The weather turned cold on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX) on our third day. So we went fishing. No blue's blitz. That's when the blues chase small menhaden fish up onto the beach. I've seen it live, now you can too by watching YouTube video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFpZwhnywuo) and you'll understand the excitement.
We should have been there a week before when the red drum were big and plentiful. I caught one keeper red drum. I gave it away because we were staying in a hotel. The rest of the week I caught spots not much bigger than my hand. After I threw one back, and he floated on the top of the water, I gave them away or used them for bait.
We went on a nostalgic tour to Roanoke Island. Stopped by the Dare County airport to see if they'd lengthened the runway enough to get my Lear jet in there, not. Visited the Christmas Store and Art Gallery. Spectacular OBX art. Remember I said it was cold (65 degrees) and windy, so I was willing to follow the wife around.
Went on a sales call for our Super Shipbottom anti-fouling paint to the city of Wanchese's 'Industry and Marine Center!' There are at least a dozen real boat builders' buildings, mostly big sport fishing boat that will troll the Gulf Stream for the big fish. Add a fighting chair and hook up the marlin!
Those facilities are nearly brand new without an overhead wire anywhere. Only saw one huge travel lift that I suppose they all share. On the other side of the island are older builders and working boat yards and fish houses. Back in the 1980s I bought 'head-on' shrimp by the snow-shovel full. "We don't put them in bags, boy! Go get a five-gallon bucket!" Spent many of a happy afternoon heading shrimp and sipping Pabst Blue Beer. That was way back when.
This trip I finally made friends with several bartenders at Sam and Omie's. I had an ulterior motive that I will reveal a little further on. Those bartenders are like bartenders all over the world. Basically, they're in it for money not the adventure or romance of bartending. The best are also curious. In between pouring a drink, they might inquire how your day is going or where you're from (in tourist areas) and this may seem like a better way of getting a tip but few practice this method.
Like I said, I had an ulterior motive, and it was discovering where I could get my hands on a very unusual PBR beer tap handle. Anything PBR fascinates me so I was desperate to find out its origin. Some said that it was a one-off sculpture made by a local artisan but it seemed too polished for that. I finally convinced one of the bartenders that I was only a friendly Floridian and, since she lived in Key West for many years, I was no threat to the exotic beer handle.
I whipped out my smart phone and took a mini-video while she twisted the handle around. On the back was a small Web address, "pbrart.com." Aha, now it made sense. Since the unofficial logo of Sam and Omie's was an elephant, a smart beer salesman bought the elephant stacked handle to ensure the bar would never replace PBR with Heineken or some other swishy beer.
I'd considered buying from S&O's, but realized that they'd never part with it. I briefly considered unscrewing it and running, but I discounted that because of age and weight, mine that is. So I settled for a video.
When I e-mailed a photo of the very expensive beer tap to fellow members of the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" with a request for a release of funds for it's purchase for our clubhouse beer tap, I got few responses. One vitriolic remark came from that swishy, light-beer-drinking, wine-swilling member, "Frenchie Louie," who is so small minded that he took to insulting me personally by saying that I have the beer acumen of a hillbilly.
Every time I host the monthly meeting by purchasing a quarter keg of PBR, the members drink it like it was Molson's Golden. My motive for getting the elephant tap was to show the members up for their hypocrisy. If they don't know what they're drinking, it's great!
The other motive was to lend it to Big Game Waterfront Grill if they brought Pabst Blue Ribbon back but at a $150 per, I've decided to go to The Beach Pierside Grill and bring my own glass. PBR is one of the least expensive beers and many places use it as their own brand. They never can fool me!
Back to the road trip: We overnight-ed in Greenville, S.C. and loaded the pick-em-up truck with paint-making material before heading back to Fort Myers Beach. Eleven hours later we rolled over the sky bridge. Good to be home.
I'm hoping Bob Petcher, the great editor of this paper, can find room for the picture of the tap handle but, if he can't, it may be seen on the website, www.fortmyersbeachtalk.com. If all else fails, send a request to boatguiEd@aol.com and I'll get it to you. And don't forget Christmas is coming soon, club members!
Boatguy Ed is an avid boater, past Commodore of the 'Dead End Canal Yacht Club' and manufacturer of Super Shipbottom Anti-fouling paint, www.supershipbottom.com