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I posted this in 12/06 when I was more active on the board. It relates a fishing trip that I had with Joe. I thought that I'd repost it to try and revive a memory and maybe cheer him up a bit. Speedy recovery to you, Joe....I love ya, man!

It was December 13th two years ago, a Friday, and fittingly so, as I remember. We met at Joe’s place at “0 dark thirty”, an ungodly hour to be awake. My wife had cautioned me the night before that there was a “small craft advisory”. In the waning days of fall it was kind of hard to see what the skies were like except that the moon and stars were not visible, indicating a low cloud cover. Thankfully, there seemed to be no wind, but then again, we were in Hampton. The air still had the scent of lead, beer and hardy men from the recent Lead Pouring Party.

Joe ferried us to Rudee in his SUV. We were hardly awake and had some nervous, predawn chatter, interspersed with coffee. I normally don’t drink it, but I’m also not normally up at 5:30 am. The rest of his crew met us at the dock. These were all Tidal Fish boys. Known only by board names, now getting a face on the name. After exchanging greetings, we began to load the gear on the Joe’s boat, an Alby with twins on the back.

One of the fellows had fished with Joe fairly regularly and knew the spreads that our captain favored and selected the lures of the day. Seems we were going for heavy metal and spoons, with an alternative of Storm Shads. These rigs were tied to perfection on 3 ways and set up on the poles, while “back ups” were hung from a rack across the stern. The BIG NET was brought up to one of the rod holders attesting to the promise of the day.

As we headed out of Rudee Inlet, where the fish were schooled up in previous day, we hoped for a short day before the front came through. There would be no dawn a breakin’. Low overcasting clouds but flat calm seas greated us. Not even the usual Rudee challenge of low breakers. The air temperature was in the low 50’s, suprising for a forecasted front bringing with it rain, sleet, snow, wind and high seas on the ocean.

The fish finder told us that there was no bait, nor schools of stripers in the Rudee area so we set off to the False Cape. There we found the Therapy with it’s charter trolling and pulling in a few 28’s. Aquaman was also there with a charter and gave us a call, suggesting that we try further “South”. Joe agreed, because he had a hunger and thirst for BIG fish, and the hopes of “paper”.

So we set off south, Aquaman taking the Inshore route just off the beach, and Joe taking the “wing man” position out near the 3 mile line. This strategy let us cover the widest area visually so that he who spotted breaking fish, birds, or lit up the fishfinder could sing out and we’d drop our lines. We were cruising at about 20-24 mph. My job was to be “look out” and keep Aquaman dead in our sights. The rest of the crew made conversation talking about past exploits and their anticipations of the days “action”. The skies still held.

Our search for fish was dragging us ever farther South. We passed the pier at Duck. We saw Southern Shores off the starboard. Still empty seas and skies was all we found. We started joking about not having our immigration papers in order or our passports. We wondered if Strom Thurmond would share breakfast repast with us and just how did those North Carolina boys keep the “secret” of South Carolina Striper fishing hidden all these years. Somewhere on the latitude of Manteo,......we found fish.

Now that was the good news. The bad news was that the front was now upon us. 9:30 am and the temp was plummeting. The skies grew nastier and then gave us a breakfast sampler of wind, snow flurries, and occassional mix of rain and sleet. Our calm seas grew to 4-5 rollers blowing us further south. Cape Hatteras was not an unreasonable threat to us. The only troll line that you could set up was going East to West and back again. This put you at 45 degrees to the seas and the boat would bob up an down like a cork in a malestrom.......but the fish were there!

Soon we hooked up with our first fish. A hearty HURRAH! arose from the crew. First fish aboard a 38, and they seemed to be growing. Also growing, at least within me was this primeval animal sound. It was not of a beast that was hungry and announcing it’s presence with a threat to its prey. It was not the low rumble of an animal declaring its territory with a threat. It was more bestial. It was more primitive. It was more threatening. It was the announcement of a force that would soon become a noise announcing the fact that you might soon see a hairy brown hole where your mouth used to be, after having your guts turned inside out to relieve the dreaded sickness. Only foul, vile behavior would follow that noise.

Attempts were made to soothe the savage beasts. Joe lent me one of his foul weather insulated suits to relieve the cold and wet that were contributing to my displeasure. It was a generous offer, but the suit made me feel like a man enveloped in a condom. The latex smell only added to my nausea. While the cold air on the face seemed to be somewhat helpful, the latex amplified that ominous rumbling.

Then it happened. The “small” 38’s were giving way to 40’s. Joe, at the helm, was salivating in a different manner than mine. His was the sweet taste of “paper” that was triggering his Pavlovian response. With that in mind, I told him that maybe my standing at the helm would ease my problem. Besides, I was too weak to be able to haul in one of the “monsters” coming over the side, and had proved ineffectual in managing the net in my weakened state.

Joe agreed. I get the helm and the “Barf Bucket”. He gets the Penn 50 with the double clutch that just went off and was singing like a drunk in your favorite bar. Joe pulls in a 42....near paper, but not quite. What made it seem “bigger” was the 36 on the upper hook of the tandem rig. The spoons had definitely proved to be the ticket. I smiled at Joe, then I began to vomit.

Handling the boat over the next few hours, I watched the crew pulling in fish after fish. They shouted with glee at their success. They traded High Fives with relish. I maintained my post at the helm, and periodically emptied my bucket.

There is no way you can relate this kind of feeling to anyone who hasn’t been there. I have tried to examine it thoroughly in the medical literature. I still am undecided as to whether it is all the inner ear or is there a “psychological” component. Is there a flawed gene in the pool? Is there a personality defect? Personally, I think it’s a combination of being cold, wet, and miserable on your Busch Gardens ride without end. To me the only source of release from this condition, besides throwing yourself overboard, is to be placed on dry, stable land. There is no pill. There is no patch, that will otherwise quell this storm.

After the boys had sated themselves on the altar of the Striper, we faced another decision. Joe, being the gracious captain that he is, offered me the choice of two alternatives. One was traversing the 50 plus miles back to Port Rudee at a “reasonable” speed, involving over two hours time. The other was a somewhat speedier trip involving less that 2 hours but more of a “Head Banger’s Ball”. Since I was near death.......I chose the later.

Now I have read stories of what went on in the bowels of a B 24 during WWII. I had seen it on the History Channel. But I had never lived through a “Flak Attack”, having been concieved after the Great War. I was now getting a first hand experience of being buffeted about by unseen forces while draped over my station reeling in pain and disgust. The boat would be airborne and then come crashing down, throwing you at first up, then down, then abruptly forward or back as the bow and stern bit into an angry sea.

Drawers would fly open and then close, on my fingers but I would still hold on to my position, unyielding in my desperation to return to port and safety. I had no further need for “le Buckette”. I had spent my bowels from stem to stern and had even tied my shoes together so that they would not follow the “hairy hole” into the bucket and over the side. My knees groaned under the stress. This literally was a “break dance”. In my role as a puppet I would assume positions not normally humanly possible but completely capable by a limp dishrag that was fastened to its post.

When we finally arrived at Rudee, the group began the clean up and the unloading of gear. There were also the requisite photo ops. I did not feel that I had served well during the expedition so I exited to the restaurant which offered the opportunity of a toilet which did not move. I explained my plight to the host who gratiously allowed me to use the “facilities” without ordering a meal, which he would only see again....... transformed. After recomposing myself, I rejoined the group.

We then exchanged farewells and each took our “limit”. I was ashamed when I accepted mine, for I did not feel that I earned it. It was a generous offer and those two fish would have easily alleviated the famine in West Africa. This was a gift that could not be refused.

Arriving in Hampton and retrieving my own vehicle, Joe and I said farewell one last time. That’s when I told him, “Damn....that was fun! When can we go South again?”. He smiled knowingly. He knew that I had no intention of suffering myself on him again.

The next four days proved bountiful for Joe. He got his “paper”. All four days had “Small Craft Advisories”. All four days he went with a full crew and arrived back in port with full limits. He blew out his engines on the 5th day......but Damn .......he had fun!!.....and earned the name, “Sloppy Joe”, the hard way!
 

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The worst part Doc is that most times I fish I get that sick feeling but I have yet to get sick and even more crazy I keep doing it again and again and love the sport more with every trip. Figure that out? Thanks for a good story and best wishes to Joe. Martin
 

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Sir, Im trying to type as i am laughing my "Hairy brown hole" off i just cant find the keys. Get Well Joe
 

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"I smiled at Joe, then I began to vomit."

Sure miss your writing style and perspective on the board.

Get well Sloppy Joe.

James
 

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Hey Doc, good to see you posting. :rapture:

I remember that day very well as it was my 1st ocean striper trip and I rode the wet fighting chair for the ride back to Rudee:lock12: Reading this brings back good memories of past good times.Joe and I fished many times after that day and he became a good friend.:chugbeer:

but I have lost touch with him. I guessing he is ill and I am very sorry to hear this so I am sending HEALING MOJO his way.

:fishing2:
 

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Hey doc!! WOW talk about old times LMAO!!!! them sure were the good ole days remember them well .
half of the people on here were not around back then but they were some great times Sure miss that ole boat she was a beast!!!
Thanks for the kind words (mike-martin-lucian) Im doing ok !!! (the old ticker had to have a rebuild)) feeling much better now
Should be good to go come spring time maybe get some fishing reports with some ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ,s in there!!!!!!

Your old friend JOE
 

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Take a Bonine and give it another try. I can relate to your plight, many have been there including me. Would you rather have the sea legs or the ability to write so well?
 

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Hey doc!! WOW talk about old times LMAO!!!! them sure were the good ole days remember them well .
half of the people on here were not around back then but they were some great times Sure miss that ole boat she was a beast!!!
Thanks for the kind words (mike-martin-lucian) Im doing ok !!! (the old ticker had to have a rebuild)) feeling much better now
Should be good to go come spring time maybe get some fishing reports with some ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ,s in there!!!!!!

Your old friend JOE
cool,glad to see you posting.
 

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I saw this post over the weekend, but thought to myself "I'm saving this for later". GREAT read, as always Doc. The puppet analogy was perfect.
 

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I think my first ocean striper trip was with Joe. plumbob and Jake G were there also. That's been close to ten years I bet.
 

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The worst part Doc is that most times I fish I get that sick feeling but I have yet to get sick and even more crazy I keep doing it again and again and love the sport more with every trip. Figure that out? Thanks for a good story and best wishes to Joe. Martin
Same here.. That's how I got the name Heaven Stephen..... The bad thing is the boat is mine... Unless I take the patch I throw up every time.... Bad Feeling all together..
 
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