids kept Cody hydrated. This skin disorder affected Cody’s face, lips, and eyes. But it also had attacked his chest, back, hands, and legs. They could give him nothing to ‘make it all better’. It had to run its course until whatever caused the eruption worked its way through his body. Cody’s Doctors hoped each new blister would be the last. Thoughts, prayers, positive well wishes and love truly helped Cody’s family hold it together during this trying time.
Lab results put the blame on “Staphylococcus Scalded Skin Syndrome” (SSSS). He was treated much like a pediatric burn victim. Lesions continued to spread. Cody became more acutely aware of the skin loss, producing signs of heightened anxiety. Telling a 5 year old not to scratch wasn’t easy! But Cody was very special. FB postings of him bandaged, cracking jokes and laughing got to everyone. Helpless as we all were, the social network village was supporting this child.
I had planned to take Cody fishing before all of this, hoping to wait until he was a bit older. According to his mommy, my offer to take him out on my Skeeter was just what the Doctor ordered! He beamed when she told him and was very anxious to get the Doctor’s go-ahead. It came in late September. When I set up this trip, I spoke with a few of my fishing friends! JoAnn O’Bryant from Skeeter Boats provided a special Skeeter Team jersey with his name on it, just like the pros wear. Geoff Ratte with Fishing Kids sent their line up of fishing books and educational aids. Quantum Fishing’s Alan McGuckin stepped up with a few fishing outfits. Others pitched in too! I wasn’t surprised. I’ve known these folks for a while and knew they would make Cody’s first fishing trip one he would never forget.
Now it was up to the weather, the fish, and me! There are no perfect days, but this one certainly was! I beat my alarm to the buzzer and had the boat in the water before Diane and Cody arrived at the marina. I really don’t know who was more excited! Cody’s enthusiasm was contagious and he showed no sign of having any affects from his ordeal. We fitted him with a PFD and went for a boat ride. Lowering the Power Pole anchors near a dock at National Harbor, the day was already perfect according to Cody and we hadn’t even made our first cast. The fish must have heard we were coming! The first bite came within minutes! A quick first fish photo and then it was fish, fish, and more fish for about 30 minutes! The bite stopped. Cody was almost at a 5-year-old limit. But, the fishing is always better at the other side of the dock. Sure enough another 30-minute flurry! Now Cody was beaming!
We are thankful Cody’s prognosis is good and doctors say he will make a full recovery. Many years from now he likely won’t remember any of this, while the rest of us will never forget. Cody will remember the fishing! Cody is a very special kid. His positive perspective supported all of us during his illness. He was treating our symptoms, helping all of us make it through this. Looking forward to something is a very good prescription. Fishing may not always be the cure, but until a better one comes along, it will always be good medicine.
Potomac River Bassing in NOVEMBER
Time to fish if the weather cooperates. Fish are in a late fall pattern, eating their way into winter! Start on top with a Lucky Craft G-Splash popper and walking Gunfish. These need to be worked very slowly. Stop the popper from time to time!
Target grass remnants with Lucky Craft LVR D-7 lipless cranks too! Squarebill crankbaits like Mann’s Baby-X in shad patterns will trigger strikes off wood and grass. On sunny days use Mann’s Baby 1-Minus in chartreuse or shad patterns on cloudy days. Classic spinnerbaits with white skirts work on cloudy days.
Soak Mizmo tubes in garlic flavor Jack’s Juice. Texas rig with a 3/0 Mustad Ultra Point Mega Bite hook on 12-pound test GAMMA Edge Fluorocarbon line. As cold fronts roll through, slowing the bite, use a drop shot with a 3/16 ounce Water Gremlin Bull Shot weight on GAMMA Torque 20-pound braid with a 10-pound test Edge leader on a Quantum EXO spinning outfit. Work these on drops and grass edge remnants. Also try the Mann’s 3-inch avocado Stingray grub on a ¼ ounce ball head jig.
On warm, sunny days, punch through grass mats with ½-1.5-ounce Round Valley Tungsten weights on 60-pound Torque braid with small soft plastic craws.
Written by: Steve Chaconas
Capt. Steve Chaconas, Potomac bass fishing guide, BoatUS “Ask the Expert” (http://my.boatus.com/askexperts/bassfishing/)
Potomac River reports: nationalbass.com. Book trips/purchase gift certificates: info@NationalBass.com.