Category Archives: Fishing

Puerto Madero (part 5 of 7)

With first mate Billy looking on, Trent plots a course to our next destination. Just over the Guatemalan border in Mexico, Puerto Madero is mainly a fishing port supported by a deep inlet. It’s a four day trip.

With no breeze, we motored from Gulfo Dulce into a crystal calm sea.  Fifty miles off the coast, schools of porpoise rode the underwater wake made by Challenge’s 9 foot draft. We reeled in two 30 pound mahi, and by late afternoon were approaching waters off of Nicaragua.  

In the Gulf of Papagayo smooth seas rolled under us, the sleek aluminum hull plunging through. Sea birds soared and flying fish were kicked up by Challenge.

Now we’re a hundred miles off the coast of Nicaragua. Sea turtles were floating lazily on the surface. A pod of pilot whales seemed to escort us for a mile or so, at times crossing the bow.

That steamy night I slept on deck, El Salvador ninety miles to starboard. I awoke for a 4 AM watch. It’s my 38th birthday. Still no wind, motoring is making for a tight fuel situation. Our pals on Escapade have excess fuel, but are a day behind us, and  Puerto Madero is 200 miles away. It’s uncomfortably hot with no relief except for the occasional bucket of sea water over the head. By my afternoon watch, we’re off the coast of Guatemala, still no wind. Jacque has made a cake and the crew sang as I blew out a candle in the cockpit.

Next day, after a brief check by the Guatemalan Coast Guard,  we caught some breeze to sail within a hundred miles of Puerto Madero.

With a little wind, we made 6 knots, and by nightfall entered the big inlet to Puerto Madero.

When Escapade arrived, they rafted up with us.

Fishermen were busy mending nets and others just hanging out. We bought fresh shrimp from them right at the dock.

Was this man catching conch and drying them right on his boat?

Streets in Puerto Madero were unpaved and the town lacked for provisions. The nearby city of Tapachula proved to be a much better option.

We took advantage of Tapachula’s thriving commerce and got the necessary supplies at the central marketplace.

My highlight (pun intended) was finding a human flame thrower.

Next stop Acapulco, then on to Cabo San Lucas.


Rodanthe 1975

I spend lots of time looking through old images. They bring back bygone memories. It’s taught me that a photograph taken today, later becomes a document of history. Interesting old photos appreciate with time because they can never be taken again. In the Summer of 1975, something possessed me to shoot a sign directing folks to the booming pier complex at Rodanthe. Nearly 50 years later, I realize how my hometown has changed.

All the buildings in the background are gone, washed away or relocated. The open field of sand, grasses and wildflowers is now covered with McMansions. The sign indicates that Elvin Hooper had caught his world record channel bass less than 2 years prior.

How I miss those days!


Crossing the Bar

December of 1985 I went on a three day fishing trip with Captain Terry Saunders aboard the 80 foot trawler, Richard Wayne. Based in Wanchese, he was going offshore, dragging for winter flounder. For two days, productivity was moderate with calm seas.

That night, lying in a forepeak bunk I felt changes in the tempo of the waves. By early morning the wind had freshened from the northeast making for some choppy conditions.

Stevie Daniels’ Bailey Boy fished nearby.

The captains discussed navigating the narrow shoaling channel at Oregon Inlet before conditions deteriorated further.

They decided to cut the trip short, head back and not take unnecessary chances, crossing the shallow bar into the inlet. I shot Bailey Boy heading over the shoal as it followed us home.


Exploring the coast one may notice some curious artifacts. Some are natural and others are manmade. People collect shells, driftwood or beach glass. They’re all brought in by the sea. Some of my favorite collectables are the buoys from fishing nets and crab pots. They’re usually derelict from lost fishing gear and can be found at any time, but especially after storms.

I like displaying them from trees in my yard.

Some hang from an old trawl net that I found years ago.

Some of them are very special to me, like this one that belonged to Mac Midgett.

I D Midgett is my next door neighbor and has fished all his life.

Another buoy belonged to my good friend and neighbor Eric Anglin. He still brings me fish.

Recently this gem was given to me by Steve Ryan. It was Les Hooper’s buoy. Les and Steve were neighbors. Les is gone now, but his spirit remains.

I also have a buoy from Rudy Gray of Waves. He no longer fishes commercially, but is still an accomplished angler.

A few months ago I got a call from Roger Wooleyhan who fishes commercially in Delaware. His fishing buddy, Layton Moore has another fishing friend who came across this buoy in his net near Ocean City, Maryland. It’s a crab pot buoy that belonged to my friend Asa Gray also of Waves. Asa passed away about 2 years ago, and he was Rudy’s brother.

I can only imagine how this arrived so far away. It’s reminiscent of a message in a bottle. It must have flowed from Pamlico Sound into the Atlantic, up the coast and through Ocean City Inlet and on to Isle of Wight Bay. Maybe it hitched a ride snagged to a rudder. At any rate, that’s some journey!