Well folks get on your boots and fill the coolers with ice and head over to the Eastern Shore side of the Chesapeake Bay.
The biggest tip we can tell you is drift live Eels from Plantation light down past the concrete ships. Fish the tide and the east side of the channel slope and get ready to ZIIIIIIING! The big boys are back in the Bay and this weeks cold front is helping matters greatly.
Night fishing is always god along the pilings however if you have been waiting for the big ones, they have been making there way into the lower bay Eastern Shore side this week.
Go Get Um!!
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Dedicated to Fracus White and Tina Turner Baugh
“Fracus” “Swinus Americanus” “Don’t re-elect anybody, not even your Mama!!” “Julia Child of the Wild” and “Do yourself a favor and take a kid fishing”.
These are just a few of the words emanating from what then was a three inch speaker of one of the first color televisions I had ever seen. The year was 1972 and all I had ever viewed since 1961 was a black and white tube that my father the Judge affectionately called,
“The Idiot Box”.
“The Idiot Box”.
Besides watching some weird interpretation’s of cowboys called Cartwrights wearing ten gallon hats and riding horses that were too well trained, there would be some guy on Sunday mornings shouting out of our three inch TV speaker about the difference between pigs and humans. “Swinus Americanus” a description of human trash, waste, and filth.
Before I could change the channel to watch the only other thing on TV which was the local church broadcast, all of the sudden this old man starts cooking up a storm in his kitchen and the dish was what he had caught fishing that day. Since the Judge loved to take us boys fishing both in the nearby pond and Chesapeake Bay, my interest was peaked about what I was now watching on my dad’s least favorite toy…. the Idiot Box.
Next thing I know, for many, many years, to many years that I care to remember, I would end up watching this same old man on the Idiot box. As I grew older I began to realize just how intelligent and funny this man was. To be honest, some of the hardest laughs I have ever had was watching this man on TV. Simply because I could not believe he had the nerve and audacity to say some of the things he was uttering. The man became a legend here in the south. That legend of a Southern Sportsman was none other than,
Franc White, THE Southern Sportsman.
Franc was a television producer, host, author, pilot, chef, restaurateur, World War 2 Correspondent, and avid sportsman both with hunting and fishing. Franc was also a hard nosed environmentalist who did not mind going after big buiz to accomplish what he thought was right. This included helping to stop commercialization on several
islands to help protect nesting sea turtles. And if you happen to be one of
those chemical plants dumping waste into what then was pristine waters of Carolina, you did not
find a friend in Franc White. Franc was ruthless on TV with his public
denouncing of such chemical plants that were polluting his favorite waters.
Franc had no problem being voicing his political opinions either. Something Franc was not shy about at all. What ever Franc thought, he pretty much let it spill out into the airwaves. This did not make a lot friends in certain circles for Franc, but I don’t think he cared much. In the many years Franc ranted and raved on television about political and environmental issues I can not say I ever remember him being wrong. He just spoke his mind and let the chips fall where they may.
I can’t tell you yow many times I heard Franc say, “Don’t re-elect no one, not even your MAMA!!!!” Again, Franc may have been very vocal, but not often wrong.
About the only thing that would seem to calm Franc down during one of his rants was his on air companion and mascot, “Frickus”. The love that man had for that dog was so evident on every show. Probably one of the best relationships he ever had.
As Fate Will Have It.
When I started Jim Baugh Outdoors, we actually began as fishing
30 years ago. After our first broadcast run on the FOX station in Richmond, the NBC affiliate
contacted us and wanted us to air in a block next to Franc White Southern
Sportsman. Of course this was an easy decision to make. For many years to come
we would broadcast in our home town of Richmond Virginia and also syndicated
throughout the Mid Atlantic states also airing next to Franc White.
This was a bit of a thrill for me because I had watched Franc since I was about 10 years old on most Sunday mornings. When Franc would get so political and hilarious, I actually would tape his show just to watch later with friends and laugh our butts off. Franc was a very funny man and got his points across with humor and in a way, eloquence.
As the years passed I was able to meet Franc on several occasions. One such time was at a private fish and hunt club where we had been ask to film a show. I met Franc and told him what a big fan I was and what an honor it was that our program broadcast adjacent to his. I was extremely polite and was happy as hell to finally really meet and talk with him.
Franc looked at me, sort of like the Judge does when he is not happy with me. You know, like when you come back from a Dove hunt with no birds. Yeah, that look.
Franc paused, there was silence, then he said loudly,
“I don’t #@%$#* Care!”
I shuck his hand thanked him again and left.
I had met him briefly on other occasions and he was almost just as welcoming. Personally I loved this. To me Franc for the most part in person was what you saw on TV. I liked that and to this day am very glad I had the opportunity to met him.
To be fair during this time fishing shows were springing up like to him, poison Ivey. There was now a lot of competition in the outdoor marketplace and stations were starting to demand big bucks for air time. Back in the day television shows like ours and his could barter with broadcasters and negotiate air time because our programs had good ratings.
However with the advent of the infomercial stations were out for the buck only, it was just too easy. So all of the sudden an outdoor program that would not have to actually pay money to broadcast because of its loyal audience, now had to cough up thousands of dollars just to air. For the most part, this is how it still works today.
Back then the industry changed for all of us. About the time stations were asking for the big bucks to air, Franc had already had enough. He pushed for retirement and he had already been broadcasting for 20-24 years. The Southern Sportsman started back when color TV’s were just coming onto the market and Franc did a great job to swing with the changes for as many years as he did. Kudos to Franc.
The Influence of the Southern Sportsman
Although Fishing Virginia had aired along with The Southern Sportsman in many markets for many years, I never thought his show had any influence on our production at all. The fact is it did not. We always produced a program with very high production value and we would never get into politics the way Franc did. Our show was also post produced heavily edited and scripted. Franc’s show the Southern Sportsman was live to tape. He would show up in the studio with his note pad, do one take and be done with it. This of course was not a polished show, but to me that was the appeal, and his personality just cracked me up about every Sunday Morning.
I loved Franc.
The influence for me was his cooking on the show. Franc appealed not only to the male sportsman but to the ladies as well. Everyone wanted to know how Franc was going to prepare the days catch. Other similarities were that both the Southern Sportsman and Fishing Virginia were film style shot programs. Both shows also were heavily syndicated throughout the south for many years.
So, for those that are too young to remember, there once was one heck of an outdoors enthusiast, environmentalist, restaurateur, television producer and writer named Franc White. Franc was loved by his family, many close friends, and many thousands fans over the years.
Like other vintage television figures of the past, we will never see the likes of Franc White again. A little bit like Johnny Carson. Sometimes the good Lord just breaks the mold and blesses us with their talents for just one earthly lifetime.
When my time is done and if I am lucky enough to ever get to heaven and happen to bump into Franc White, I am sure I will hear these words.
“What the hell are you doing here?!!!”
“"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
~ Jackie Robinson
RIP Franc White July 20, 1926 - June 06, 2012
watch an old Southern Sportsman Show.
Franc White Legacy Fund for Conservation Education, contributions c/o N.C. Wildlife Federation at
1024 Washington St.,
Raleigh, NC 27605 or (800) 264-6293 or online at
Web site for ordering books and merchandise, Franc Whitehttp://francwhite.com/2.html
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Rock Around The Clock
Yes, happy days are here again with another round of rockfish season!!!! It is sort of like Christmas day, but last for three months. Then comes New Years, the ocean season! Jim Baugh Outdoors is going to produce several stories this fall all promoting some old and new ways to catch these swimmers.
|Rockfish Pizza with Sourdough Starter Crust|
In this column I am going to review some of the general ways that we have caught Rockfish for both fresh and salt water. First up works for both the saline and non saline h2o environments and that is trolling.
This may be my all time favorite way for catching rocks. Certainly this technique does not work all the time but I probably enjoy it the most. The reason is simply that the method of setting out the lines and having a nice day on the water is very enjoyable. There is always movement and when the fish are not biting it can make for a nice conversational social gather with angling mates. When you do come across a school of feeding brutes, having six rods ZIIINNNNNNGGGGGG is always a blast!! The trick is with trolling if you want to catch fish, you need to be where the fish are. Case in point during the ocean season you can troll the beach until the cows come home, but if the fish are schooling 10 miles out, all you will catch by the beach is maybe a nice fat tasty 10 pound clump of seaweed.
Before I go trolling local research is usually at hand. I try to get an idea of where the bait fish are, water temperature, and any reports of schooling fish. Listening to the radio and seeing which way the birds are flying is not a bad idea either. Lastly, always fish current. Great minds may never rest idle, but rockfish do if there is no current. Always fish the tide in saline waters. Always.
Bump and Troll
A fun way to pick up a few rocks is to do what I call bump and troll. This is a successful method for always catching rocks however you do need a clean stretch of bridge with little to no boat traffic or else your heading for trouble. Position your vessel up current side about 30 yards and drift back your favorite chartreuse stretch far enough back to where it is just slapping the bridge pilings. Every time I pull off a fish doing this. Very important to remember that rocks aren’t on every piling across the span of the bridge. Trolling this way covers a lot of ground until you find the pilings they are holding.
Two very important tips if you are going to bump and troll.
1) Do NOT do it by yourself. Have a captain at the helm the entire time. Have your crew at hand with the rod to be ready for a quick hook up
2) PICK A SLOW DAY meaning very little boat traffic. If your out on a weekend and boats are lined up at the pilings, forget it. Simply is not worth the hassle.
I know a lot of you folks may think you lose a lot of lures fishing this way, but you really will not. If you keep the boat speed right and position the bait so it is just tapping the front of the pilings, you will not be loosing many lures at all.
Lastly like I always say, if your coming trolling with JB, pack a nice lunch because chances are you will be on the water for a while with plenty of time to dine.
Fly fisherman love it. Bass fisherman live for it. I, well, don’t do that much of it. Same reason I don’t play tennis. It’s not that I don’t look good in shorts or mind sporting colorful tennis ware.
If you like casting try the early morning or evening tide around the islands and pilings. The Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean are pretty big places and provides excellent opportunity for fly casters. Go have at it!!!!! Light weight angling on even a 10 pound rockfish is an absolute blast.
Pulling the Tube
I have written several columns in the past about this highly effective technique. For those that don’t know, pulling the tube does not mean you throw a rope overboard with an attached inner tube and sling your kids around behind your boat doing 60mph.
Pulling the tube means simply to fish the up current side of the underwater tube structure at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Depending on the current, you could be dragging a 16 or 20 ounce weight down to the rocks in order to keep the bait presentation where it should be.
This method always works for me, pretty much guaranteed. But it also works for everyone else and their brother, sister, friends, family, the hole darn shooing match and they are all there at the same time on the weekends doing the same thing. Throw in the charter boats, and you have one big mess. Do yourself a favor, just don’t do it. Fish elsewhere using other methods. If you hit the tunnels when no boats are around, go for it. You will find rocks in your boat pretty quickly.
I know anglers who hate this method for many reasons. Most complaints come from the “gee I don’t want to fish with all that weight on my line”. I can understand this. If you are having a slow day and nothing is happening with the fly rod, on the way in, stop by the tube for some pulling and have a wonderful rockfish dinner. Works every time.
A Remote Freshwater Tactic
This may seem like an odd way to catch fish, but it works and we featuring this on our TV show over 10 years ago. Keep in mind that if your going to catch fish, you have to be where the fish are. The problem is you can always maneuver your boat to get where those big swimmers are.
We had this problem come up fishing at Smith Mountain Lake one summer where the rockfish (stripers) were schooling down by the dam. There is a log boom that of course stops any boat traffic from entering the so called danger area. Our captain pulled out his trust surf rod and then from beneath the floor, A REMOTE BAIT BOAT!!! I had never seen one at the time. This boat allows you to tie your bait to a release clip on the small boat. The release clip and the bait boat are all controlled via a remote control.
So here we go, bait attached and having a ball playing with our toy boat. That sucker was fast to!! Once we got the boat down by the dam we released the bait via our handy remote and within five minutes, FISH ON!!!! I must say the Smith Mountain Stripers do taste delicious!! What a fun day.
So as you can see, there are many ways to catch a rockfish. This should be a great season and I am looking forward to seeing all my rock fishing friends on the water this season. I will have a lot more updates and info as to where we will be filming and when in the next couple of weeks.
In the immortal words of Frank White the Southern Sportsman, "Do yourself a favor and take a kid fishing."
Tight Lines, good reads and good eats!
Author of HOOKED
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Celebrating Jim Baugh Outdoors 25 years we are introducing a new segment to our program. “Lure of the Shore” hosted by Donna Bozza will be an outdoor travel and entertainment feature in each program. Donna is an award-winning writer with thousands of articles published throughout her career. Her long-standing experience in the field of outdoor marketing, writing and publishing will be a huge asset to our program that already has a strong history in outdoor features.
Her love affair with words turned professional with 6 years as a journalist with the Eastern Shore News. Followed by a successful career as a freelance writer for regional/national newspapers and magazines covering a broad range of subject matter, she later specialized in regional travel as a contributing writer with Chesapeake Life Magazine. Recognition’s include an International Regional Magazine Award and Virginia Press Association Award. With a detour to Destination Marketing, Donna Bozza became the first Tourism Director for Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Under her leadership the region held the highest percentage increase in tourism revenue in Virginia and she was recognized with the Rising Star Leadership Award from the Virginia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Donna’s first program features will be “Lure of the Shore Coastal Virginia”. Donna and I will also be collaborating on various articles promoting different outdoor travel and activities. We recently produced in collaboration a feature on the Outer Banks. A good read with quite a few laughs for sure.
Donna also has a new COASTIN' web site that will feature many articles, columns, and a really cool section called "Beach House" featuring everything Beachy Keen....yes, she can decorate!
Stay tuned, lots more to come including info on the new Go Green Fishing Machine 2!!!!
Tight Lines, Good Reads and Good Eats!!
Author of HOOKED
Monday, September 9, 2013
My plan…..Drag Donna into the car kicking and screaming and head south to Hatteras Village –then Ocracoke Island. Yippee! As I, many have a love affair with the Outer Banks of North Carolina. But we differ on where we feel is the best place to savor its seemingly endless, wind-swept beaches and the lure of its wild tides. With forty years of salt-encrusted experience, I’d love to share what floats my boat on OBX .
The DuckersA diehard Duck fan basically lives and breathes Duck and feel there’s no life south of their line in the sand. Duck fans, are eternal optimists believing in the ability of a two-lane road to efficiently carry one million cars every 10 minutes. These are the same people who cherish a week’s vacation with the entire family including all blood relatives on both sides of the marital fence and the ex’s too, least they hit you up for more alimony. For good measure they throw in 3rd cousin Al twice removed, whose pedigree is as clear as the Chesapeake after a nor’easter—but hell that boy can bait a hook and he brings the cornhole!
With so many people on their vacation they have to wear nametags as they pack into a $10,000 per week house the size of Texas, making texting a necessity to find Great Aunt Lucy who was last seen circling the west wing in her walker. They grocery shop as if they were feeding a cruise ship and wash enough dishes to serve the tenth brigade.
For me, if I check into a vacation house that needs an elevator and a group baby sitter, I have invited too many people. Somehow, this is relaxing?
But- Vive la difference!
Then you have your Nags Head Summer Beach Vacationers. I picture these fine folks arriving in their 1960’s station wagon painted lime green with a bumper sticker that shouts, “We are the Griswolds”. Yes, the greater Nags Head area is tourist trap central—the King Kong-size papier-mâché dinosaurs looming over the golf course is your first clue.
The beauty of Nags Head is people can drive from all parts of the USA, sit on a crowded beach, and still eat at Outback. Maybe there’s comfort in knowing that even on your beach vacation one can eat at the same restaurant that you can in let’s say, Kansas?
Nirvana: Cape Hatteras National SeashoreI don’t feel like I am even on the Outer Banks until I take that left onto the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Crossing over the Oregon Inlet Bridge, driving through Pea Island, my stress level drops to zero. Halleluiah! My Outer Banks journey has finally begun. The sunny sojourn always ends at my favorite place, Hatteras Village and this time –Ocracoke Island. [My sweetheart refers to it as the Island of O. I’ll let y’all figure that one out.]
During the decades that we’ve been filming on the Outer Banks our homeport was usually the Villas of Hatteras Landing. Dangling delightfully at the end of Hatteras Island, it includes the lure of the ferries that whisk away automobiles and their happy occupants to more island adventures on Ocracoke.
Hatteras Village is just a cool place. Always has been. The beaches are beyond awesome and its surf fishing has been very good to us over the years. Along with its superb fishing its charm is in its laidback, barefoot ambience and friendly people.
Our Hatteras Village fishing success stories for head boats includes the time we filmed and fished the Stormy Petrol and it ended up being one of our best television episodes ever. During our fall trips, fishing with Captain Tommy Merrill has produced extraordinary King Mackerel fishing and reminds me why I love to do this show.
Just don’t forget your surf rod. If you park yourself at Hatteras Landing it’s doubtful you’ll go home with an empty cooler on these beaches, especially in the fall.
Staying at the Villas of Hatteras Landing is not exactly roughing it. So if you have a First Mate of the female persuasion there will be no whining about bait fish in the bed linens and scales in the shower. The Villas, once a hotel, has expertly been redesigned into attractive and comfy mini-condos. Excellent amenities include multiple flat screen TVs to replay your favorite Jim Baugh Outdoors videos and a small but easy-to-cook-in kitchen. Our show always features cooking segments and we are constantly downloading new recipes on our popular Jim’s Galley Blog. So a good kitchen while on the road is a must.
Least we forget the Villas have a wonderful pool to relax at after a big day fishing. Or as Donna chimes in, it provides the perfect escape for those who want to take a pass on hanging out all day fishing with men.
While staying in Hatteras Village there is just enough to do to keep on-shore explorations fun and stress-free. That’s a “Guyism” for you don’t have to Shop Till You Drop –Amen Brother.
Donna and I had a blast visiting the art galleries filled with local and regional artisans. Prices ranged from a pittance –vibrant prints from island artists –and a down payment on a house such as the luminous stingray mobiles, part of the spectacular glass art of Stan Harman found at Sandy Bay Gallery. [He also has lower priced artwork.] I know this threatens my man card carrying privileges but I was enjoying our excursion so much Donna actually shopped out before me. The pool and cocktails were calling as was chef JB’s seafood pasta dinner. My girl’s grandfather Pasquale came over on the boat, need I say more?
The magic of Hatteras Island includes discovering new food tips, yes, even while cocktailing at the Villas pool. We hit it off immediately with a super nice couple from Michigan. Fortuitously he too was Italian and me, well I’m always on the lookout for authentic “Mama’s Boy” recipes. I asked him if he had any secrets for good Sunday “gravy”.
“I use only fresh, home grown tomatoes, that’s the big difference,” he answered.
Okay, no big secret there I thought. But then he hit me with his finishing touch.
“While serving I put grape jelly on top of the sauce.”
Grape jelly??? Was the midwesterner playing with this old Southern boy? But straight faced he stuck to his guns and this odd, secret spaghetti condiment. What do y'all think?
Cooking in the VillasWhile I usually get lucky and catch the filets for dinner, when it comes to shrimp and scallops I need a good supplier. I decided to rent a Go Green Zero Carbon Footprint Vehicle, AKA bike, and take the roads less traveled along the beach. Finding awesome fresh seafood took only minutes. Before I even broke a sweat I found Seaside Seafood run by island natives L.B. and Mary Ann Fulcher. An authentic place with everything you need to whip up an excellent island seafood dinner.
Loaded with shrimp and scallops and remembering my high metabolism girlfriend who requires almost constant feeding, it was time to fire up the Villas’ kitchen.
Here’s a simple recipe. Make a fresh marinara –with superior San Marzano canned tomatoes if you can get them, and set aside. Peel and devein your shrimp and sauté with the scallops in fresh garlic, white wine, onion, and cilantro. Then add a cup of the marinara and simmer. Then pour over some whole wheat pasta. GREAT STUFF!
Other delights I made for my favorite I-Talian included bruschetta with Hatteras tomatoes, also provolone and fresh basil sausage biscuits. A big hit was the Sautéed Grouper [caught here] with parsley and tomato relish and my Steak Ala Villa.
The kitchen had all the necessary equipment to prepare a variety of dishes –with an added bonus. It’s just the right size for those of us who’ve been around the kitchen a few times and don’t want to contend with “backseat” cooks. You know the ones glued to the Cooking Channel 24-7? I might watch Tiger Woods play golf on TV but I’m not getting any invitations to the US Open, ya know what I’m sayin’?
If like me you cook on the road a lot, get yourself a Spice Bag to bring along your favorite ingredients. I lost my original so I decided to buy one in Hatteras Village.
Here’s a tip for single guys out there who need a new way to meet women. I discovered this –accidently of course. I went in a Hatteras store and in my usual non-obtrusive JB way announced “shyly” I needed a bag to carry my cooking spices. No sooner did my proclamation make it to the outer reaches of the sizable shop [Donna having quickly bailed] that 3 women came racing to my rescue suggesting bags of every hue and sexual orientation. One didn’t even work for the store.
“Who cleans up when you cook?” she asked.
“I clean up as I go along,” I answered.
“You cook and clean-up?”
Well boys, I tell you I had her practically eating out of my hand. I’m spoken for but take it from old J.B. get yourself a Tommy Bahama JBO TV Spice Man-Bag and flout it!
I stock it with everything from jerk seasoning, garlic, mixed peppers, pasta, and even concentrated tomato and anchovy paste. It made our meals at the Villas extra special as we enjoyed them alfresco on the balcony overlooking the pool and Hatteras Landing. A great place to stay, play and cook.
Dining FUN by the Villas
Two newbie restaurants at the Hatteras Landing waterfront caught my attention. The cool Wreck Tiki Bar & Food and a fantastic taco stand Gringo’s Tacos.
The Wreck is a great little Tiki bar that serves up fresh daily specials. Donna enjoyed the fresh Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Panini and liked that she could walk a few steps and lunch by the Villas’ pool. No doubt to re-read her favorite novel HOOKED.
I had an excellent Roast Beef and Swiss Panini. They also have live music on Wednesdays during the season.
Gringo’s Tacos was fun and flavorful. They serve up a variety of fresh seafood tacos and also offer beef and chicken. There is plenty of seating in front of the stand to take in the picturesque marina. We had the top notch Shrimp Tacos which had just the right amount of spice kick. To top it off, the black beans and rice were superb and portions were generous.
Both eateries offer truly inexpensive dining with a great view and great food –all at Hatteras Landing.
Hatteras Landing Fun Continued
The above restaurants are located at the Hatteras Landing complex which is situated just prior to the ferry docks. It’s a rather large facility including shops that cater to your beach and fishing vacation needs. The full service marina and marina store is located towards the end of the complex offering just about any water sport activity you can dream up. Fishing charters and dive boats included. The beauty of the sound location is only rivaled by its bounty. I’ve clammed and fished just outside of the marina’s sound side and always came home with a smile on my face.
While there a stroll on the wooden walkways located near the entrance of Hatteras Landing takes you through the salt marshes and over the gentle backwaters of the sound. Always loved the hush the breeze makes when playing with marsh grass; between that and the shorebirds its nature’s Mozart..
A surprise is tucked back here where history marks this spot with special reverence. A white picket fence surrounds a small family plot. Protected is the final resting place of Captain Steven Barnet and young wife Rebecca who perished tragically at sea in the fall of 1859 when the schooner Mary Lousia wrecked in the breakers of Ocracoke.
Sitting sublimely in the same grove of trees is a stately gazebo. Framed by limbs carved into a graceful arch by years of ocean winds, it’s a place of perfect solitude for an afternoon respite. And who knows, maybe someday just the right setting for a tiny wedding tween an ol’fisherman and his middle-aged mermaid.
Have to give it to that Edward Teach, he knew where to hang. It’s one of my favorite OBX oases too. Donna and I were excited about hopping the ferry to Ocracoke Island to spend the day. Not much of a drive since the docks are almost in the Hatteras Landing parking lot.
The wait if any is short. There are seven ferries with a departure schedule of about every thirty minutes. And miraculously there’s no toll! The ride over is a breeze, hardly feels like the advertised 40 minutes journey. The beautiful scenery of sound and ocean you can also enjoy in the comfortable lounge if you want A.C. The trip was pure joy. And did I mention –it’s free?
On the way to town Donna wanted to stop and show me the Ocracoke Ponies. Decedents of wild ponies who once survived on their wits, this small herd is now penned and pampered. Legend has it they swam ashore from shipwrecks and decided to call Ocracoke home –smart move.
Once you arrive rent bikes like we did to get a real feel for this authentic coastal village. We meandered around the sunny streets and pretty Silver Lake Harbor finding tucked away shops and galleries along the way. We cruised by the Ocracoke Lighthouse and chatted with locals and visitors –no strangers here.
The steamed shrimp special was firing off at the Dajio Bar and so were we. Donna and I had some awesome cocktails and feasted on endless shrimp. Even a sudden downpour couldn’t chase us away as we retreated to the open air bar –still getting a little wet, but who cared? It soon passed but we were in for another surprise. My Facebook post about our dining spot inspired a long-lost pal to call the restaurant offering to pay for our shrimp feast. No people have been that happy since Buffett found that cheeseburger in paradise.[Though we are happy to say there are no Mickey D’s or any chain stores here.]
What a blast! Being 24 miles offshore has created the coolest little coastal outpost, akin to the days of Hemmingway’s Key West. Donna and I vow to return to Ocracoke for a longer stay that includes exploring its 16 miles of undeveloped beaches. For like Ernie advised –we always do sober what we said we’d do drunk.
I certainly had time for reflection during this OBX trip. 25 years is a long time to be producing an outdoor show. I’d like to say I had more hair back then, but that would be fibbing. What I do have more of is memories of family and friends that have enjoyed Hatteras Village with me. I remember my kids when they were little making their own memories here fishing and playing on the beach. Boy, the surf fishing adventures we had along the Outer Banks and the many, many exciting offshore escapades we shared with y’all. It all remains like a cherished Monet on my mind.
Driving north out of the village we made a quick stop at the local store for some coffee.
“Where is my buddy?” I asked. “The old black lab that always greeted me at the door?”
The cashier said that Amos had passed away and showed me his picture and dedication on their window. Amos was a beloved pooch in these parts and I admit I choked up a bit. I had put my lab Tina Turner down last fall, and Donna only a few months ago lost her 15-year-old beach pup Bay-Leigh.
Tina was a loveable renegade on our Hatteras Village vacations –chasing gulls on the beach and diving like a mermaid for seashells. Truly part of my memories here included four legged friends.
Memories are treasures but like the ever shifting sands of the Outer Banks, I’m looking forward to the dynamic changes and blessings that continue to unfold.
It has been a great ride… but it’s not over.
I hope you will join us.
Jim Baugh & Donna Bozza
Author of “HOOKED”