May 24, 2017

Mac Midgett

Filed under: Fishing,history,Outer Banks,People — j0jgvm89bj @ 5:41 pm

Hatteras Island has produced a unique breed of people. The isolation, especially before a bridge was built, required residents to be particularly resilient. To say they are interesting folks is an understatement. Among the most colorful characters I ever met was Mac Midgett. He was a big man with a heart of gold.

His stature could intimidate people, but once you got to know him those feelings faded. Born and bred in the village of Rodanthe, he was a part of the place. Everyone knew or knew of him.

With his wife Marilyn, he built a business that was essential for providing goods and services to locals and visitors alike. He was a caring person and that became more evident when he ran for county commissioner and won a seat on the board. He got things done because he put his heart into it.

I took this picture in 1978 when Mac had been fishing his nets with Dalton O’Neal. They were just arriving at the Creek in Rodanthe to unload their catch.

In 1984 I caught him taking a break in his dory after beach fishing.

                                The Old Christmas celebration in January of 2000 found Mac leading Ole Buck around the dance floor. It was unusual in that Ole Buck’s normal caretaker John Edgar, was indisposed that night.

It was a sad day in 2006 when Mac passed away. He was iconic. I thought he’d be here forever. In a way, he’s still around, because he was so much larger than life.

 

 

January 27, 2017

Mr. President

Filed under: Fishing,People — j0jgvm89bj @ 4:04 pm

Most think that I’m strictly a nature photographer. That does account for much of my shooting, but I also delve into other things as opportunities arise.

With the 41st President of the United States in the news recently, it made me recall some shooting I did in the Florida Keys. In 1995 I was invited to photograph a fundraising fishing tournament in Islamorada hosted by the Cheeca Lodge.

Known as the George Bush-Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament, this was the second of an annual event to benefit the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, as well numerous deserving non-profit organizations.

My job was to cover the fishing, ceremonies and socializing surrounding the two day event. It was a privilege to photograph it for 9 consecutive years until the final tournament in 2003.

tennisThe first time I met the former President was on a tennis court with superstar Chris Everett.

greetingPresident Bush was socially engaging with everyone, and I felt comfortable around him.

casting 2Days out on the water were long, especially if the fish weren’t biting. This was my first year shooting the tournament and his fishing partner was former Secretary of Treasury, Nicholas Brady. Their man at the helm was legendary fishing guide, George Hommell.

castingThey got a good casting workout but were unable to find the elusive bonefish.

GowdyThe master of ceremonies for the entire event was Curt Gowdy, and what an unforgettable voice he had!

fish onIn 1999, President Bush hooked one of the largest bonefish of the tournament.

1999 catch                        It was a beauty caught with guide extraordinaire, Al Polofsky assisting. George Hommell on the left, was also on board. The fish was weighed and released.

2002 catchIn 2002 it was cool and blustery when he proudly came up with his last tournament bonefish.

Thanks for the memories, Mr. President!

 

September 27, 2015

The Creek

Back in the day, I used to love hanging out at the Rodanthe Creek. Originally built as a Pamlico Sound access for the Coast Guard, it was bulkheaded and was one of the few protected harbors for local fishermen to use. It was always fascinating to see what they were catching.

It was also a good spot for honing my photography. I bought Kodak Panatomic-X black and white film in 100 foot spools and rolled my own 35mm cassettes. Then I’d develop the film at home in the darkroom. The creek was only a few hundred yards away from my house.

I’ve never shown these photographs from this period before, and it’ll never be like that again.

Dale A young Dale Midgett ran the fish house. He had an entrepreneurial spirit and packed fish for wholesaler Jimmy Austin.

derelicts Derelict boats were part of the landscape.

derelicts 2 John Herbert’s sail skiff sat high and dry on shore. It was one of my favorite boats with classic lines, and was featured in my New Inlet and Skiff photo, shot in 1979.

mojon Harry Midgett’s trawler was at the dock for much needed maintenance. He eventually took it shrimping to the Gulf of Mexico, where I heard it sank and was lost.

boat I don’t know who owned this workboat, but I admired it’s design and narrow stern.

nets bruce m                  Bruce Midgett prepared his nets at one of the fish houses on the north side of the creek.

pound net Bruce and Dale set up pound nets a mile out in the sound.

Bruce Bruce loved fishing the pound nets.

Jobob                                                            Joe Fegundes, known as Jobob, was also fishing from the Creek.

Corley Ed Corely was an avid fisherman. I helped him for a few months. It was hard work. Ed moved to Coos Bay, Oregon to work on an ocean trawler. On a New Years Eve, he went down with the boat and was never found.

Selby jr                                                             Selby Gaskins, Jr. was always helping out at the fish house.

GlenMartin Maestas and Glen Boykin were gill netting from this Privateer. Fiberglass boats had become more common than the traditional wooden boats. Glen married Selby Jr’s sister, Teresa, and I shot their wedding.

Irvin                                                             Irvin Midgett was another young fisherman, and still fishes some today. He runs a successful campground and is always willing to help others.

Dale net dale m                 Back then, Dale Midgett made a decent livelihood as a fisherman.

Mac's rig One of my favorite shots was taken of Mac Midgett’s haul seine rig. In a way, it symbolizes the best of times.

December 10, 2012

Courage

Filed under: Fishing,Wounded Warriors — j0jgvm89bj @ 3:49 pm

Last month, I shot this photograph of Gunnery Sergeant Brian Meyer and Captain Blake Smith, as they were preparing for a day of fishing in the Florida Keys. They were excited to be involved in a fishing tournament with other enthusiastic anglers in a beautiful setting.

Fishing tournaments are fundraisers for specific charities. They are also fun for participants. This tournament’s beneficiary was The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, an organization that conserves and enhances global bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and their environments.

The event was also giving attention to another organization, the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation. Their mission is “to provide traumatically injured servicemen and women from Iraq and Afghanistan with a high quality restorative program, utilizing the therapeutic experience of fly fishing on Montana waters”.

They sponsored Meyer and Smith to participate in the first annual Cheeca Lodge and Spa All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament. Both Marines were seriously wounded while serving in Afghanistan, and have had long, difficult recoveries. Meyer’s job was disarming IED’s and Smith was a helicopter pilot.

Guide Mike Makowski displays a nice redfish for us.

Meyer reels in another.

After catching yet another, Smith has Makowski release it.

Captain Blake Smith, guide Mike Makowski, and Gunnery Sergeant Brian Meyer relax after landing several redfish.

These remarkable men have overcome enormous odds, and use prosthetic devices with amazing skill. They enjoyed the tournament, as did everyone. Meeting them was a powerful, inspiring experience.


For info about the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation:

(copy and paste):

http://www.warriorsandquietwaters.org/

Also of interest: https://semperfifund.org/

Jeff Johnson was my guide for the tournament. I have used his expertise in the past. His invaluable knowledge has enabled me to snap some “key” photographs. Here he poles out of a shallow mud flat after I photographed the warriors. I am greatly indebted to him.