Rupert Brook "Junior" Harden oral history interview

Citation
Rupert Brook "Junior" Harden oral history interview

Material Information

Title:
Rupert Brook "Junior" Harden oral history interview
Creator:
Howard, Terry Lee
University of South Florida--Libraries--Oral History Program
Language:
English

Subjects

Genre:
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

General Note:
Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Mr. Terry Lee Howard.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
F70-00006 ( USFLDC DOI )
f70.6 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
xml version 1.0
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd leader ntm 22 Ka 4500controlfield tag 008 s flunnn| ||||ineng datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a F70-000062 USFLDC DOI0 245 Rupert Brook "Junior" Harden oral history interviewh [electronic resource] /c interviewed by Mr. Terry Lee Howard.500 Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.1 600 Harden, Rupert Brook7 655 Oral history.localOnline audio.local700 Howard, Terry Lee710 University of South Florida.b Library.Digital Scholarship Services - Digital Collections.Oral History Program.773 t Florida Fishing Captains Oral History Project4 856 u https://digital.lib.usf.edu/?f70.6


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
segment
idx 0
time 00:00:0.0
text Terry Howard (TH): My name’s Terry Howard, and today is Friday, October 26th, 2018. I am at 5351 NW Mims Court in Port St. Lucie, Florida, with Captain Rupert Brook—Brook—Harden, also known as Junior Harden. And, to begin with, Mr. Harden, please state your full name and your date and place of birth.
1
00:00:41.6
Rupert Brook Harden (RH): Okay. I was born in West Palm Beach on 4/20/33.
2
00:00:48.3
TH: And your full name?
3
00:00:51.2
RH: Is Rupert Brook Harden Jr.
4
00:00:53.9
TH: And what do most people know you by?
5
00:00:57.9
RH: Junior Harden.
6
00:00:59.3
TH: Okay. Mr. Harden, do I have your permission to use this interview for publication in books, articles, et cetera?
7
00:01:8.4
RH: Yes, sir.
8
00:01:9.6
TH: And do I have your permission to archive this interview at the University of South Florida Tampa Library Digital Archives?
9
00:01:17.7
RH: Yes, sir.
10
00:01:18.9
TH: Okay. And I’ve already got when and where you were born. Uh, give me a brief biography of yourself, including your first experiences boating, fishing, commercial and/or charter fishing. Just your first experiences on the water and where you grew up.
11
00:01:36.7
RH: Yeah. Well, I grew up in West Palm. And that was during, I remember, during the war in the ’40s. Back then, our boats, we steered them all with ropes. We didn’t—we just had car motors in the boats, and—
12
00:01:56.0
TH: Can you explain how you steered them with the boats?
13
00:01:58.8
RH: With the rope? We had a rudder—the rudder in the back with the arm sticking up and the rope went _______(??), and you’d pull it this way to go this way and pull this way to go the other way. That’s how we steered boats back then.
14
00:02:13.6
TH: Now, when you say, “This way and that way,” it doesn’t—this is all—
15
00:02:18.3
RH: Left and right. Oh, left, right. Yeah. In other words, whenever you pull it, then they’ll turn the wheel—you pull it, and you’ll turn. You pull it—that’s how—it went up to the bow and back down to the rudder.
16
00:02:31.7
TH: And through pulleys?
17
00:02:33.3
RH: Yeah, through a pulley.
18
00:02:35.5
TH: Okay.
19
00:02:35.9
RH: Yeah. And that’s how we steered boats. And back then, fish was so—we could get out of Palm Beach Inlet, them old boats, and shut the motor off in front of the inlet, and drift to Jupiter. And when we got to Jupiter, the boats—everything we had on the boat was full of mutton snapper and grouper. And the tide was so strong, the little five-horse[power] Palmers that we had, they couldn’t make it back. We had to go to the beach—to come down the beach—to get back to the inlet.
20
00:03:14.4
TH: You’d go to the beach?
21
00:03:16.4
RH: Go back to shore so we could run, because the tide was too strong for them boats to make it.
22
00:03:23.7
TH: How far out was the—what you’re talking about, the Gulf Stream tide?
23
00:03:27.7
RH: No. We—Palm Beach, it’s only 60 feet of water off of Palm Beach. It’s only, like, a mile offshore.
24
00:03:37.5
TH: Okay. Of water?
25
00:03:38.7
RH: Yeah, and then—but the tide was so strong, the old motors we had, you couldn’t buck the tide. We had to come into the shore, go right down the shore so we could get back home. But the boats would be loaded. If you wanted—we couldn’t hardly sell grouper. We just threw them away, until right at the end, then we would keep the groupers and throw them on the floor. But the snappers, we put in boxes. But the grouper were just the last—after the boxes were full of them, we filled the boat up with grouper. And we was using the old cotton line back then. They didn’t have—
26
00:04:17.9
TH: You were using nets?
27
00:04:19.7
RH: No. Fishing line.
28
00:04:21.5
TH: Oh, fishing lines?
29
00:04:22.7
RH: Yeah, I was catching them. And see, net fishermen, we net fish in the winter. But we always hook-and-lined all summer, but for grouper, snapper, kingfish, stuff like that.
30
00:04:37.0
TH: So when you drifted, you had handlines?
31
00:04:41.1
RH: Mmm-hm. We’d just drop it down as fast as you could pull them until you wore out. Then you’d get all your boxes full. By the time I got up around Jupiter or Hope Sound, the boxes would be full, and we’d go into the beach and come back. And it just kept getting worse. It’s hard to catch anything now because it’s so many boats. Yeah.
32
00:05:2.4
TH: But this was—about what year would this be?
33
00:05:5.0
RH: That was in the ’40s.
34
00:05:7.1
TH: Okay. And in the wintertime, did you use nets up there?
35
00:05:12.6
RH: Yeah, in the wintertime we used nets, gill nets, but—like, in ’44, somewhere in there, the submarines were—German subs was so bad out here, we couldn’t go out at night. They would only let us go out—all the boats that was right at the inlet, at eight o’ clock, and they would shoot a gun, and then we could all go fishing. But we had to be back before dark because of the German subs. And that’s—back [in] them days, we had little towers about every four or five miles on the beach. And had horseback riders going up and down because so many—the German subs was letting off people, and they was coming ashore. Because every time they sunk one of them subs, it was full of restaurant stuff and groceries that they would—and they don’t even know how they was getting them, you know. Like that, you know the Republican buoy off of Jupiter, Hope Sound?
36
00:06:12.4
TH: Yes.
37
00:06:13.1
RH: Okay, that was a ship. That was a name of that ship that the German sub blowed up. And when that blowed up, we was—I was not fishing, daddy was. He said when they blowed that up, fish all the way to Palm Beach Inlet showered out of the water when they blowed it up. That’s what a big explosion it was. Daddy and all of them went up there, and anybody that could free-dive in 60 feet of water—
38
00:06:41.5
TH: Free-dive?
39
00:06:42.6
RH: Yeah. In 60 feet—it’s about 60 feet. Well, they would take a rope and go down. And the ship was full of five-gallon cans of lard and these big boxes of Sunshine cookies, shoes, all—thousands of cases of Vienna sausage. Well, they would go down and go and run ropes through and tie it and jerk it, and the guy up there would pull it up. They loaded damn boats off of that ship. Oh, my Lord.
40
00:07:18.1
TH: My goodness. Now, about what year was that?
41
00:07:23.5
RH: That was during the war, so it would be like ’45. Something like that.
42
00:07:30.2
TH: Now, you fished before the war. Do you recall fishing before the war?
43
00:07:34.6
RH: Well, let’s see, before ’44—
44
00:07:37.4
TH: Forty-one—forty-two is when the war began for the US. But before that, the German subs were sinking ships.
45
00:07:43.0
RH: Yeah, right. But I wasn’t fishing then. Daddy was telling me about it, yeah. That’s how—I was too young.
46
00:07:49.4
TH: Okay.
47
00:07:50.7
RH: But he’d fill up our garage full of all kinds of stuff. Blankets and Vienna sau—oh, what a mess—from that ship.
48
00:07:59.4
TH: Well, that was also during the Depression—at the end of the Depression.
49
00:08:2.6
RH: Right, yeah. Yeah, I remember, we was at—whenever, during the Depression, we—on the street we lived in, there must’ve been 50 houses. Every house on that street, the Salvation Army’s truck stopped and gave them food. Except for one. That was some guy that owned a grocery store. But every house, you know, it was kind of embarrassing. But when you’d see everybody else that did it, you know, they would all stand out on the road, waiting for that truck.
50
00:08:34.9
TH: The Salvation Army?
51
00:08:36.3
RH: Yeah.
52
00:08:36.9
TH: Now, what—do you remember what street it was or where you lived in?
53
00:08:41.1
RH: Forty-Third.
54
00:08:42.4
TH: Forty-Third? In?
55
00:08:43.6
RH: In West Palm Beach, yeah.
56
00:08:45.3
TH: Forty-Third Street. And how close were you to the inlet?
57
00:08:49.9
RH: Well, that was about 8 miles because that was at Riviera.
58
00:08:54.7
TH: Riviera Beach?
59
00:08:56.0
RH: Yeah, the inlet was down there. Now, first off, see, my parents, my daddy and them, they moved to the—here from [the] Bahamas. My daddy’s Bahamian. And he moved over here when he was 18 and met my mother from Mississippi, and they got married. Well, my daddy—when they first came, they all went to Peanut Island. That belonged to the Bahamians. There was no bridge then. They would go back and forth on little boats and row across and get stuff from the grocery store and row back.
60
00:09:33.1
TH: They lived on Peanut Island?
61
00:09:34.9
RH: Not Peanut Island, Singer Island.
62
00:09:37.3
TH: Singer Island.
63
00:09:38.2
RH: Right. There was no bridge then. There was nothing over there but Bahamians. They more or less owned Singer Island. Well, then—but, like, where the inlet is now, that wasn’t the inlet. The inlet was over here by Singer Island. That was the regular inlet, you know, of nature.
64
00:09:57.6
TH: A natural inlet?
65
00:09:59.3
RH: Yeah, natural. They would go in and out there, but it wasn’t very deep. So they closed this off after they made Palm Beach Inlet. Yeah. Just like the same thing with Salerno Inlet. Do you know where the middle of the hole is? That’s where the inlet was. Then later they dug an inlet over where they are, and they closed that one up. That’s why, every time you have a hurricane, it wants to cut through right there.
66
00:10:31.2
TH: Interesting. Well, in Fort Pierce, the old inlet was where Pepper Park is today. And when they built the Fort Pierce Inlet in 1921, that one closed up naturally because it was only a foot deep in the mouth.
67
00:10:46.9
RH: Yeah.
68
00:10:47.4
TH: All right, I want to go back to—you’re in Palm Beach, so in the—before the war, you fished at night, mostly?
69
00:10:55.7
RH: Yeah. Well, in the daytime, see, you only had cotton nets back then. And you had to circle them and pull them all the way down. That was before monofilament come out. Monofilament, you could run it out in front of them, and they’d run into it. But having—back in our days, we had to find them. We had no fathometer. We had no kind of electronics. We had to find the fish on our own and circle them. Well, then, after monofilament come out, it made it a whole lot better. So at nighttime, the water don’t—we call it fire. You could see a school of fish ahead of you, a quarter of a mile, swimming, at night. We don’t have that anymore. The water don’t fire like that anymore. I don’t know why. It just kept getting worse and worse.
70
00:11:43.5
The worst thing for fish is a propeller. And the more propellers you get, the less fish you’re going to have. You could take—I could come up to a big school of fish, and that bunch of fish would be sitting there. If I didn’t change the throttle, I could go right up and circle that bunch of fish up, and they wouldn’t even know they was in the net. But as I go to it, if I touched the throttle, you could see them, whomp! That’s how they go. Because they don’t like that change of that propeller. That’s the only way we could—we grouped a bunch of fish, we don’t touch the throttle, we’d just go right on around it. But if we said, “Oh, look there!”
71
00:12:30.7
TH: Interesting.
72
00:12:32.3
RH: Yeah.
73
00:12:33.0
TH: Well, let’s get the chronology of this. You started off fishing out of Palm Beach?
74
00:12:38.7
RH: Yes, sir.
75
00:12:39.5
TH: On some nights, you would set nets—gill nets—
76
00:12:44.7
RH: Yeah, gill nets.
77
00:12:46.2
TH: —and drift?
78
00:12:46.7
RH: No, we’d set them—circle them.
79
00:12:48.9
TH: You’d circle fish?
80
00:12:50.3
RH: You always had to circle them because the cotton nets wouldn’t catch them. They wouldn’t run into it.
81
00:12:55.7
TH: You wouldn’t go out into the Gulf Stream?
82
00:12:57.9
RH: Oh, no. Just along the beach.
83
00:12:59.6
TH: Along the beach.
84
00:13:0.3
RH: Our nest was real shallow out there—after—we couldn’t catch anything in 30 feet of water. It was from there in, yeah.
85
00:13:8.5
TH: That’s where you did the net fishing?
86
00:13:10.3
RH: Uh-huh.
87
00:13:10.8
TH: And then for the hook and line fishing, were you drifted?
88
00:13:13.2
RH: Uh-huh. That’s out in, right offshore, about a mile. You don’t have to—the Gulf Stream is not very far off Palm Beach.
89
00:13:21.3
TH: So you go out there about a mile? And okay, explain the hand lines. What kind of—
90
00:13:27.0
RH: We had—it looked like—well, you know how a lead line is on a cast net now? Well, that’s about the size of the line we used. Almost like a rope with a little piece of wire about that big, that’s all.
91
00:13:42.5
TH: That big? You’re holding your hands about three feet?
92
00:13:44.9
RH: Yeah, about three feet of wire. And then we would—
93
00:13:48.8
TH: Did you have a swivel—
94
00:13:50.2
RH: Yeah, we had—
95
00:13:51.4
TH: —to attach the rope to the wire?
96
00:13:53.9
RH: Uh-huh. And then, on that—and we used to use number 9 hooks. But when—and then _______(??) would have a lead on it. We made our own leads. We’d take some leads and pour them in the sand, you know, to make a lead. And then—
97
00:14:9.0
TH: You would just pour them in the sand?
98
00:14:11.1
RH: Yeah, you’d dig, like, a hole in the sand, and you pour the lead in it, and then you’ve got—like, you wet the sand. And it’s like a—you pour the lead in, as soon as it hits it, boom, it’s hard.  And we had the wire sticking out of each end, you know.
99
00:14:27.7
TH: And you’d tie the—now, how big was the rope that you used? Or—
100
00:14:32.2
RH: It was like the—well, you know the line that we use, like, tying your outriggers and stuff like that? Real big stuff, because they bit anything. They didn’t care back then, as long as you had a piece of bait on it.
101
00:14:50.8
TH: Like a quarter inch?
102
00:14:52.0
RH: Yeah, a little less than a quarter inch.
103
00:14:54.3
TH: Okay, and then you tied that to one end of the lead, where you had wires coming out of one end of the lead?
104
00:15:0.9
RH: No, we tied—we moved back up about two—about two fathoms from the hook, we’d put the lead. Then we’d come out with line, and then right on the end, we’d put the wire. Yeah. And that’s the—the bonitos, back then, was millions of them. So you always had bonito bait. Yeah.
105
00:15:24.7
TH: Oh, you used bonito for bait?
106
00:15:26.8
RH: Yeah.
107
00:15:27.3
TH: Did they hit your lines? Did you catch a lot of bonito?
108
00:15:29.8
RH: Yeah. Anything you’d put out, it’d catch it. Bonitos was everywhere.
109
00:15:35.7
TH: I mean, how did you get out of the bonitos to get into the grouper or the—
110
00:15:40.5
RH: Well, down on the bottom, you had to troll for the bonitos. Yeah.
111
00:15:45.0
TH: Okay, okay. And how did you troll? You just—
112
00:15:50.0
RH: Just slow. Go, just like you do now. For the bonitos, the faster you went, if you could pull them, the better it is. You know how bonitos are.
113
00:15:59.1
TH: Yeah.
114
00:15:59.9
RH: They like it fast.
115
00:16:1.8
TH: So, you would use—to make sure we understand this—about less than a quarter inch, the line that you pulled. And you’d, I guess, coil it right at your feet in the boat.
116
00:16:16.0
RH: Yeah, just throw it down. Yeah.
117
00:16:17.0
TH: And then, at the end of the line, you had a swivel, and then another couple of fathoms with the lead on that.
118
00:16:27.9
RH: Right. See, in other words, like, it would go from here to the lead—right here. Then we’d go from here out a couple of fathoms, in a swivel.
119
00:16:36.5
TH: “Here” doesn’t compute.
120
00:16:38.7
RH: Huh? Oh.
121
00:16:40.0
TH: Going from here—
122
00:16:41.2
RH: Okay. Well, let’s say if it’s 60 feet of water, well, usually I—we usually used, like, 20 fathoms, something like that, 25 fathoms of line. And we’ll go down, and we’ll tie one in one end of the lead. And then the other, cut it in two, the other end. Then we would go another two fathoms of line. And then, at the end of the line, we would put the wire.
123
00:17:7.9
TH: Okay. Attached to a swivel?
124
00:17:10.4
RH: Yeah.
125
00:17:11.2
TH: Okay.
126
00:17:12.3
RH: Yeah, it had to have a swivel because that rope, it just was—
127
00:17:15.0
TH: And you just used one hook per line?
128
00:17:17.1
RH: Yeah, yeah. You could—and just as fast as you could pull them, I’m telling you.
129
00:17:22.2
TH: That’s amazing.
130
00:17:24.6
RH: I know. Yeah.
131
00:17:25.8
TH: So you said the snapper were your main target fish?
132
00:17:31.6
RH: Yeah, because they paid more for them, you know.
133
00:17:34.9
TH: And the grouper were bycatch?
134
00:17:40.4
RH: Yeah. But in other words, if you wasn’t careful, you’d fill the boat up with groupers. So they had to keep throwing them back. So—{{{00:17:47.3}}}
135
00:17:53.7
TH: And how much for snapper?
136
00:17:55.1
RH: I think we got 10 or 12 cents for them. Yeah.
137
00:17:58.7
TH: My goodness. Okay, so you were just a child. You worked with your father, mostly?
138
00:18:7.4
RH: Yeah. Yeah.
139
00:18:8.6
TH: And when did you move to Fort Pierce?
140
00:18:12.4
RH: In ’76.
141
00:18:15.3
TH: Oh. Well, so most of your fishing was done—your early fishing was in the Palm Beaches.
142
00:18:20.8
RH: Palm Beach, and then—and sometimes the fish would go by, so we would go to Miami. And during that time, you couldn’t go out. You had to—during the war, we had to have a big thing over the boat with the letters about 12 inches big because the Coast Guard would run you down all the time if you didn’t have that sign. When you went out in Miami Inlet, you had to have that thing, or the Coast Guard would come pull you over because of the Germans.
143
00:18:50.8
TH: You went out, and government cut in?
144
00:18:53.7
RH: Yeah, sometimes. But most of the time, we would come out and go through the Biscayne Bay Bridge, and go out at the cape.
145
00:19:1.4
TH: Well, how did you get your boats down there, to Miami?
146
00:19:5.2
RH: Just run them.
147
00:19:6.0
TH: Down the beach?
148
00:19:6.8
RH: Uh-huh.
149
00:19:7.5
TH: And where did you stay when you—I mean, your home was in—
150
00:19:10.5
RH: On the boats. On the little 25-foot boats.
151
00:19:14.8
TH: Can you describe the boats that you used?
152
00:19:17.0
RH: Yeah. Well, there was clinker-built boats. You know, they’re built out of cedar, white cedar. And then they put ribs in them, you know, to make them round. We’d put oak for ribs. You’d heat it so it would bend, and then, when it got cold, it would stiff. And that would rivet it.
153
00:19:37.9
TH: Did you build your own boats?
154
00:19:39.8
RH: No. Some of them did. We didn’t. I couldn’t build. But that—they was clinker-built boats like what you see, you know, the lapped over—
155
00:19:52.0
TH: Lapstrake.
156
00:19:52.7
RH: And you didn’t have to—it was funny about that. You know how you used to have to put caulk in, like a regular boat? You had to put caulking in—not that white cedar. When you put it in there, you couldn’t have a motor in there; when you first put it in the boat, in water, it would sink. So you’d have to let it sit, but it would soak up pretty soon. After it soaked up, you’d just sit there, never leak a drop.
157
00:20:18.6
TH: It would swell.
158
00:20:19.7
RH: Swell.
159
00:20:21.8
TH: And then you’d put little Palmer engines? What were the most common engines?
160
00:20:28.8
RH: Well, back—whatever car motor—we didn’t have many marines back then. Just whatever kind of car—Buick, stuff like that. Something.
161
00:20:38.8
TH: And just a regular—the transmission?
162
00:20:41.8
RH: Now, when they first started, it was five-horse Palmers they used to use. Yeah. Pat-pat-pat-pat. If I set a net sometimes, if the net hung up, it stopped the boat. Didn’t have no power.
163
00:20:56.5
TH: My goodness. So—and then—so you’d net in the wintertime, and in the summertime, you would hook and line fish?
164
00:21:5.1
RH: Kingfish and hook and line. Yeah, snapper.
165
00:21:7.8
TH: That was the seasonal routine?
166
00:21:9.2
RH: Yeah, always. Yeah.
167
00:21:11.4
TH: Okay. Did you or your father ever rescue any of the fellows from the ships that were blown up by the German submarines?
168
00:21:21.0
RH: No, we never did. No, sir. No.
169
00:21:23.8
TH: They brought some into Fort Pierce, I know, later on.
170
00:21:28.4
RH: Yeah, yeah. You know the 12A buoy? That’s where that comes from.
171
00:21:31.7
TH: What?
172
00:21:33.6
RH: The German subs. See, the 12 buoy, right, there was a—the submarine was following this freighter, okay? Well, then, the freighter knew he was, so he acted like he went into Fort Pierce, but he couldn’t get in. So he anchored right outside the inlet for three days, hoping he was gone. So about two o’ clock that morning, he went out. And when he got out—boom. It blowed him up. That’s where that is. That’s the ship.
173
00:22:6.1
TH: Where the 12A buoy is today?
174
00:22:9.4
RH: Yeah, that’s that ship. Then another one was blowed up just offshore, which was the 12 buoy, remember? But it’s gone now. That was two ships that the submarines blowed up.
175
00:22:21.0
TH: Okay.
176
00:22:23.0
RH: Now, let me tell you one thing, that Republican buoy, their jewfish was so big and so plentiful—oh, probably, four or five years after the ship was sunk, right?
177
00:22:37.0
TH: Now, the Republican buoy was the one at Hobe Sound?
178
00:22:39.5
RH: That was one down at Palm Beach, just north of Jupiter Inlet.
179
00:22:43.7
TH: Okay.
180
00:22:44.6
RH: Okay. Well, the jewfish were so thick there, in the summer when we couldn’t find anything to do, we would catch jewfish, right? Now, we would use—
181
00:22:56.1
TH: That’s—today they’re called goliath grouper.
182
00:22:59.2
RH: Oh, they are? Okay, well, we would use quarter-inch rope and a hook with a chain on it. And we’d catch mullet, big mullet, and hook the mullet on and throw it down. And we would have to tie the end of that rope because you couldn’t stop it once he—if we put the bait out, like, if the ship was right here, we would anchor here and let it go just so far. And then they would come out and grab it, and try to run back in the ship. So you had to make sure your rope wouldn’t go to the ship. You had it just right. And he would turn the—whoa—and you had to get out of the way because, man, that line was smoking, you hear me? [Makes sound.] Sometimes, it would even pull a piece of wood right out of the side of the boat. We had them so big, we had to tow them home. You couldn’t get them in the boat.
183
00:23:50.3
TH: What did they weigh? Do you remember?
184
00:23:54.1
RH: I know some of them weighed 900—8-, 900 pounds. We could take a 400-pounder—you know your tiller arm that you steer with?
185
00:24:2.0
TH: Yes, sir.
186
00:24:2.8
RH: Well, we’d get—a boat would come over, and you’d get two or three men, two on one end, two on the other. And we would stick it through his gills and slide him in the boat like that. At 2- or 300 pounds, they could do that easy. But some of them were just too big. And they would cut them in chunks. That’s how you sold them.
187
00:24:23.0
TH: The meat?
188
00:24:24.1
RH: The meat, yeah.
189
00:24:25.5
TH: And it was sold, like, it was good eating?
190
00:24:28.6
RH: Oh, yeah. Yeah. {{{00:24:29.5}}}
191
00:24:30.1
RH: Yeah, like—
192
00:24:31.1
TH: They’re from the grouper family.
193
00:24:32.7
RH: Same thing, yeah. But we—
194
00:24:34.6
TH: So, I want to hear this—be sure we get this correct. So the Republican [sic] wreck, that’s a ship that sank, and there’s a buoy there?
195
00:24:47.7
RH: Right. Well, it’s not now. The ship must have deteriorated. I was down there a few years ago, I said, “Man, where’s the buoy?” Because it was such a place—right here was the bar inshore the buoy, and all up in here, we used the buoy for a mark, for kingfish. But the buoy’s gone now, so they call this the inshore bar, and then the other one is out here. Yeah.
196
00:25:14.5
TH: So this was off of—?
197
00:25:15.9
RH: Hobe Sound.
198
00:25:18.1
TH: Hobe Sound. Between Hobe Sound and Jupiter.
199
00:25:20.7
RH: You know where Jupiter long rocks are, on the beach? Them rocks was right off of that, yeah.
200
00:25:25.8
TH: Okay. And let’s get back to the—you would have a rope, where was the chain?
201
00:25:33.3
RH: Right on the end.
202
00:25:35.0
TH: And then beyond the chain was, what, the hook? {{{00:25:39.5}}}
203
00:25:43.5
TH: And what was it attached to? The chain, I guess.
204
00:25:47.2
RH: Yeah. You know, we had to put that to the chain, yeah.
205
00:25:51.0
TH: And what attached the hook to the chain?
206
00:25:53.9
RH: Like you—when you got the hook, like this, where you’d go through the hook with the chain and put a bowl in it.
207
00:25:59.5
TH: Oh, okay. And you dropped a big mullet down there.
208
00:26:6.9
RH: Yeah.
209
00:26:7.3
TH: The biggest you could catch.
210
00:26:8.2
RH: Yeah, big old mullet.
211
00:26:9.6
TH: And when they—now, were you—did they—were you anchored?
212
00:26:15.7
RH: Oh, yeah.
213
00:26:16.8
TH: And then you dropped this line out of the stern of the boat?
214
00:26:21.0
RH: Yeah.
215
00:26:21.5
TH: And was it tied off to a cleat?
216
00:26:24.3
RH: Yeah, you’d tie the end off because you couldn’t do—once he took off, you couldn’t slow it down. And it’d be smoking, and if you ever got your leg in, you’d be done. We’d just—we’d coil it up just right and set it down. And then you’d be holding the line, you’d feel him, and then you’d get away from it.
217
00:26:41.9
TH: Oh, so you’d jerk with your hands to get it hooked?
218
00:26:44.6
RH: Yeah.
219
00:26:45.3
TH: And then you—my goodness. You don’t have any pictures of any of that?
220
00:26:50.0
RH: No, sir, I don’t.
221
00:26:51.2
TH: That is something else. Any other stories like that? Like other kinds of fishing that you did off Palm Beach and Jupiter?
222
00:27:1.1
RH: Yeah.
223
00:27:4.5
TH: Did you ever marlin—catch any marlin or—
224
00:27:7.1
RH: Yeah, but they’ll kill me if I told you.
225
00:27:11.0
TH: I don’t think so. I think—that was a long time ago.
226
00:27:16.8
RH: Yeah, well, back them days, we had a drift net. When I went offshore to Salerno one day, and there was a bar, you know. Like, I said, “Man!” So I run my drift down—net out that night, right?
227
00:27:33.0
TH: Mmm-hm.
228
00:27:33.6
RH: And I never once put one there before, so I let it sit four or five hours. And when I went back to that, I must’ve had a hundred marlin in that net. I said, “I ain’t never doing this again.” I tell everybody, “Don’t tell nobody.” I never caught so many marlin. I couldn’t believe that. I said, “What in the world are they doing down here like that?” I didn’t go back. Not down there.
229
00:28:2.7
TH: Now, and that was where?
230
00:28:4.0
RH: That was straight off Salerno Inlet.
231
00:28:6.3
TH: About—
232
00:28:7.2
RH: Yeah, there’s a lump way offshore.
233
00:28:9.5
TH: About what year?
234
00:28:10.3
RH: Oh, that would’ve been in, I guess ’77, I guess.
235
00:28:17.2
TH: Oh, that’s late. So, you came to Fort Pierce in the ’70s, and you got—you were always—
236
00:28:23.5
RH: I fished—we fished up here every year. That’s why we moved up here. So let me tell you about that. My uncle—see, back then, a boat from Salerno couldn’t go to Palm Beach. And that was mostly all Swedes back in those days.
237
00:28:39.1
TH: In Palm Beach?
238
00:28:40.1
RH: No, in Salerno.
239
00:28:41.4
TH: Salerno.
240
00:28:41.9
RH: They were all Swedish. Well, then, you know the Petersons, and the Gunnersons, and all them?
241
00:28:49.6
TH: I don’t know them, but go ahead.
242
00:28:51.2
RH: Okay. Yeah, but anyway, a Salerno boat couldn’t go to Fort Pierce. Palm Beach boats couldn’t go to Fort Pierce. Fort Pierce boats couldn’t come down here and fish, either. Everybody kept their thing. But my uncle, one time, he caught fish off of Fort Pierce Inlet, right? He said, “I am not taking these things back. It’s too far.” So he went in. They said, “You better not go in there.” [He] said, “I’m going.” So he went in. And he threw the fish on—he asked a guy, “Would you buy them?” “Sure.” So he threw them on the dock—
243
00:29:28.2
TH: Which fish house?
244
00:29:29.6
RH: At Hudgins. He threw them on the dock, right? They threw them back in the boat. He threw them on the dock. And he jumped on the dock, and they threw him back in the boat. So he left, but then—
245
00:29:45.6
TH: What year was this, approximately?
246
00:29:47.9
RH: Oh, boy. Probably—
247
00:29:50.5
TH: Time period?
248
00:29:51.1
RH: You see, I was just a kid, so that would be ’33, ’43. About ’46, something like that. Yeah, they couldn’t—oh, you couldn’t go another place and fish. Now, who helped—do you know who started it where we could? Terrell Hayes and Edson Arnold. They wanted to come to Palm Beach because we’d kill them all the time in the winter. But they would—
249
00:30:17.1
TH: Kill the fish?
250
00:30:19.7
RH: Mackerel.
251
00:30:20.9
TH: Yeah.
252
00:30:21.4
RH: Yeah, mackerel and bluefish. So they finally got together, they said, Let’s just go—you come here and we’ll go there. So that’s what started it. So Terrell Hayes and George—Edson Arnold.
253
00:30:35.6
TH: Well, Terrell Hayes and Edson Arnold also were in the co-op.
254
00:30:40.2
RH: Yeah.
255
00:30:41.1
TH: At the cape.
256
00:30:41.9
RH: Right.
257
00:30:42.5
TH: And they had some other fishermen from Palm Beach and from, I guess, up around Sebastian. {{{00:30:51.1}}}
258
00:31:12.1
TH: That would be Terrell Hayes and Edson Arnold?
259
00:31:15.0
RH: Edson Arnold. And back them days, the shrimp boats were just little old boats. They’d drag any kind of little old thing and just fill the boats up with shrimp. It wasn’t nothing for the shrimp to be as tall as a man and a fish house on the floor.
260
00:31:28.9
TH: You mean piles of shrimp as high as a man? That’s up—where did they catch shrimp now? I heard at the cape.
261
00:31:37.5
RH: Right there at the cape, right along the beach. Anywhere. Anywhere, them little old boats—they would load them boats with shrimp.
262
00:31:45.4
TH: They would drag for them like a miniature—
263
00:31:48.6
RH: Yeah.
264
00:31:49.1
TH: Drag like the big shrimp boats today? These were smaller boats?
265
00:31:53.1
RH: And they would catch more shrimp then than these big 80-footers will catch now.
266
00:31:59.8
TH: Offshore?
267
00:32:0.9
RH: Yeah.
268
00:32:1.4
TH: Wow. So—
269
00:32:3.9
RH: And kingfish, you probably ain’t going to want to hear this, but kingfish—I was fishing up to the cape—let’s see, I                (??) Ray Allen. That was back in—Ray Allen was 16, and he’s 60, so 50 years ago. About 50 years ago, I was looking for mackerel one day, you know.
270
00:32:30.8
TH: At Cape Canaveral?
271
00:32:31.5
RH: At the cape. And I’m riding around, riding around. I said, “Man”—
272
00:32:36.4
TH: At night?
273
00:32:37.3
RH: In the daytime.
274
00:32:38.3
TH: How do you look for mackerel?
275
00:32:39.9
RH: Just look and see the color of them, like you see a bed of mullet or anything swimming ahead of the boat. And I was looking. I said, “Man, look at that bunch of mackerel.” I said, “Y’all get ready.”
276
00:32:51.2
TH: You looked for birds?
277
00:32:52.7
RH: No, just look. Birds are a good sign that’ll make you go look. But you just—wherever you feel like it’s good area, you’d go there. Well, at the cape, they got little _______(??) of shallow coming out from the cape. I would run down one, then I’d go off and run down—that’s where the fish liked to lay, in the slew. Well, I looked, and I said, “Man, look at that bunch of mackerel.” I told them, I said, “Get ready.” And I let go and I come out like that, and that big old ______(??) went right out and into the boat. And I said, “Oh, man, we got them.” So we pull them down. I had—
278
00:33:30.3
TH: When you say, “Pull them down,” explain—{{{00:33:31.7}}}
279
00:33:35.5
TH: Like a seine?
280
00:33:37.1
RH: Yeah. But it’s a gill net. You just—it’s got—I’ve got rings in it, like, a ring every 50 yards. And when you set the net, the rope goes out with it, and then you just pull that rope, and it pulls the net in like this.
281
00:33:54.7
TH: Is that—are the rings at the bottom of the net, or—
282
00:33:57.9
RH: No, top—at the top. Yeah, and it just pulls them there together. By the time it gets in, it’s like this.
283
00:34:4.4
TH: Oh, it’s like that. Like, yeah—
284
00:34:7.8
RH: Like a flower.
285
00:34:9.7
TH: Okay. With petals sticking out?
286
00:34:12.0
RH: Yeah, like this. Uh-huh. And I looked down, and I said, “Whoa!” It was kingfish. It wasn’t mackerel. On that 10 feet of water back then. That’s—I said, “Look at this!” And so we had 12,000 kingfish there. I said, “Holy mackerel.” Now, back then—
287
00:34:34.1
TH: About what year was that?
288
00:34:36.0
RH: Oh, boy. That was—would be in—well, 50 years ago. It’d be 50 years ago. What would that be?
289
00:34:46.6
TH: Well, 20, 30, 70—’60s or ’70s. Seventies.
290
00:34:53.5
RH: Sixties, yeah.
291
00:34:54.6
TH: Mid-sixties or ’70s. Were you living in Fort Pierce?
292
00:34:58.4
RH: No—yeah—no, I was living in Palm Beach then.
293
00:35:1.5
TH: So that was probably—you came up here in seventy—
294
00:35:3.8
RH: Seventy-six. So it was probably in the ’60s, yeah.
295
00:35:6.5
TH: Okay.
296
00:35:7.5
RH: But the next day, I run—I went back out there. Man, I said, “Man, I can’t believe it.” I went out there [and] you should’ve seen that.
297
00:35:16.2
TH: So, you had how many pounds? You said—{{{00:35:18.2}}}
298
00:36:2.0
TH: The troll boats? Did they have a troll boat fleet then?
299
00:36:5.3
RH: Not like they do now, nothing like it. One or two boats, yeah. Or something. Yeah.
300
00:36:10.3
TH: This is the 1960s?
301
00:36:11.8
RH: Yeah.
302
00:36:13.1
TH: At the cape?
303
00:36:14.4
RH: Yeah, at the cape, but—
304
00:36:15.7
TH: So how long was your net?
305
00:36:18.0
RH: Then? Six hundred yards.
306
00:36:21.3
TH: Six hundred? That’s a long net.
307
00:36:23.3
RH: Yeah. Well, my drift nets was 3,000 yards. But that wasn’t no good. I told them, I said, “We’re going to have to stop this. It’s costing too—causing too much trouble.” And even when we went to meetings, I said, “Y’all are—you’re causing too much,” I said—I even got up, and I said, “I feel like we should give the kingfish to the king fishermen, and let’s catch mackerel with nets.” Well, naturally, four or five says, Why are you doing that? I said, “Because that is their living, and if we catch a lot of them, it cuts the price. They’ll catch two or three hundred. We’ll catch 10,000. Well, if they’re only 50 cents a pound, we’ve done good. But if they’re 50 cents a pound, they only got a few hundred.” I said, “We need to stop catching kingfish with mackerel, with the net.”
308
00:37:19.1
TH: This would probably be the 1970s.
309
00:37:21.9
RH: Yeah, that would be the ’70s then.
310
00:37:23.9
TH: When the OFF [Organized Fishermen of Florida] and Concerned Fishermen of Florida’s fishing—
311
00:37:30.4
RH: Yeah. Yeah, because I went to the meeting. I told them, I said, “We’re going to try to.” But we had some—you know how some people are. Just like that lady, we called her the “turtle lady.” She started, she says, “Y’all are catching too many turtles. We’re going to move you offshore three miles.” I said, “Now, you know,” I said—and one guy got up there, a sport guy, he said, “How many turtles do these fishermen catch?” She said, “We’ve got a record they caught five last year.” He said, “They caught five turtles out of that whole fleet, and you’re going to put them out of business for that?” So he says, “I have got a 50-foot yacht. I kill that many every day”—and she said—“You know, it’s just, I run over them. I can’t help it.” And she said, “Well, we can’t stop you, but we can stop them.”
312
00:38:30.0
And I remember getting up there, and I told her, I says, “Lady, you are not after these turtles. You want to put us out, and I know you do.” And I said to the—I said, “I want to tell you what the Bible said.” This is what I said at the meeting, I said, “The Bible said, ‘Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever you sow, you’re going to reap.’” And then they broke for lunch, right? Well, I was standing out in the hall, and all these commissioners come to me. They said, Sir. I said, “Yeah?” They say, We just want you to know it ain’t us, okay?
313
00:39:7.6
TH: You scared her.
314
00:39:9.8
RH: But that’s all she wanted. She was just mad. And she end up losing her job and everything, just like I said. She lost it. But that was another thing. But—
315
00:39:21.1
TH: That was a tough period. That was a period when the nets and the hand-liners were—
316
00:39:29.1
RH: Oh yeah, fighting. And that’s the reason I said, “It’s causing too much trouble. We can survive with mackerel. Let them have the kingfish.” That’s what I told them. Let me see. Oh, I wanted to say, about—what was up to—well, let’s see, I talked about the submarines and the boat steering. And back in—there was no inlet, and rattle—I want to talk about the rattlesnakes at the cape. I have never—if you just wanted to walk over to the ocean, you could kill two rattlesnakes every day on the way.
317
00:40:8.0
TH: Now, walking from where to the ocean?
318
00:40:11.7
RH: Like, when you come in the inlet, the fish house was—
319
00:40:15.4
TH: That doesn’t work. You have to describe it orally.
320
00:40:17.4
RH: Okay, when you come—the inlet—we come in the pass, they’d call it. It wasn’t quite an inlet. We’d come in, and we’d go to the fish house. If you wanted to walk over the land to go to the beach, you could kill rattlesnakes on the way. And mosquitoes were so bad that we had screens in our boats. And you had to go in that cabin before dark, and if you had one little, tiny hole in that screen, you were ruined. Your screens would turn black. And I don’t know how many—back in—that was when they said mosquitoes was killing cows up there. That’s how bad the mosquitoes was. I never—
321
00:41:0.6
TH: Approximately what year would this be?
322
00:41:2.4
RH: That would’ve been in ’49, yeah.
323
00:41:6.0
TH: Okay. I’m going to show you a picture. I’ve only been to the cape once, and we walked from the parking lot out over to the beach. And I don’t know if you can see that picture. That was—we were coming back from the beach, and this huge rattlesnake was right there on the path. And that’s my only, one time at the cape.
324
00:41:28.5
RH: Really?
325
00:41:29.5
TH: This is about—I think it was 2015 or ’16. And it was huge. I took that picture on top—
326
00:41:39.2
RH: So they’re still there?
327
00:41:40.5
TH: One is, anyway.
328
00:41:44.6
RH: I ain’t never—I’ve never seen so much rattlesnakes, and then that—
329
00:41:48.8
TH: That’s the first rattlesnake I’d ever seen in my life.
330
00:41:51.2
RH: Really?
331
00:41:51.8
TH: Out in the wild.
332
00:41:52.9
RH: Well, my daddy and I, we was going fishing this one day out the cape. We’d come out, I was going right down the shore, and out there—right when we got to the point, as we went around the point, there was a horseback rider coming from that way. Well, there was a deer standing in the edge of the water. Well, evidently, the horseback rider scared him, and me too. Well, instead of him running on the beach, he took off. Man, he was going hard as he could go, headed northeast for Bermuda. He—
333
00:42:23.9
TH: Oh, he took off into the water?
334
00:42:25.6
RH: Yeah, he was way off—I said—I told Daddy, I said, “He’s going to drown, Daddy. We got to get him back to the beach. He’s confused.” So I took a rope, the anchor rope, made a lasso, and I threw it over his antlers and pulled it down. And we got him in the stern. Well, we tried to pull him up in the boat. He drowned his own self. He held his head underwater till he drowned. And we pulled him up in the boat. But somebody told me, they said, “Well, if you had got him in the boat, he would’ve owned that boat. You’d’ve got off of it.” I didn’t know that. I thought they was like a pet. I was about to go pull him on the boat and pet him. I didn’t know they were dangerous.
335
00:43:7.6
TH: So the wildlife was pretty thick up at the cape? Cape Canaveral. {{{00:43:11.6}}}
336
00:43:21.0
TH: I’ve heard people—the Stellars?
337
00:43:23.1
RH: Yeah, well, we was riding—I had the deer laying in the back. And we was riding, and this— Francis Stellar come by. I told him, I says, “Come here. Let me show you what I got.” He looked at me, he said, “Where’d you get that?” I said, “I lassoed him.” And he grabbed a butcher knife and jumped in the boat. I said, “What are you doing?” He went back there, and he cut his—I said, “You—what? He’s dead.” “No,” he says, “You’ve got to bleed him as soon as he dies. We’re going to eat him.” I said, “What!?” I was feeling sorry for the deer, and all they wanted—they was going to eat that deer. And they took him and ate him.
338
00:44:2.5
TH: My goodness. And that was where the mud was. Now can you—you were telling me, before we turned the recorder on, about the mud, when you went up to the cape.
339
00:44:14.7
RH: Oh, yeah. When they first dug it, the whole thing was mud, no matter what. You know where they dug down in, to go through into the intracoastal? Well, they just pumped all that up as they dug. Well, the mud was so thick, it was about knee deep. We parked a boat, like, here, and that’s where you go through.
340
00:44:36.7
TH: You parked the boat, and you had to walk to your car or truck?
341
00:44:40.1
RH: Yeah, about a half a mile. The road was out here about—and we had to carry a bucket of water with us to wash all the mud off so we could get in the car. There was nowhere to park anywhere. And right along that little canal, back there where they dug it, is where we had our nets. And there was eight foot of tide. Whenever the tide went down, if you had your boat to the ropes too tight, it would snap all the lines. Eight feet would go up and down. That’s how much tide it was there. You had to be careful how you tied it.
342
00:45:16.0
TH: Interesting. I didn’t—I never knew there were that big of tides in Florida.
343
00:45:22.3
RH: Yeah, I know it. But it did—later on, it didn’t seem to be so bad anymore. I don’t know why. But, well, I think after they—once it went through, it went up and down. But, see, the Cocoa [Beach] and all of them is lower than the sea level. And when they cut through, the ocean just filled it up, so they had to hurry up and close it. That’s why you got the locks. You can let boats through, then they close it. They can’t leave it open because, on high tide, they would flood Cocoa.
344
00:45:56.0
TH: Interesting. Very interesting. How has fishing changed during your lifetime on the water?
345
00:46:4.1
RH: Just—for one thing, it’s so many, but see, we didn’t have no kind of electronics. If you found a place, you had to look on the shore and mark yourself with things on land. Where, now, if they go and you catch a fish, you look at the meter, and it tells you where you’re at. When you go home, you come back to that same place, and then somebody else will see you, so he gets a marking. It’s just thousands of boats all the time, coming and going. And that’s for snapper and grouper—I’m talking about.
346
00:46:45.0
But now, mackerel is—mackerel used to go to Miami by the billions. We always went down there and caught them [in] what they call as Hawk’s Channel. Instead of going out around to go to Key West, we would go down Hawk’s Channel. It was the—inside the reef. Well, the mackerel would get in there by the millions, okay. But then the airplanes started flying for us. He said, “Come on, we’ve got them right down here.” All the boats would take off. Within five miles, he would have to say, “Slow down. You’re busting the fish up.” They could feel us coming. So we had to idle to the fish or they would spread out. You’d never catch them.
347
00:47:33.1
So—and now, there’s 50-footers running up and down that channel by the thousands, so no mackerel goes to Miami anymore. You will—the only way that you’ll catch a mackerel— sometimes they’ll go up in Biscayne Bay, way up in that little place. I hear they’re catching a few. But we’ve caught millions of mackerel in that channel, and they don’t go there anymore because of the boats all the time.
348
00:48:0.9
TH: Do you believe mackerel are still somewhere else?
349
00:48:3.9
RH: Yeah. Oh yeah.
350
00:48:5.3
TH: Or do you think that they caught all the big schools?
351
00:48:6.2
RH: Yeah. No, they just—they’re fine at their—for some reason or another, I mean, we can’t, we’re not catching them now because we don’t have no—we’re not catching them because they’re catching them with a pole or cast net now.
352
00:48:19.0
TH: You can’t catch them with nets in Florida waters anymore?
353
00:48:22.2
RH: No, yeah. But for some reason or another, the little mackerel ain’t coming. I mean, okay, they only come down here to spawn. That’s the only reason they come down.
354
00:48:35.2
TH: Come down to where?
355
00:48:36.6
RH: Spawn—to Florida.
356
00:48:38.0
TH: Where are they the rest of the year?
357
00:48:40.6
RH: Up in Carolinas and Virginia. And I’ve been, too. They’re scattered all over. Then they come down here to spawn. Well, when they come down, for some reason or another, every year, we’re not getting a big enough spawn. Years ago, you could set a bunch of mackerel, and when you’d close it, they would be black. They’d go right on through the net and keep right on going. They were so little. We don’t have them anymore. So they’re evidently—they’re going somewhere else to spawn, and it’s getting worse and worse. And that’s what I think—
358
00:49:16.3
TH: You mean there’s fewer and fewer mackerel.
359
00:49:19.4
RH: But no, it can’t be fewer, because they’re having the babies by the millions. They just start—like, right now, with this red tide, I’m hoping they come this year because they’re going to—they’re going to go where their babies are not bothered when they have them, you know. And I don’t know. That red tide scares me.
360
00:49:43.4
TH: Me too.
361
00:49:44.9
RH: That green stuff—that doesn’t bother me. Not for that because that’ll come and go, but the red tide bothers me.
362
00:49:53.2
TH: Have you seen red tide in your lifetime ever before on the beach like this?
363
00:49:57.4
RH: Uh-uh. No. Never. Now, at the west coast, they have it all the time, you know, off and off [sic]. They’re thinking that it comes out of Tampa Bay. I talked to the _________(??) a couple of days ago over there, and they’ve got it over there bad too. They said that it seems like it always starts around Tampa Bay and goes with the tide, one way or another. And this mullet—oh, by the millions. It just kills the mullet.
364
00:50:27.8
TH: So it goes with the tide. Now, help me out here. The water in the Gulf of Mexico flows south around Florida, am I correct?
365
00:50:40.8
RH: Yeah, well, see, here’s how it is in the gulf. In the gulf, you have—it’s almost like an inlet. You’ve got six hours of tide going to the south—to the northwest. It’ll stop and come back six hours going to the southeast. It’s just like an inlet, more or less, it’s not like the Gulf Stream. It’s not like—in other words, if you get a north wind over here, you’ve got a south tide.
366
00:51:8.6
If you get a north wind over there, it don’t change the tide. Because it’s in a turn basin. You know how the gulf is. Your Gulf Stream stays out here. It don’t go up in here. So whenever it—like, sometimes, we would set our nets, and we had to make sure—like, if—when we set a bunch of fish, we had to make sure our end is down-tide to keep the boat out of the net. Well, if it’s— like, we’ve got three hours till it changes, then we have to put our net in the middle, which it’s hard to explain that. But it’s a—tide goes southeast and northwest in the gulf.
367
00:51:54.5
TH: Gulf of—did you fish much in the gulf?
368
00:51:56.4
RH: Yeah, we fished over there a lot. Yeah.
369
00:51:59.0
TH: You’d take your boats around or through the—
370
00:52:2.6
RH: No, I go through Saint—to the locks, come out at Fort Myers, over there.
371
00:52:7.3
TH: Okay. But what I was leading up to is the—through the Florida Straits, between Cuba and the south end of Florida, there’s a tide. And that connects into the Gulf Stream.
372
00:52:26.3
RH: Yeah.
373
00:52:27.5
TH: So—waters from the Gulf of Mexico, am I correct?
374
00:52:32.5
RH: Yeah.
375
00:52:33.2
TH: Flow through the Straits of Florida, and then back up the east coast.
376
00:52:36.3
RH: Uh-huh. A lot of times, we have fish who will come around instead of going back. If the weather catches them just right, they’ll come up this side of the coast.
377
00:52:45.0
TH: Okay, so the red tide could be coming from Tampa.
378
00:52:50.2
RH: Oh yeah. Yeah. It could get offshore and get in the tide. Oh yeah.
379
00:52:56.5
TH: And that’s—a lot of people think that that oil spill a few years ago brought oil over to the east coast.
380
00:53:3.2
RH: Yeah.
381
00:53:3.8
TH: You’ve heard that? Or do you—?
382
00:53:5.1
RH: Yeah, yeah. Because they found some fish in Jupiter [Inlet] that had oil in it, I think, one time. Yeah.
383
00:53:11.0
TH: Okay.
384
00:53:11.7
RH: That’s what they said.
385
00:53:12.9
TH: All right. We’ve covered a lot of things. Where are you in your notes, there?
386
00:53:17.8
RH: Uh, let me just see.
387
00:53:19.2
TH: So you think, basically, fish have been targeted by more boats and more people?
388
00:53:27.4
RH: Yeah.
389
00:53:28.1
TH: It’s just—there’s just way more people than there were when you first started fishing.
390
00:53:31.9
RH: Especially anchor. I mean, like, the snapper and grouper stuff and kingfish.
391
00:53:36.6
TH: On the reefs?
392
00:53:37.1
RH: Yeah, reef. Yeah.
393
00:53:38.4
TH: The reefs have—
394
00:53:39.0
RH: The reefs, yeah.
395
00:53:39.8
TH:—been fished out pretty much.
396
00:53:41.3
RH: Now, I just want to tell you about—I had the—when I was at—you told me you want me to tell you about some things. Well, when I was at the cape, I had bought this Prowler. You know, Prowler, what it is. The boat? What’s his name? Hale had one.
397
00:53:57.8
TH: Tommy McHale?
398
00:53:59.7
RH: Yeah, I think that was—yeah. He had—it was a Prowler. Well, I had one built in Miami.
399
00:54:6.9
TH: The Zora?
400
00:54:7.8
RH: His was Zora and mine was called the Four G’s. Well, I had mine built, and I made it into a net boat. Well, it cost me quite a bit of money, and I was paying for it, and I was catching fish and paying a half. Whatever I caught, they would half of it—they took half.
401
00:54:28.0
TH: Who’s they?
402
00:54:28.9
RH: Hudgins Fish Company. So I was at the cape this one night, right? And nobody went out but me. I went out and I caught—I had like 13,000 mackerel, and I come in. Well, then everybody went the next night and followed me, and that’s where I went. So I went up there, and I made a set right off of Titusville. And I made a set—the only boat—and I pulled it down, and I said, “Man, this is—I’m putting too much fish on this boat. What in the world?”
403
00:55:4.3
And I said, “If I only I could give some of it away.” But I didn’t want to leave my net, you know. I said, “So—well, maybe we’ll make it. Let’s try it.” Because the wind was out of the west, the southwest. And it was blowing about 25 out of southwest, but I was right along the beach. So I pulled—I got it on the boat, and I started home. Well, my son and my two nephews was fishing with me. And I told them, I said, “We are out of debt. This is it. We’re finally out of debt.”
404
00:55:40.0
TH: If we can just get back to the dock.
405
00:55:42.3
RH: When I come around the pass, when I turn like that and I run into that 30-mile southwest wind from the cape, you’re talking about rough—okay, well, now I had a dead sea coming out of the southeast.
406
00:55:57.4
TH: A “dead sea” being?
407
00:55:58.9
RH: You know, like the swells coming, breaking? But the main wind was out of here. Well, I had—
408
00:56:4.9
TH: Out of here being the?
409
00:56:6.3
RH: Gulf or the pass—the inlet. Because I come around the cape, you know, like this here. And now, naturally, I turned right ahead on. Well, I couldn’t—if I went this way, this sea piled over me.
410
00:56:18.0
TH: If you went—
411
00:56:18.6
RH: And if I went that way, that one piled up. And my son and them was in the back with a five-gallon bucket, bailing. Pretty soon, I looked back there, and they were swimming. I mean, that boat, it went down. I sunk so fast, right? I had a Bimini top on my boat. Well, when I sunk, I got caught in the Bimini top with 20,000 pounds of fish on the boat, at least that much. Well, I went to the bottom. Well, my kid—my son and them, they just swimming out, you know. All right, well, then—
412
00:56:54.1
TH: Now, where was it that you sank? In the mouth of the—
413
00:56:57.6
RH: No, offshore, just when I come around the point.
414
00:57:1.2
TH: The point of the—
415
00:57:2.8
RH: Of the cape. I was eight miles from this way, and about three miles from this way.
416
00:57:8.1
TH: Eight miles from?
417
00:57:9.7
RH: From the beach, either way. I was eight miles from the inlet and three miles from the beach. Blowing 30 miles an hour out of the southwest, okay. But anyway, when I went down, I got caught. So I got out from underneath the Bimini, and I had boots, oilers all on, naturally. And I swam and swam, and then I started up. Well, when I came up, I come up under the net.
418
00:57:35.0
TH: Oh!
419
00:57:35.6
RH: The corks was over my head, and I was feeling everywhere. I knew that was it. I said, “Oh, my God.” So I tried one more time. I went down. It was nighttime. I went down, went down. I said, “I’ve got to have air,” and I started up. But when I came up, I breathed air and water at the same time. And I could hear my son, and them, “Daddy!” They were swimming everywhere looking for me. And when I came up, they—the corks above, in my nose, that’s how close I was from almost drowning. Okay, now, here we are, hanging on the net, right? Then the sharks come and start eating the net. Okay, we’re holding on the corks. You can feel the sharks eating underneath your feet, right?
420
00:58:25.1
TH: Now, this is in the dark?
421
00:58:27.0
RH: Yeah.
422
00:58:27.7
TH: And you’re how far offshore?
423
00:58:29.2
RH: About three miles one way and eight miles the other way. And then—_______(??) says, “Daddy! They’re—sharks is eating the net! We’ve got to go.” I said, “Where are we going? We can’t swim three miles as rough as this is.” And we didn’t, because it was coming towards us. I said, “Lord, what in the world?” Well, under that 20,000 pounds of fish, I had an eight-foot Styrofoam box, right? I told my son, I said, “This is how things work now.” I said, “Son, if we had something to hold onto, we’d make it. But if we don’t, we’re going to drown.” That box came up, whoosh, right over there.
424
00:59:11.3
TH: Right over you? You’re pointing. How far from you?
425
00:59:14.2
RH: About 100 yards. Whoosh. I said, “Hey, look!” So we all swam and climbed on the box and started kicking our feet trying to get the boat to go ashore.
426
00:59:26.0
TH: The box to go to shore?
427
00:59:27.2
RH: Yeah, to float on that box. Glenn Black just happened to be the last boat coming, and daylight was clearing then. And he’d seen an oil slick. He said, “I wonder what that is.” So he—pretty soon, he’s seen us. And it was so rough when he slowed down and throwed her out of gear, we rolled in his boat with the wave. But now, let me just tell you how God works, okay. When my boat sank, I lost everything. I had—my wallet was in the boat. I took it out because I couldn’t hardly sit on it. I hated it.
428
01:00:6.2
So I was sitting in the hatch, right? It was in the boat at the bottom. I’m sitting up here, I said, “Lord, why would you let this happen to me? I know I’m faithful. I pay you 10 percent of everything,” you know, you—for church. You always ask God. Whenever something happens, you start telling him how good you are. But anyway, I look and I said, “Hey, my wallet.” It was in the cork line. I said, “Where that—look.” I grabbed my wallet. I said, “I can’t believe it.” I should’ve known right then that God was on my side. Anyway, I shoved it in my pocket and we went in with Glenn. We got in, and then the next day, we got—the insurance man comes, and he said, “I’ve got to see the boat.”
429
01:00:57.0
RH: So I took him and that guy, Rolly(??), they call him, a salvage man. We went out there. The insurance man says, “Where is it?” And I looked. You could just see the—I had one of the big antennas, before they came out with them little whips, one of the big ones. And about that much of it, every now and then you could see it—
430
01:01:22.1
TH: You say it’s showing three inches?
431
01:01:23.8
RH: Yeah, about three or four inches when a wave would go by. I said, “It’s right there.” Well, this guy asked him, “Would you go down and see if the boat’s any good?” This is the salvage man. He goes down. When he comes back up, “Help me up! Help me up! Quick! I’ve never seen that much sharks in my life.” And we helped him in the boat, right? And the insurance man said, “Did you see the boat?” “Yeah.” He said, “Man, that’s a total wreck.” He said, “That is no more good.” Now, you know, ain’t nothing wrong with it. It just wouldn’t _____(??) right. He said, “If you don’t believe me, here—go see.” He said, “Are you crazy?” He said, “Would you buy it?” And he said, “I’ll give you $500 for it.” He gave him $500 for a $50,000 boat. He brought it in, right? The shrimp boat come, and they raise it up. He took it in, flushed the motor out of it, and it was gone the next day, flying up and down the river.
432
01:02:30.4
TH: So did you get any insurance money for it?
433
01:02:35.3
RH: Yeah. I only had it insured for $20,000. But I got that $20,000, and a friend of mine—now, this is when they was catching—when the tide of Pinellas—
434
01:02:46.2
TH: Before you go any further, you’re hanging on the corks.
435
01:02:51.3
RH: And sharks was eating it.
436
01:02:53.4
TH: And sharks were banging on your legs?
437
01:02:55.7
RH: On the net—eating the net.
438
01:02:57.4
TH: You could feel them?
439
01:02:58.6
RH: Yeah, under our feet. Yeah.
440
01:03:0.5
TH: And where—at what point did your wallet show up?
441
01:03:3.8
RH: When I was hanging onto the cork line.
442
01:03:6.3
TH: Did you—now, did you get your slicks off? Your slickers off, yet?
443
01:03:9.9
RH: No.
444
01:03:10.8
TH: You were still swimming with your boots and your slick—
445
01:03:13.4
RH: Yeah, everything. And I looked over, and I said, “Lord, why’d you do this to me?”
446
01:03:17.2
TH: But you already had your wallet in your pocket?
447
01:03:20.5
RH: No, it was—I hadn’t found my wallet yet. I was just saying, “Lord, why would you do this?” And when I looked and seen my wallet, that’s when I said, in my mind—now I can say—I should’ve thought God was in control. Where did that wallet come from? It was in the bottom. You know what I’m saying? It was—and I don’t know. But anyway, and that was all the money I had on me: $400. I’ll never forget it. But when I got to the dock, a friend of mine had a boat, like the boat I got now, the Eddie Boy, 50-some feet long. He said, “Junior, I heard you lost your boat.” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “My boat is for sale.” I said, “Man, I can’t afford your boat.” His boat was a $200,000 boat back then. He said, “Junior, I would like for you to have my boat. I love my boat, and I don’t want anybody to just have it.” I said, “I’d like to have it too, but I don’t have it.” He said, “What do you have?” And I told him. He said, “We’ll work it out.” I said, “Really?”
448
01:04:24.2
So, anyway, we could work that part out, and Pinellas Fish Company been wanting me to fish for them for years. He called me, and he said, “Junior, if you’ll lobster fish, I’ll pay for everything.” I said, “I’ve never done it before.” He said, “You can learn.” So he bought—he got me 2,000 crawfish traps, right? And I went down in the Keys and lobster fished that year. And then, when the mackerel started, I had a big boat. So I got everything nice. I charged everything—$72,000 I went in [the] hole. Okay, now—
449
01:05:6.4
TH: And was this before you went to lobster fish?
450
01:05:12.4
RH: No, that was at—the lobster fishing and the boat? Yeah. He only charged me $50,000 for the boat. But I started lobster fishing, and we was catching lobster in Pinellas. Said, “Junior, they’re catching a lot of mackerel. Go do that.” So I come up here. When I got up here, that guy, Buddy Daniels, he had already caught 225,000 pounds of mackerel. And it was only the—almost December—in the middle of November. But I didn’t have any mackerel. Okay, so I went out that Saturday when I got there, and I had 25,000. He had 23 [thousand]. So I was a little bit ahead of him, but he already had 200 [thousand].
451
01:06:1.5
So whenever I got through there, it was on a Saturday. Well, I don’t fish Sunday, right? So he called me. I was in church. The guy comes to me, I happened to be in the office. He said, “A guy by the name of Buddy Daniels wants you.” I said, “What?” So I went—I said, “What’s wrong?” He said, “I’ve caught so much fish, I couldn’t bring all of my net. Could I borrow your boat to go get the rest of my fish?” I said, “Well, I don’t fish Sunday. I guess it won’t hurt to pull you out of trouble.” So I said, “Go ahead.” So he went and got it. Well, he had 50,000 that day. And his 20—he already had 200 [thousand], and then 20 net. He had almost 300,000 to my 200—to my 23, 25 [thousand].
452
01:06:49.2
So just to tell you how things worked, when the season was over—I never fished Sunday at all—I had 960,000, and he had a million. So he only beat me [by] 40,000. But he was way ahead of me. And I don’t fish Sundays. But what I wanted to say was, this is what happened. From me sinking—right—from me sinking and going through all of that trouble, this is what come out of it. I caught the fish—the money—I built a brand new red brick home. Nobody’s ever been—I sat there and watched them build it. I built a red brick, brand new home, 3,300 square feet. I bought a Cadillac that no one ever drove, right off the floor. I bought a truck. And all of this came from sinking. Because I could have never caught those fish with that little boat. So that—that’s just how God works. And if you’re true to him, he works it right, yeah. So I just wanted to tell you a story of how—what God did for me, one time, when I got a hook in my arm. Can I tell it?
453
01:08:6.7
TH: Yeah.
454
01:08:7.0
RH: Okay. Well, I went fishing one day, like we always do—king fishing, and you know the double hooks? Where you hook one in with the other one.
455
01:08:15.6
TH: Oh, you kingfished for a while.
456
01:08:16.8
RH: In the summertime, yeah. I always kingfished.
457
01:08:19.1
TH: You hook-and-line kingfish?
458
01:08:20.3
RH: Uh-huh.
459
01:08:20.7
TH: Okay.
460
01:08:21.1
RH: Well, off of Fort Pierce, me and Billy—I always caught mine, you know, I always liked to go south of the buoy, down there where that old buoy was. Well, anyway, I was kingfishing and I caught a dolphin. You know how them crazy things are. And I pulled him in. Well, he shot up in the air. And you know them double hooks, right?
461
01:08:42.3
TH: You use double hooks and a strip of mullet.
462
01:08:46.4
RH: Mullet. Yeah, well, I had the—the dolphin was on the last hook. But when he went up in the air and come down, the other hook went in my arm. Right here.
463
01:08:58.6
TH: That’s your—showing your forearm.
464
01:09:0.4
RH: Yeah, my forearm. And it went through and come out over here. Like that.
465
01:09:4.3
TH: Right through the meat of the forearm, all the way through, and came out.
466
01:09:7.2
RH: On the other side. Look. And that fish was going crazy. So I hugged him, like this. And he was shaking me. He wanted to go, and I couldn’t—and nobody was on the boat but me. I said, “What in the world am I going to do?” And I looked at that hook, and I said—you know, you can’t get that hook out. You ain’t supposed to. I looked over there, and I went—and I done like that, and the hook fell out.
467
01:09:32.5
TH: Done like what?
468
01:09:33.5
RH: I just barely touched it, and the hook came out. And I let him go. He flew all over the boat with a hook in his mouth. But I still had that hook through my arm.
469
01:09:43.4
TH: So he got—you got the hooks separated?
470
01:09:47.0
RH: Yeah, when I flipped the hook, it come out. You know how you snap them in?
471
01:09:51.2
TH: How you—one goes through the eye of the other hook.
472
01:09:54.5
RH: Yeah. Yeah.
473
01:09:54.7
TH: And it came out of the eye?
474
01:09:56.2
RH: Yeah, when I flipped it, I said, “The only thing I could do here—I wonder if it would come out?” And when I done like that, it fell out. So I let him go. He was going crazy with the hook in his mouth. And my—the other hook was through my arm. Well, Billy Baird, he was right—I said, “Billy, I’ve got a hook in my arm. I think I might have to go in.” He said, “All right, I’ll follow you to make sure you’re okay.” I said, “Man, I’m getting dizzy.” Because it—
475
01:10:23.7
TH: It was bleeding.
476
01:10:24.5
RH: Yeah. So anyway, I made it in, and he took me to the emergency room. This is how God works. Here I am, sitting in the emergency room, a hook all the way through my arm, a number-nine hook. It was stuck in my arm. I’m sitting there. This lady in the next bed, she was crying. I said, “Honey, what’s wrong?” She says, “My husband’s got cancer, and he’s dying.” I said, “Oh, my goodness. Honey, is he ready to meet the Lord if he dies?” She said, “He won’t talk to anybody about the Lord, and he won’t let anybody talk to him about the Lord.” I said, “Holy mackerel.”
477
01:11:6.5
So I’m sitting there on the side of the bed. I said, “I’ve got to do something.” I told the Lord, “Now I know why I’m here.” So I slid off the bed, and I went over there. And I said, “Hey, man.” And he said, “Oh, man!” He’d seen the hook, “What!?” I said, “Yeah, it’s bad. How are you?” He said, “Not too good.” And I talked to him. I said, “You—is everything okay? Would you like to pray?” “No, I don’t do that.” I said, “But the Lord loves you. He wants you to be with him if you’re”—and he just said—he just listened. He said, “Wait a minute.” And I said, “Yeah?” He said, “You’re sitting here with a hook all the way through your arm, and you’re over here worrying about me?” I told him, I said, “Well, let me tell you something. This hook is in my arm for you.” He said, “You think God would love me that much?” And I said—and he started crying. I said, “Got him.”
478
01:12:10.2
So I told him, I said, “Let’s me and you pray.” Right? Okay, well, his wife was there and his daughter. When I started praying for him, they started—so he got saved, she got saved, and the daughter. And when he died, they kept coming to church, serving the Lord. So I know—and no, that ain’t all. Let me tell you something. Now, right after it done me—uh, what’s that McManus guy? The little guy? Not Mike.
479
01:12:45.7
TH: Brant? Brant McManus.
480
01:12:47.8
RH: Brant. He got one in his arm. Same thing, same place. About two weeks after that. Well, just the other day, I seen him. I said, “Hey, bud. How are you doing? How’s your arm?” He pulled that up, and man, it was all bulged out. Man, that looked terrible. I said, “Holy mackerel.” He said, “Well, you had the same thing.” I said, “I know, and the doctor told me”—because he had to pull the muscle out when he—he said, “You’re not going to be able to use your arm for a long time. But I went fishing the next day. I got up the next morning. I said, “My arm don’t hurt.” I went fishing and had a couple of hundred kingfish. But anyway, he said, “Ain’t your arm the same way?” I said, “Look here. It went in here somewhere, I don’t know, and come out over here.”
481
01:13:37.4
TH: There. A little spot. That’s about it.
482
01:13:40.8
RH: And his is big, I said, “Holy”—
483
01:13:44.9
TH: When did you see him? Recently?
484
01:13:47.2
RH: Yeah. Yeah, he said, “Yeah, mine looks terrible.” But I’m just saying—
485
01:13:53.3
TH: About what year did that happen?
486
01:13:54.8
RH: That was probably about seven years ago. Yeah.
487
01:13:59.6
TH: You were kingfishing—that’s right you were kingfishing back then. I remember it.
488
01:14:3.2
RH: Yeah, yeah.
489
01:14:4.2
TH: I fished next to you a few times.
490
01:14:6.0
RH: Yeah, a lot of times. I always liked that—remember that old buoy or something floating south of the 12? I always went down there and I caught them around that buoy sometime. Yeah.
491
01:14:17.8
TH: Huh.
492
01:14:18.6
RH: Yeah. Billy, he got that from coming down there with me all the time.
493
01:14:23.7
TH: Billy Baird’s a good fisherman. I interviewed him, I think, last—two weeks ago.
494
01:14:28.6
RH: Did you?
495
01:14:29.1
TH: Yes, sir.
496
01:14:30.0
RH: I remember one time, too, I was in my boat the other day—I was coming home, right? And I had a load of fish. And the airplane, he was happy that I had them, because he gets 10 percent. So on the way home—[audio interruption]—is that all right? So on the way home, he wanted to scare me, right? I loaded down with my boat, hoping I’m going to make it in—
497
01:14:54.2
TH: And we’re going back to mackerel fishing with the airplanes.
498
01:14:57.5
RH: Yeah, mackerel.
499
01:14:58.3
TH: This would probably be before 1992 or ’94 when they would bar the nets.
500
01:15:3.2
RH: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah, that would be in ’70—
501
01:15:8.0
TH: Probably late ’80s or early ’80s?
502
01:15:9.8
RH: No, no. That was—with my little boat, that was probably ’77. But pretty soon, I heard [makes sound]. He wanted to scare me, right? He’d come down like that, come from the back, [makes sound] and it went like that. And my antenna shot ahead of the boat. He hit my antenna. That’s how close he’d come. I call him, I said, “Lord, are you all right?” “Yeah, I scared you, didn’t I?” I said, “Lord, is you—are you playing okay?” He said, “Yeah, what’s wrong?” I said, “You hit my antenna.” “What?” He went and landed. And when he did, on the tail, you could see where it flapped over. That could’ve killed, he could’ve wrecked—slick as a—he said, “I will never do that again.” I said, “I hope so.”
503
01:16:0.6
TH: Explain the—the spotter planes used to spot schools of king mackerel later on or—but first, mackerel.
504
01:16:10.0
RH: Yeah. Mackerel is all we ever did, till later on, they started playing with the kingfish, yeah.
505
01:16:15.0
TH: Okay, fascinating. Okay, fishing methods. We’ve kind of covered most of the fishing methods, your time in the water, how have things changed. You’ve talked about that. Large fish corporations: I don’t think that’s been a factor. Major weather occurrences you’ve experienced. Water, storms, lightning, high wind, seas, waterspouts? Now, your sinking was pretty, pretty harrowing story, right there. Any of those other things? Lightning or high winds that stand out in your mind? Waterspouts?
506
01:16:52.5
RH: Yeah, I always got a lot of waterspouts.
507
01:16:56.1
TH: You ever been hit by one?
508
01:16:57.3
RH: Yeah. That same boat I’m telling you about.
509
01:17:1.0
TH: The one that you sank?
510
01:17:1.9
RH: Yeah. We was off of Palm Beach one time, off of Hobe Sound, fishing—kingfishing. And I looked, and I said, “Man, look at that waterspout.” So we pulled up our lines. Well, it was coming from the northwest, and I was going south. So I kept giving it—and that boat run over 30 miles an hour. And I’d give her speed, give her speed. And it kept coming and coming and coming. I said, “Holy mackerel.” And when it got just about to me, I said, “I’m not going to outrun it.” So I turned, but when I turned, it got about half of my boat. It was like a wall. You could touch it. This started spinning, I said, “Whoa.” And when it hit the side of me, it took all the top of my boat off—everything.
511
01:17:49.3
TH: Your canopy?
512
01:17:50.1
RH: Yeah, it’d go [makes sound]. It was gone. If I’d had kept going, it’d flip my boat. I thought I could outrun it, you know. It looked like it was just coming like that, you know.
513
01:18:0.3
TH: It was coming from the northwest?
514
01:18:2.1
RH: Coming from the northwest, and I was headed south, and I thought I was going to outrun it and let it go over my stern. But it kept coming and coming, and I was doing over 30 miles an hour. I said, “I’m not going to make it.” So I turned like that, and when it turned, it went across my stern. It took everything. Yeah.
515
01:18:22.4
TH: Now, that’s—I’ve never heard of such a thing. Tommy McHale got caught in one.
516
01:18:28.7
RH: Did he?
517
01:18:29.5
TH: And it tore him up pretty bad. George had one hit him—well, he thinks it was that—while he was anchored one night.
518
01:18:36.1
RH: Oh, yeah. You know, I was snapper fishing one day in the Ray Allen off of the Key, probably about 25 miles offshore. And it got to blowing and blowing. I said, “Man.” So I was right there, and this other guy had just bought a boat. And it was his first trip, and he was about three miles south of me, anchored.
519
01:18:58.7
TH: Now, snapper fishing, you anchor at night? Or you anchor—
520
01:19:1.5
RH: Yeah, yeah. So I was anchored there, and I kept talking to him back and forth. My radio was up top in the pilot house. And I said, “You okay?” “Yeah.” I said, “Man, if I could get my anchor up, I think I’d head in.” He said, “Well, I can’t get up on my bow at all.” I said, “Me either.” I don’t know—
521
01:19:22.8
TH: Because the wind was—
522
01:19:23.9
RH: Wind blowing, and rough, way offshore. And I said, “Man, I don’t think I can get my anchor now.” So we just laid there in the wind. Every now [and then], I’d call him. I said, “You okay?” “Yeah.” I ____________(??) blowing; I said, “Lord, that must be blowing 50 miles an hour.” I thought the anchor rope was going to break. I had to go up and wrap it with clothes so it wouldn’t burn it in two. So anyway, the next morning, I looked back there, and the guy was gone. I said, “Well, I would’ve told him if I was leaving.” But seemed to me like he would’ve told me.
523
01:20:1.7
About two weeks went by, and I was sitting in the fish house when this guy walks up. He said, “How are you doing?” I said, “Hey, I ain’t seen you since we went fishing together.” He said, “You didn’t hear, did you?” I said, “About what?” He said, that night, he had just bought the boat. Well, it worked and everything, and they must’ve had it all puttied up. It worked till the planks come loose. And the plank came off, and he sunk. His boat’s still out there on the anchor.
524
01:20:32.9
And him and his son just floated right off the thing with the kingfish box. They crawled up in the kingfish box. Now here I am, right up there and I didn’t know it. I’m mad because he left me. So I said, “How did you get in?” He said, “It was something. The first day, a ship, I just knew he was going to pick me up. He’d come so close that we’d push the ship off with our hand and nobody’s seeing me.” So he drifted another four days, and finally, a ship picked him up and took him into New York from the cape.
525
01:21:10.1
TH: My goodness. What year was this?
526
01:21:12.3
RH: That was in the Ray Allen, so like 50 years ago, whatever year that would be. We was offshore. I said, “Oh my Lord.”
527
01:21:22.4
TH: They were four days—they had no food? Just—
528
01:21:24.2
RH: No, nothing.
529
01:21:25.9
TH: They were just lucky to get into their fish box.
530
01:21:27.9
RH: Yeah, that was completely—yeah, they was doggone. They said when they—he was sitting—he was laying in the bed, and he said, “What was that noise?” And when he done like that, he said water was up to his knees. So him and his son went flying out of the cabin, and down she went. And he’d just bought it. That was his first trip.
531
01:21:46.9
TH: I just—I try and imagine, in your fish box in a storm at night.
532
01:21:53.3
RH: Yeah. He was just—I mean, naturally, it’d roll over and over and over. But you’d still hold on, you know. You know, it’s just Styrofoam, but that’s the best—everybody talking about, We need a life raft. You can’t beat your kingfish box, because that’s Styrofoam.
533
01:22:11.9
TH: You just don’t want any fish in there with you. Huh. Now, that’s quite a story. Okay. Big fish, big catches?
534
01:22:23.7
RH: Yeah, I had—
535
01:22:25.4
TH: Sounds to me like you’ve had quite a few.
536
01:22:28.0
RH: I have. I’ve caught—back in the old days, we could catch sharks. And they was—we was selling the fins and selling the bait. The meat, they would buy them in restaurants and all [over] the world. I just wanted to say, it was—one night, we were running my shark line out, right off of Sebastian, just north of Sebastian Inlet. Well, we went inside and anchored up, I mean, tied up and walked uptown and got something to eat and kill a little time. I came back, and I went out and start picking the line up—
537
01:23:3.1
TH: This is in Sebastian?
538
01:23:4.6
RH: In Sebastian. And the line was down in, maybe, a mile from the beach. Well, when I went to pick it up, it was a ball. I said, “What in the world?” All these hooks was together.
539
01:23:17.7
TH: Now, wait, explain a shark line first.
540
01:23:21.4
RH: Okay. Shark line is a little—what is it, 3/16ths line? And then I got a hook. I had five other hooks on it. And the hooks was only about six feet of monofilament with a hook on the end—with a snap.
541
01:23:39.3
TH: It snapped onto the main line.
542
01:23:41.0
RH: And I just snapped and let it go, yeah.
543
01:23:42.8
TH: And it sat on the bottom?
544
01:23:44.4
RH: Uh-huh.
545
01:23:45.1
TH: Okay.
546
01:23:45.8
RH: So anyway, I would keep pulling. I said, “Man, what in the world have we got here?” And we kept—I said, “Pull it easy. You’re going to break the line.” Well, my roller is 11 feet high—you know, that I pull my net on, right? Well, when I pulled that thing up, I said, “Holy mackerel.” It was a tiger shark. I thought it was a great white, at first. But it was—a great white and a tiger looks almost the same, except for the spots, because they’ve got the fin on the tail, too. You know, it’s not round, it’s got a bone on the tail.
547
01:24:22.5
TH: The tiger shark?
548
01:24:24.4
RH: Tiger and the white. But we pulled him up to the boat, I said, “Lord have mercy. What are we going to do with him?” So finally, I had this hook. I hooked it in his jaw and put it—the roller—the rope on the roller, and I turned it on. I pulled him all the way up to that roller, right?
549
01:24:44.4
TH: Eleven feet high?
550
01:24:46.1
RH: Right. And at least five feet of him was still in the water. I said, “Holy mackerel.” So what I did was I tied a rope around this part and cut—
551
01:24:59.0
TH: About his tail?
552
01:24:59.7
RH: Yeah, and cut him in two. I put that in there, and then I hooked the rope up again to pull the other half in, right? Okay, well, the half with the fin in it, my son sat on the shark. You know, like a cow? And his feet didn’t touch the floor. He spread his own legs around him, like that. That’s how big that shark was. Inside the shark—
553
01:25:27.8
TH: Now, wait a minute. You pulled him up. There were four or five feet left—
554
01:25:32.7
RH: Yeah.
555
01:25:33.5
TH: —hanging over the stern?
556
01:25:35.4
RH: Right. Right. And we cut it in two, pulled that half in, and then throw this rope up there and pull that half in. So now we’ve got him in the boat, right?
557
01:25:44.7
TH: In two pieces?
558
01:25:45.0
RH: Two pieces. Well, the big part—he said, “Look at this.” He sat on the back of it. He said, “Look here, I’ve got me a cow.” And he was sitting on it. That’s how big he was, big around. We cut him open, and what do you think he had in him? He had a shoe, all kinds of bones, and a deer’s head. The whole antler inside his stomach because they wouldn’t dissolve, I guess, you know, in his stomach. But that’s how big his mouth was.
559
01:26:15.9
So I got him all set, and I come to the fish house, and I went in there, and I told the guy, I said, “Look what I’ve got.” “Oh man,” he said, “you could sell that to Sea World.” Right? I said, “Yeah, we’ll I don’t know nothing about it.” He said, “I’ll call them.” So I called them and put it in the cooler, right? I said, “Let me know if they ever come.” They said they wanted it. Okay, well, whenever I come—went down there—I went home; I was at Cocoa [Beach]. I took it back to Cocoa. So when I went home to come back, I said, “Did Sea World”—“Yeah.”  I said, “Did they leave you any money?” “No, was they supposed to?” I said, “I thought they was going to pay you something.” But anyway, if you go to Sea World and you see a big tiger shark, that’s mine.
560
01:27:6.1
TH: Is it there today?
561
01:27:8.4
RH: I don’t know. I don’t know. But it was—the biggest jaws I’ve ever seen in my life. But it had a whole antler, deer head in it and a man’s shoe. I hope it didn’t eat the man.
562
01:27:22.6
TH: My goodness. Amazing. Strange occurrences. You’ve kind of talked about that with that waterspout.
563
01:27:32.9
RH: Waterspout.
564
01:27:33.7
TH: Odd lights, empty boats?
565
01:27:35.5
RH: Yeah.
566
01:27:36.3
TH: Rogue waves or rescues? Tragedies, collisions, other calamities? You’ve pretty much covered a lot, I mean—
567
01:27:46.2
RH: Yeah, I could probably—later on, I could probably think of something.
568
01:27:48.9
TH: When I leave, you’ll think of some more.
569
01:27:50.1
RH: But I was just thinking about that man, that poor man. I said, “Man, it seemed like he would’ve told me.” But he said he drifted. They picked him up on the fourth day and he was—took him into New York.
570
01:28:1.6
TH: I wonder if he had insurance.
571
01:28:4.0
RH: I don’t know.
572
01:28:5.5
TH: Probably not. Not too many commercial boats are insured.
573
01:28:9.3
RH: No. Uh-uh.
574
01:28:10.4
TH: Drug, alcohol, people smuggling?
575
01:28:14.7
RH: Let me tell you about the drugs. Everybody knew me in the Keys. They knew who I was because, I mean, if anybody—in the fishing fleet, if anybody gets sick, they say, Junior, so-and-so is about to die. And I’ll go and have prayer with them, try to get them to serve the Lord before they die. The Lord has helped me in so many ways, in that way. And I just had a good name, which is—you know how it is. So what I did was—when I went to go fishing, right? Many times, they’d come up to me—the marine patrol, or Customs, they’d come right up to me like that. And I’d look at them, he said, “Oh, Junior, I didn’t know it was you. Have a good day and go.” Never checked me. Next time I did, another guy come up, “Hey, Junior!” Never checked me. And he’d go right over and check this boat, that boat, that boat.
576
01:29:10.2
So this guy come to me—I won’t be saying names—he says, “I’d like to rent your boat tonight. I’ll give you $100,000.” That was when $100,000 was a lot of money. I said, “What? For what?” “All I want to do is ride in your boat. Can I ride your boat?” I said, “You’ve got a load of marijuana you were going to pick up?” He said, “Well, I don’t want to tell you that.” I said, “Yeah. Now, do you have confidence in me?” “Yeah, I believe you’re about the best Christian man I know.” I said, “Would you have confidence in me if I gave you my boat?” He said, “See you later.” The next day, he comes to me. “You lost 100,000. It worked. We got in without getting caught.” I said, “Okay.” But about two months after that, he was in jail.
577
01:30:6.9
TH: Other stories along those lines? You ever see any floating bales?
578
01:30:15.0
RH: Let me tell you something. I have fished my whole life and have never seen a bale floating. I tell you what I did one day. I was coming in one day, and my son was sitting up on the bow. And he said, “Daddy, look at that.” I said, “Yeah, it’s probably garbage.” “No, I think that’s a bale.” [I] said, “Well, I don’t want it.” He said, “Just go look.” So I went over there and sit there and looked and you could see—I said, “See, that’s garbage. What was you thinking of when you seen that?” He says, “How you was going to get to the dock.” I said, “You were going to throw me overboard?”
579
01:30:54.9
TH: I think I saw one, one time.
580
01:30:59.8
RH: You did? Yeah.
581
01:31:1.8
TH: One bale. And it was a whole—you know how the fleets used to fish, and it’d be a bunch of boats as far as you can see?
582
01:31:7.2
RH: Yeah.
583
01:31:8.3
TH: And this was on the opposite side of the fleet. I just—I thought I saw it. It looked exactly like, you know, something floating. But I went by it, and it was gone. I never—anyway, that was my one time.
584
01:31:26.3
RH: Yeah, that’s something. As much as I’ve been out, I’ve never seen them. Now, I’ve seen boats loaded. I went down to the fish house one day, and I says—and I won’t mention any names, just in case. So one guy came to me, “Junior, what are you doing?” I said, “I’m going fishing.” It’s about one o’clock in the morning. He said, “Get in your boat and go fishing.” I said, “I am.” He said, “No. I mean now.” I said, “What in the world?”
585
01:31:52.6
So we went down and climbed in the boat. As I went out, there was two boats over there, along the side, loaded all the way up to the roller, the whole two of them. And they had a semi over the steeves. And that one had boats in there already, and rolling—and if anybody come up and—you know, if you want to make some money, this is what they told me, all you’ve got to do is get over and get in line and help them load it. Because they’re not going to run you off.
586
01:32:24.3
TH: Oh, my goodness. Humorous, funny stories. Those are kind of humorous, actually. Those are wild days with the bales of marijuana. Any other humorous or funny stories you can think of? You’ll think of them after I leave, I’m sure.
587
01:32:44.5
RH: Oh, I’m sure. Yeah, well, you know, you too would think of different things, yeah.
588
01:32:48.8
TH: And anything else you wish to share about your life as a fishing captain in Florida?
589
01:32:55.9
RH: Yeah, well, let me tell you about this one thing about this one time I went fishing on the way home to Palm Beach. On the way fishing, I seen this guy laying on a surfboard, asleep.
590
01:33:8.1
TH: Out in the ocean?
591
01:33:10.0
RH: Yeah. He was just laying on the board. I said, “Man, he’s a long ways offshore.”
592
01:33:15.1
TH: How far out were you?
593
01:33:16.2
RH: He was probably a mile because—and I said, “Man, I wonder if he knows that he’s drifted.” The wind was out of the west. Well, I went on fishing. And I came back. When I got to that spot, I looked all over for him. I said, “Man, I guess he woke up and went in.” Then I looked offshore and I seen a little knot, and I said—and I went way—about another three miles. There he was, still asleep, way out there. And I went out there, and I said, “Hey!” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “You know where you’re at?” Well, down there, he couldn’t see shore, because it wasn’t high enough. He said, “Where am I?” I said, “You’re offshore.” “Which way is—which way is beach?” I said, “Come on, get in the boat.” I put him on the boat and took him to shore.
594
01:34:9.8
TH: And when was this? Here in Fort Pierce?
595
01:34:12.2
RH: No, at Palm Beach.
596
01:34:13.9
TH: Palm Beach.
597
01:34:14.7
RH: Yeah.
598
01:34:15.2
TH: My goodness. It’s a wonder he didn’t float all the way to Fort Pierce.
599
01:34:20.4
RH: Yeah, he’d have been gone. Once he got off of that tide, he’d have been gone. But he had been all right, as long as he didn’t run out of arms.
600
01:34:30.3
TH: Well, before you get into—while you’re talking about that, I’ve had a lot of people ask me, and I said, you know, I just shook my head—people don’t realize how big the ocean is. I mean, it’s huge. About those two boys that came out the Jupiter Inlet and got lost: Do you have any theories on what happened or—
601
01:34:56.8
RH: The only thing I can say with something like that was they was inexperienced to rough weather. And I say they was probably running too fast, and they skipped a wave, hit the side, it threw them out of the boat, and they couldn’t get back to the boat because it was so rough. That’s what I think happened, because they was just kids. And you know how if it gets rough, “Speed her up, let’s go in.” Well, if that wind really was rough enough, which they said it was a bad storm, I think, like, you know when you go, sometimes you hit, you do like this, and then you try to straighten up, and you hit again instead of slowing down. A lot of people don’t slow down; they leave it. Well, when they do, they skip. And then, I think it shot them right out of the back of the boat, and the boat flipped away from them, and they couldn’t get back to it. That’s what I think happened.
602
01:35:51.4
TH: It’s anybody’s guess, but that’s interesting.
603
01:35:54.9
RH: Yeah, now, another thing, as he’s throwing these cast nets—I’ve always told these guys, “Do not”—you know how you make a loop in a rope and stick it on your arm? I said, “Do not do that. Make a rope that you can always pull your hand out. Don’t—none of them ropes that tighten.” Well, this guy, him and his wife was in Jupiter Inlet throwing the cast net. Well, he threw it, and when he did, it got hung, right? Okay, well, he couldn’t pull it, and his wife was running the motor. And he kept trying to get his hand off, and he couldn’t get his hand off because of, you know, how they’d tied this.
604
01:36:34.8
And he says, “Come ahead, come ahead, speed her up, speed her up.” But it was in reverse. She speeded it up and shot him right off the bow. Well, naturally, the tide was so strong, naturally, it just pulled him to the bottom, and he drowned right there with that rope on his hand. That’s why I tell all my boys, never, ever do that. And that same guy, Brant McManus, I told him, I said—he said, “You’ve got to know what you’re doing.” I said, “Really?” He says, “Yeah. When I throw the net, I’m right here. I’ll throw the net, and I’ll throw her out of gear, and everything.” I said, “Okay.” About a month after that, we was down in Salerno Inlet, right? Everybody was throwing, throwing, throwing. Pretty soon I looked over, and [makes sound] and he was in the water, and the boat was gone.
605
01:37:28.6
TH: Who? Brant?
606
01:37:29.4
RH: Yeah. I said, “What happened, Brant? You lost something. What happened?” He said, “You see me here today? In all of my life, you will never see me throwing a cast net on the ocean again.” He quit. I said, “What happened?” He said, “I didn’t know it could happen that quick.” I said, “I told you.” When he threw the net, it got hung, and he couldn’t reach the throttle. And he was gone.
607
01:37:57.3
TH: I’m going to interview Brant. I’m going to ask him about that when I interview him.
608
01:38:2.2
RH: Ask him, yeah.
609
01:38:5.6
TH: All right, well this is the final question. Your life on the water—anything you want to share about life as a fishing captain in Florida? And if you could generalize about your life as a fishing captain.
610
01:38:20.6
RH: Uh, I don’t know. I’ve just tried to be a good captain. I don’t know.
611
01:38:26.6
TH: Have you enjoyed it?
612
01:38:28.2
RH: Oh, I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. It was rough, but all that joy, I would never—I wouldn’t trade it for nothing in the world, no.
613
01:38:37.5
TH: Why?
614
01:38:38.9
RH: It was just something about it. It was your own. You was your own man. Everything was up to you. You either made it or you didn’t. And I knew I had the Lord on my side. That was one of the main things. But sometimes, we would eat good. It would be chicken today and bones tomorrow. But I’ve really enjoyed my life fishing. Oh, my goodness.
615
01:39:5.7
And let me tell you this one story of what happened to me in the Bahamas. This is kind of dumb. But I took my boat to the Bahamas, right? And—because to crawfish, I had the ship out. I had a ship in Palm Beach carrying my traps over and put them out there on the coquina banks over there. And then I took my boat, the Eddie Boy, and went across. Well, on the way in, over there, I knew I had to go to customs, right? To be able to get my—to get things straightened out. On the way in, right, I got—my top teeth’s false. This is kind of stupid, but listen. I said, “I’ve got to brush my teeth before I go in there and talk to all them people.” So I took my teeth out—do you know Donald Stellar?
616
01:39:59.0
TH: No, sir.
617
01:40:0.0
RH: Okay, well, anyway, I said, “Donald, steer for me for a minute.” So he was steering, and I was brushing my teeth at the door. And I looked, I said, “I better get away from this door.” {{{00:39:12.5}}}
618
01:40:10.3
RH: Of the pilot house. I was afraid, if I lost my teeth, they’d go in the water. So I moved over. And I was brushing them, and I said, “I better”—and when I done look [makes sound], it slipped out of my hand. It hit the floor—hit the floor and 2,000 feet of water. My teeth were gone. I said, “What? I ain’t believing this.” Okay, I said, “Now, I’ve got to go ahead and talk to the people.” And everything is [makes sound]. You couldn’t talk. And I said—I felt so bad, I called my wife, I said, “Honey, I lost my teeth.” “You lost your what?” Naturally, that was funny. And I’ve been going back and forth over there. I know how long it takes to get an airplane. Well, I said, “Find out if they can make teeth someplace in one day. I heard they do.” She said, “I’ll find out.” I said, “And I’m going to try to get a plane as quick as I can.”
619
01:41:10.0
Well, I had to rent a taxi to carry me to the airport. When I got to the airport, just as I got there, they said, “Where would you”—I said, “I want to go to Palm Beach.” “Oh, well catch that plane right there.” It was leaving. He said, “Hold up!” And they gave me a ticket; I run out there and got on the plane. I said, “Man.” When I got—excuse me—when I got there, it went into Fort Lauderdale. My wife and my kids was there to pick me up—excuse me. And when they picked me up, I said, “Where is there a place?” She said, “Melbourne.” I said, “Really?” “Yeah.” We went to Melbourne, right?
620
01:41:46.8
TH: From Fort Lauderdale?
621
01:41:48.0
RH: From Fort Lauderdale. Listen.
622
01:41:49.8
TH: It’s a long drive.
623
01:41:50.6
RH: Hey. I went in there, and he took a print of my teeth, right? Okay. I said, “Let’s go get something to eat.” But naturally, it would be soup. I can’t eat. So I went in this restaurant, and I sit down, and I was sitting there eating. And, oh boy. This boy’s name. I can’t—Shaq? Anyway, when I get—when I sit there, I says—something told me, it said, You need to call Shaq. I said, No. And I don’t mean the other boy. I said, Why? To myself. Then I thought—I said, No. He just moved to the West Coast. He’s fishing over there. So I just let it go. Then something said, You need to call Shaq.
624
01:42:39.6
TH: Something said? Nobody said it?
625
01:42:42.0
RH: No, in my mind. So I looked, and there was a phone booth. Back then, you had to have a phone booth. So I went over to the phone booth, and I said, “I’ll just see if he’s still in town.” And I looked. Boom. I said, “Oh, there it is right there.” So I called. I called, and I said, “Hey this is Junior.” And his wife, she says, “Junior!” And [she] started crying and hollering. I said, “Wait a minute, honey, what’s wrong?” She says, “Come quick, please.” She says, “Shaq is going to shoot us. He’s got a gun.” I said, “What? Where do you live?” And she told me. She said, “Where are you?” And I said what street I was on. She said, “We live on the same street, just come west.” The same street with—
626
01:43:29.4
TH: In Melbourne?
627
01:43:30.1
RH: Yeah. So I jumped up and headed down the road. And I’ve come to her street, and I turned when I went down, and I knocked on the door. I could hear him, “Don’t you open that door.” But she runs to come open the door. When I walked inside, he looked at me. He says, “What are you doing here?” I said, “What’s wrong, man?” I said, “What are you doing?” He says, “Nobody loves me. They know I’ve got cancer, and they don’t care. I’m dying, and they’re going to die too.” And he’s holding that pistol. I said, “You mean, you’re going to kill your—because you think nobody loves you?”
628
01:44:9.4
I told him, I said, “Let me tell you, son,” then I told him the story. I said, “That wasn’t coincidence. None of this.” I said, “The Lord loves you enough to send me here today to spare your life and your family.” He said, “Do you think he really loves me that much? Why would he make you suffer because of it?” I said, “Because that’s how much he loves you.” But then I seen his lip start trembling, right? And so I got on my knees. And I prayed for him and his kids and all. They just start crying. But now, you say, “Man, that’s stupid.” I don’t care. That’s what happened. I’ve never—I said, “Do you mean”—and the teeth that they made for me, right? That was back, Lord, 40-some years ago. And the guy told me, when he made my teeth, he said, “They’ll only last three years to the most.” That was 40 years ago, and I still got them.
629
01:45:17.4
TH: They look pretty good.
630
01:45:18.4
RH: Same ones. Forty years. And I’ve dropped them on the floor. I’ve dropped them everywhere. But they said it’d only last three. But I just wanted to say that, how God works in my life.
631
01:45:30.1
TH: So your teeth bounced out of the cabin, out the door, and over the side?
632
01:45:36.6
RH: Two thousand feet of water. A guy told me the other day, he caught a fish over in—over there in the Bahamas, and he had a teeth mark in him. I said, “Yeah, right.”
633
01:45:47.6
TH: We’re talking about AJ Brown.
634
01:45:49.4
RH: AJ Brown, yeah. I was right beside him. Well, sometime, he’d come down, I say, “Hey, AJ. You going fishing tomorrow?” “Yeah.” He said, “Are you?” I said, “No, it’s Sunday.” He said, “Oh, I forgot.” I said, “AJ, won’t you come and go to church with me sometime?” “Yeah, you know, I’ve thought about that.” I said, “Well, will you?” “Well, no, not this time.” And he said, “But I’m going to tell you one thing. If I ever really want to change and do anything, you’ll be the first one that I’ll”—I said, “Okay.” Well, then, you remember when they went diving, and his best friend drowned catching crawfish?
635
01:46:30.2
TH: Yeah.
636
01:46:30.9
RH: He was sitting at the dock that day, crying in the boat. And I said, “AJ, that could’ve been you, man.” I said, “Just as slick as that. You’ve got to make sure you’re right.” He said, “Let me tell you something. When I’m ready, I will call you.” I said, “Okay, AJ. Okay.” Right after that, you remember he was up there, and he fell overboard? And only one boat found him, you remember?
637
01:46:57.6
TH: Off the cape.
638
01:46:58.6
RH: Off the cape. So he comes in. I said, “AJ, somebody’s talking to you, boy.” I said, “Now”—he said, “Junior, listen. Didn’t I tell you, if I want to, you will be the first one?” I said, “Okay, AJ.” Well, about two or three months after that, the guy at the fish house said, “Junior, AJ said he wants you to call him.” I said, “Oh, man. Wonder what this is all about?” So I called him. He said, “Would you mind stopping by?” I said, “Sure. Where do you live?” And he told me, and I went to his house. He said, “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m dying.” I said, “No, AJ.” He said, “And I would like to make things right.” I said, “Oh, man.” I told him, I said, “You know, when you have a friend, all you want to do is give that friend good gifts. The gift—me hearing you asking God to forgive you is the best gift you could ever give to me.” And he asked God to forgive him—is it off, or—
639
01:48:12.2
TH: It’s on.
640
01:48:12.9
RH: But he asked God to forgive him. And he cried and cried. And that’s why, at the funeral, I done this, talked about it in his funeral. But that was something. He says, “I will call.” He was a good little fisherman.
641
01:48:29.7
TH: Okay, I’m still with Captain Junior Harden. And he’s going to tell us about his experience during the Mariel boatlift.
642
01:48:39.3
RH: Okay, well, I came in from fishing one day. And when I—as I was coming in, I seen all these boats flying out, down in the Keys, at Marathon Fish Company. And when I went in, I said, “What in the world is going on?” I said—they called him the Peanut President. What was his name?
643
01:48:58.5
TH: Jimmy Carter.
644
01:49:0.4
RH: Yeah. He said, “Yeah, you can go bring your in-laws back.” Well, everybody—they was running down trying to hire people. Well, when I got there, this car pulled up with a bunch of Cubans in it. And they come up to me, and they say, Would you carry me to Mariel Harbor, to Cuba, and pick up my grandkids and my grandparents? I said, “I can’t go over there.” He said, “Yeah. They said we could do it.” So I said, “Well, hold on.” He said, “I’ll give you 16—all we could come up with is $16,000.” And I said, “Just to go to Mariel Harbor?” He said, “Yeah.” Well, most of everybody was getting 30- and 40,000, but that’s all they could come up with. I said, “Well, let me find out if it’s legal.”
645
01:49:46.6
So I went up to Customs, and he says, “Yeah, you can go.” I said, “Well, now, one more place.” So I went to the Coast Guard, they said, Yeah, it’s okay. I said, “Oh.” So I went down, I told them, I said, “Okay, how long are we going to be going?” He said, “We’re just going to go, and then get on the boat, and come back.” I said, “Okay.” So he said, “Here’s the money.” He gave me $16,000. Well, I give it—went to the fish house and give it to the owner there at Pinellas Fish Company. I said, “Put this in the safe for me.” We went out and got a few groceries, nothing much. I thought we was coming right back. So we went up there and went into Mariel Harbor. A band of boats—
646
01:50:30.8
TH: About how far a trip was it?{{{00:49:36.2}}}
647
01:51:32.9
TH: What did you have to—you ran out of food?
648
01:51:35.8
RH: Yeah, because we only went in for a couple of days, and it was nine days. So a bunch of us, we’d get together, and we’d try to fix a little meal and share it. Well, then people started coming by—uh, I think a can of beans was, like, $30. And man, they was going bananas. I said—well, this one night, this man, he broke loose from somewhere because he came, and this woman was sitting on the side of the boat—I mean, in the stern—this guy pulled himself up over the side. It was a Cuban, broke loose from the prison. The prison was just over the hill. Well, they just looked at him, right? Well, the woman hollered, “Look!” Well, the guy standing on the hill up there with the rifle, he runs down, jumps from boat to boat—because you’re just like that. Went down and had—
649
01:52:30.5
TH: Because, you mean, the boats were tied together? More together?
650
01:52:33.0
RH: Yeah. Yeah, there wasn’t nowhere to dock tie. So he jumped and went in there. When I went to help him in the boat, he just stuck the bayonet right through him, right there. And the woman died with a heart attack that was sitting on the stern. So two people died right there.
651
01:52:49.3
TH: The woman was not with you?
652
01:52:51.8
RH: No, she was in this other boat. Yeah. She screamed, and that’s why the man on the hill come running down there. And that guy was trying to get in the boat, so he killed him—from one of the prisoners.
653
01:53:4.3
TH: Was that your boat?
654
01:53:5.3
RH: I was in my boat when I was there, but they didn’t die on my boat. It was next to two boats over. So anyway, the ninth day—okay, my son, he was with me. But Rodney, he brought Lester’s boat over, the Miss Jodie.
655
01:53:23.0
TH: Rodney Black?
656
01:53:24.6
RH: No, my nephew. No, Rodney Harden.
657
01:53:27.9
TH: Okay.
658
01:53:28.5
RH: He brought the little Jodie over there. Okay, well, he was—and I heard—he was down further than me, a little bit further. But he said, “Uncle Junior, I’m going.” I said, “If you go, they’re going to—the only way you can go if it’s not your time, is you’ve got to carry a load of prisoners.” He said, “I don’t care. I’ve got to go.” So they said they was cleaning the prison out. Well, he—I said, “Well, all right.” So he went over there to the side where you go to load up.
659
01:53:59.9
And what he told me, he said, “You ought to see it over here.” He said, “For the people that was waiting to leave, kids and everybody waiting, they had a block of ice sitting on the sand. And that—only drink they could have is they’d lick that block of ice. That’s all.” The kids had to lick the ice for water. I said, “Rodney, what are you going to do?” He said, “Uncle Junior, I’m getting out of here.” Because that same day, [Fidel] Castro came by in a helicopter and was hollering, “You Yankee pig-dogs! You Yankee pig-dogs!” That scared us to death.
660
01:54:37.5
So he went over to load up. I said, “Rodney, you’re going to leave?” I mean, I told Ray, I said, “Ray, are you going to leave your daddy in Cuba?” He says, “Daddy, I’ve got to go.” I said, “No, you don’t have to.” I said, “Okay, go.” So they went over to load up, right? Well, I’m sitting here, and this man—these people in my boat, they said, “Captain.” He says, “Maybe we’d better get out of here. It don’t sound good.” So I said—I started up and was headed over. At first, the day before that, let me tell you what happened. A storm—about 90-mile-an-hour winds, they said—came down. And the only—if I hadn’t had my son there, I’d’ve sunk. But anyway, he knew just what to do. I backed down real hard. He threw the anchor in the boat, and I took off. And it blowed so hard, I kept the boat in gear, inside the harbor. I—whenever the storm went by, there was shrimp boats laying on its side, and people everywhere. Man, what a storm.
661
01:55:38.6
But anyway, where I’m at now, where I said—they said, Take us home. If we gave them the ticket, maybe our kids will come with somebody else. I said, “Okay.” So I headed out for the inlet, and I see these boats in line. And there were—the guys with the machine guns turned the guys around. The next boat comes up and, “Ah!” And they’d hold the gun, and they turned around. He says, “Go ahead up there.” I said, “No. Nobody’s going. They’re not going to let us out.” He said, “Just go up there.” So I got up there close to them. And the guy climbed up on the bow, the Cuban. And they argued back and forth, back and forth, and he was throwing the machine gun like that. I said, “He’s going to shoot us, man.” He said, “Throw her in gear.” I said, “Throw her in gear?” So I pushed it in gear, and I was just idling. And he was idling alongside me, right? And the inlet was right there.
662
01:56:37.7
TH: The Cuban coast guard?
663
01:56:39.6
RH: Yeah, the Cuban boat, the run boat—gun boat. It was, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.” Pretty soon, he says, “Will this boat run?” I said, “Not that fast.” He says, “Put her in gear, and give it to her.” I said—and they was, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Screaming back and forth. I said, “Lord help us.” So I pushed it on, and I took off. And when I took off, I was headed almost to the inlet. When I pulled out of the inlet, I looked back, and that guy just turned around. I said, “What did you say to him?” He said, “You don’t need to know.” I said, “Holy mackerel.” So I got out, right? And I’m leaving. I call Ray Allen. He was in there loading up with prisoners. I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “We’ll soon be loaded. We must have 40 or 50 people on here already.” They was all underneath the bilge, everywhere.
664
01:57:32.9
TH: The prisoners? All prisoners?
665
01:57:34.2
RH: Yeah.
666
01:57:34.5
TH: Did they let any of the kids and family go?
667
01:57:36.1
RH: No. For every one you brought, you had to bring a prisoner.
668
01:57:40.1
TH: For every family or—
669
01:57:42.2
RH: Yeah. Yeah, so he had—they said they had people underneath the—under the floor, the deck, everywhere, boat people. I said, “Okay, I’m going.” He said, “Going where?” I said, “I’m out. I’m going.” “You’re going to leave your son in Cuba?” I said, “You left me.” They were so loaded with people, I don’t know how many boats turned over when they seen Florida. When they seen—knew they was out. When they seen it, they’d all run to one side, and the boats would turn over. They had—one boat had 200 people drowning. And they wouldn’t let the people from America go save them because it was Cuban waters. They drowned right there. Boy, that was a bad experience.
670
01:58:31.8
Well, anyway, about six months—oh, they had told me, they said, Are you going to keep our money? I said, “Now, you told me whether or not, I could have the money. You remember?” “Yes, sir.” I said, “I’ll tell you what. The money’s in the safe. I’ll wait for two weeks. If they don’t come, I’ll give you half of it back. The money’s in the safe.” They said, “That’s fair enough.” So about three weeks, I got this phone call, “Captain Harden, Captain Harden.” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Keep the money.” I said, “What’s wrong?” He said, “All of my people have come back.” I said, “Oh, that’s good, man.” So every year on that date, they send me an invitation for the family reunion.
671
01:59:21.3
TH: Where’s the family reunion?
672
01:59:23.6
RH: In Cuba—in Miami. Every year on that same date, I was invited to the family reunion.
673
01:59:33.4
TH: Have you gone?
674
01:59:35.6
TH: That’s pretty nice.
675
01:59:36.9
RH: Yeah.
676
01:59:38.0
RH: When I was in the Bahamas crawfishing on coquina banks, right? Well, I was pulling traps, you know. I would pull about 500 traps a day. Well, it was getting dark. And I says, “Man,” I told Edwin, one of my crews that pulled the traps, I said, “we’ll pull one more line and go in.” He said, “Okay, Cap, which one?” I said, “Well, pull either, uh, 16 or 17.” Well, 16 was first. I had to run about 20, 30 minutes to get to it.
677
02:00:14.3
TH: There’s a string of—{{{00:00:38.4}}}
678
02:00:22.5
TH: On a string?
679
02:00:23.3
RH: Yeah, probably five or six miles long. Well, I said, “We’ll pull 16. It’s first.” He said, “Okay, Cap.” Then I kept saying, something says, No, you need to pull the 17 line. And then I said to myself, I said, “I think we’re going to pull 17.” “Okay.” Well, I got there, and I could see 16. I said, “No, grab 16.” So we starting pulling. And we pull trap, trap, trap. Well, sometimes, when you run your lines out like that, if you’re not careful, you’ll see the other line.
680
02:00:56.4
TH: You mean, if you try to run them parallel?
681
02:00:58.9
RH: Yeah, yeah. So I had—16 was like this. And 17 was over here, like this. But somehow or another, I must’ve got out of whack, because I got close enough to see 16, and then I straightened back out again when I set them out. Well, when I was doing 16 line, I seen the 17 line. I said—and this wasn’t doing a lot of good, so I’m going to get the other half of 17. He said, “What are you doing?” I said, “Well, I’m going to switch over to 17.” “All right, it’s getting dark, remember.” I said, “I know.” So we started pulling 17, okay.
682
02:01:36.4
TH: From the middle of the line?
683
02:01:38.1
RH: Yeah. So I started pulling, right? When I got to the last buoy, I looked, I said, “What is that?” And holding on to number 17 buoy was a 14-foot boat with six people in it. The little tiny motor it has [is] about that big; you could see it was burnt up.
684
02:01:58.8
TH: About that big? You’re holding your hands about three feet apart.
685
02:02:2.0
RH: Yeah, it was just a little old tiny motor. Like one horse [or] something. I don’t know.
686
02:02:7.0
TH: Was it outboard?
687
02:02:7.7
RH: No, inboard. And that had done burned up, you could tell. And I said, “Holy mackerel.” And they were holding onto the buoy with the marking “17” on it, right? And I said, “Holy”—I said, “Edwin, look at that.” He said, “Wow.” And they kept [makes sound]. I said, “Man, I don’t know what to do, Edwin. It’s only me and you, and it’s five of them. They could take this boat.” So, I had a shotgun in the boat. I go down and got the shotgun and laid it up there.
688
02:02:41.6
And I had outriggers, I had the big outriggers like a shrimp boat because it’s always so rough over there. Man, that boat was doing like that. Well, they [makes sound]. And I could see the lady, and four men, right? And it was just back and forth. Well, when it went down, one jumped and grabbed on the outrigger and started climbing in the boat. I didn’t know whether to shoot him or what. And Edwin says, “What are we going to do?” So, naturally, I’m talking to the Lord all the time. I said, “Lord, help us.” So he climbed up to the boat [makes sound]. And I said—and he couldn’t speak.
689
02:03:21.5
TH: You’re showing me—you’re holding your hand at your mouth and your stomach. And he was holding his hand in his mouth?
690
02:03:26.6
RH: Yeah, he’d want something to drink or eat, anything. So I said, “Okay.” And I pulled him on the boat, and I gave him a drink. And he was drinking. And the others was in the boat, was slapping back and forth. I said, “Edwin, we might as well get them on in here.” So we pull them up to the boat, and they all climbed on the boat, right? And I went to shove the boat, “No, no, no!” I said, “Huh?” They said, [makes sound]. Well, the little girl, about this tall, was laying in the bilge.
691
02:03:57.2
TH: You’re showing about a three-feet-tall little girl?
692
02:03:59.6
RH: Yeah, she was about, I don’t know, four or five years old, laying in the bilge. She had been drinking the bilge water, and dying right there. That girl, with one more day, she’d have been dead, right there. And we couldn’t—pulled her up in the boat, and got her up in the boat. And I had a big freezer then. I had ice cream and all kinds. And I gave her some ice cream and water. And then the cook, he went down below and started cooking.
693
02:04:25.8
TH: Their cook? They had a cook with them?
694
02:04:29.0
RH: No, my cook. Yeah, he went down to make them something to eat. They hadn’t ate. And I told them, I said, “How long? How long?” Either five or six—five or six. Something like that. I couldn’t understand them, and they couldn’t, but we talked. We got them something to eat and everything, and I done like that, and he says, “Miama?” I said, “No, Bahama.” “No, Miama.” I said, “I ain’t going to Miami. I’m from Bahamas.” Oh, and they hung their heads down. I said, “Ed, we might as well take them in. We can’t work anymore.”
695
02:05:10.2
So we come on in. I traveled half the night to get back to the Bahamas. Well, naturally, before I got there, I called customs. And I said, “I’ve got five people on the—four men, a lady, and a baby, a little girl. I’m bringing them in.” “We’ll meet you at the dock.” So when I got to the dock, man, they were mean to them. They snatched them over—I said “Hey, wait a minute. They’re on my boat. Don’t do that to them. They haven’t done nothing.” And he looked at me. And I didn’t know what he was going to say. But I said, “That’s no way to treat them, like that.” So they got them in. Well, the next day, I went down to my place where I was staying. The next day, I got in the car, and I was riding down the road—there’s only one road on that whole island—and I was coming down—
696
02:06:1.1
TH: What island was it?
697
02:06:2.1
RH: Huh?
698
02:06:3.3
TH: What island?
699
02:06:3.8
RH: Long Island. Long Island, Bahamas. That’s about 200 miles south—north—southeast of Nassau. That’s where all my people was born. My daddy’s people. They was from England. Well, anyway, the next morning, I’m driving down the road, headed down. I wanted to find out what happened to them. Well, as I was going, I see these bunch of people standing on the side of the road. I said—so I slowed way down, and I said, “Oh, that’s the guys we brought in.” And they seen it was me, and they run right in front of the car. I stopped, and they got on their knees, hands and knees—like this. I said, “No, you don’t.”
700
02:06:45.6
TH: They—like this? Like they’re bowing down to you?
701
02:06:50.0
RH: Yeah. And I said, “No, God saved you, buddy.” That’s why he kept saying “17.” But that looked so funny. Them holding that 17 buoy. One more day, they’d have been dead. Their mouths was just—I don’t know—and where they was, if they’d have let go of that buoy, they had no anchor, no rope, no nothing. They was just plain drifting.
702
02:07:15.5
TH: Were they from—Cubans?
703
02:07:16.8
RH: Cubans.
704
02:07:17.8
TH: And what did they do? What ended—how did they end up—I mean, finally, how do they live in—do they live in Nassau, or did they send them back to Cuba?
705
02:07:27.0
RH: No, they sent them to Miami. And then they probably either done one thing or another there. But it was on CNN. It was on—whenever they said that a Bahamian vessel brought in six Cubans, and that was me.
706
02:07:44.1
TH: This was about what year?
707
02:07:46.8
RH: That was, uh, let’s see. I had the boat in ’77, ’80—probably ’85, I guess.
708
02:07:56.2
TH: Nineteen eighty-five.
709
02:07:57.8
RH: When I was in Hampton, Virginia, they—the Fass Brothers Fish Company came down, and asked, could we come up there and catch bluefish for them? They was going to catch them and clean them, and send them to Siberia if we could catch them, they said. But all their fishermen has tried, and they can’t catch them.  So me and Henry Crane and Ronnie Howell and Jeff Altman, we took four boats and went to Virginia. We made nets and all. When we went up there, it was the funniest thing. And we had an airplane.
710
02:08:30.7
TH: Now, wait. You made gill nets?
711
02:08:32.5
RH: Yeah.
712
02:08:33.3
TH: And you went to Chesapeake Bay?
713
02:08:36.5
RH: Yeah. Hampton, Virginia, is right there at the bridge that goes over to Norfolk, Virginia.
714
02:08:43.6
TH: Okay.
715
02:08:44.3
RH: So we fished at that fish company, big—Fass Brothers—big company. Well, when we got there, we went out of the airplane—stopped to—“Y’all let me know.” So we called in, we said, We’re coming out. Okay, they went up there, and they said, See that bunch? I said, “Man, that’s a big bunch of bluefish.” That you could see. And he said, “Okay, I’m going to put you around them.” Okay, well, Jeff was first.
716
02:09:11.5
TH: Jeff who?
717
02:09:12.2
RH: Altman.
718
02:09:13.2
TH: Altman.
719
02:09:13.9
RH: So the airplane says, “Let her go.” And he circled them up and waited, waited, nothing. That bunch of fish came up right over there, out of the net.
720
02:09:24.7
TH: They came up in a different place?
721
02:09:26.8
RH: In a different place.
722
02:09:28.0
TH: How deep was the water?
723
02:09:28.9
RH: Forty feet. And I—so I said, “Man, what in the world?” So then the other guy, he said, “Try me.” So he went up to a bunch of fish. He said, “I’m going to set real fast.” He went [makes sound] and waited, waited—
724
02:09:46.1
TH: He’s making a circle. He’s setting a circle?
725
02:09:47.5
RH: Making a circle around them. And they came up right over there.
726
02:09:51.2
TH: They came up in another area on the net?
727
02:09:53.3
RH: In another area. So the pilot, he said, “I told you. You can’t catch them.” I said, “Well, I don’t know. Now”—
728
02:10:1.4
TH: How deep were the nets?
729
02:10:2.6
RH: Oh, probably 50 feet. Yeah.
730
02:10:6.6
TH: So plenty deep enough to go to the bottom.
731
02:10:9.0
RH: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It was on the bottom. So I said—so the only two boats that hadn’t set was me and Ronnie. Well, everybody’d go, We might as well go on back to Florida because they cannot be catched. I said, “Now, wait a minute. The Bible said that we have dominion over everything. We can figure a way to catch these fish.” So I told Ronnie, I said, “Ronnie, come here. Get on my boat.” He got on my boat. I said, “I’m going to show you something. I’ll draw out the fish. Now here is what I want you to do. I want you to come from the north. And I’m going to come from the south. When we get to that bunch of fish, drop your net. You let go, and I’ll let go, and then we’ll go this way, like this.”
732
02:10:59.2
TH: Now, “This way, like this,” we’ll go opposite directions?
733
02:11:2.4
RH: Well, as we passed each other, we dropped our ends, right?
734
02:11:5.3
TH: Yeah.
735
02:11:6.1
RH: He was going this way, and I went on around here, and he went on around—
736
02:11:10.2
TH: You went the opposite directions and made a circle?
737
02:11:12.3
RH: Right, right. So we lapped, and I said, “Now, when we pass each other like this, when you get over to here, and I get over to there, you pass”—
738
02:11:23.5
TH: When they get over to the other end of the circle?
739
02:11:26.0
RH: Yeah. I said, “You pass me and run out there real quick and tie the net together. And I’ll tie it together here.” He said, “We’ll try it.” So we [makes sound], like that. And right around there, a bunch of fish. And we sit there holding on to the net. They blowed that net right out of water—42,000 the first set.
740
02:11:49.1
TH: Forty-two-thousand pounds?
741
02:11:50.7
RH: Of bluefish. Hey, they were so fast, they just outrun you as you’re going, said, “Why don’t we double this way?” They didn’t know which way to go, because one boat was going here and one was coming there. And the net was already out here, so they didn’t know which way to go.
742
02:12:10.1
TH: So you doubled the circle?
743
02:12:13.3
RH: No, just the ends.
744
02:12:16.1
TH: Okay.
745
02:12:16.8
RH: Yeah. See, you don’t throw the net until we—just as we get to each other. He throwed this when I throwed mine, and then we’d come on around, and then one guy grabbed and hold it, and then the other guy kept going. He’d run over here really quick and grabbed that one and held it closed.
746
02:12:33.7
TH: So you had two nets instead of one net.
747
02:12:36.1
RH: Yeah, one on my boat, and one on his.
748
02:12:38.5
TH: And you made a circle with the two nets.
749
02:12:41.5
RH: Yeah, see here. Okay, here’s—
750
02:12:44.9
TH: Oh, I understand. I’m trying to say it so that it—
751
02:12:48.4
RH: Oh, I see. Okay. There’s like—if the fish was right there—
752
02:12:50.8
TH: There’s no pictures.
753
02:12:52.4
RH: And he went this way, and then he’d come from this way, and he went this way. So he’d come over here and tie this together, and I’d tie that one together, and then boom, 42,000. And we started catching so many, right? Till the news people—they had the media, they call it, they had—the place was all fenced in. They was out there—
754
02:13:17.7
TH: The fish house?
755
02:13:18.6
RH: Yeah, the fish house was fenced in, all the property. And the people would come down and they would let them in, so they was outside the fence videoing everything. And it was on TV. Now, it wasn’t long, the governor got into it, of Virginia, right? They said, You’ve got to go back to Palm Beach—I mean, to Fort Pierce. I said, “You mean”—“Yeah,” he said. “We’ll go to court.” We went to court. Man, people was hanging out of windows—
756
02:13:52.1
TH: Why did you have to go to court?
757
02:13:53.9
RH: Because they were saying that we couldn’t fish in their waters because we was Florida and they was Virginia. So we went to court, and you’re talking about people, now, sports, oh, they were everywhere.
758
02:14:8.2
TH: So where did you go to court? At what—
759
02:14:10.2
RH: In Hampton, Virginia. And while we was there, right, okay, well, all these people, we go in—we went in there, and the judge says, “What’s up?” Well, this guy, he stands up, he says, “These men are catching—they’re putting all these people out of business.” He said, “What people?” He said, “These charter boats. See, they catch them but they throw them away because they couldn’t sell them. They’re no good. Only if you fix them like they did and send them out of the country.” But the sport guys on the head boats, they’d go, and they’d pay money just to catch them. They unhook them and throw them over, and they’re floating everywhere. So why not eat them?
760
02:14:58.2
So anyway, we went to court, and the judge says, “What’s up?” They said, They can’t fish in our waters because they’re not—they don’t live here. And, man, the judge, he said, “Now, let me see now.” Now, he was good. He said, “You’re trying to tell me that a United States vessel can’t fish in Virginia waters? I’m going to tell you one thing.” He looked right at the marine patrol. He said, “You leave them alone, and I better not hear that you’re harassing them one bit.” Boy, and that was something. So we went to catching them. All right, now—oh, they wanted to kill us. We was paid to leave the fish house.
761
02:15:46.7
But anyway, we fished for a while, and they’d tell—so the governor, he said, “Just to find out that you’re not catching them all, I’ve got to prove it.” So the governor went on one boat, and I took one of the aides, the governor’s aides, and all of them had a guy on the boat. We got out there, and here’s that big bed of fish, like this. We went up, and one guy took one piece, another guy took a piece, and like that, and millions just kept on going. And he told them, he said, “They’re not bothering these fish. There’s billions and billions of them.” And they said we paid them off. You know how that is. So—
762
02:16:26.7
TH: They accused you of paying off—
763
02:16:29.4
RH: Yeah, they said we paid the governor to say that. But anyway, later on, right? We was getting ready to go home. I call the governor, I said, “Sir, this is Mr. Harden.” “Oh, yeah. How are you?” We talked a little bit, and I said, “I just want to let you know that I think we’re going on back because they’re getting scarce all the time.” It was later and, you know, the water started cooling up, and they were disappearing. He said, “Would you do me a favor?” I said, “Yes, sir.” He said, “Would you let it be known that I run you out?” I said, “Sure. I don’t care.” You talk about a write-up: “I have had enough of this.”
764
02:17:14.2
TH: This is what the governor said—
765
02:17:17.6
RH: Yeah.
766
02:17:18.2
TH: —in the paper?
767
02:17:18.9
RH: On the paper. He said, “I have had enough of this. They are going back.” Now, on the way home, every time we would stop for fuel in Virginia, they would come out shooting us birds, and “Get out of my”—I just thought I’d tell you about that.
768
02:17:33.6
TH: We have one last story here with Captain Junior Harden. He’s going to tell me about this picture he found in a restaurant, of his father, in Miami, unloading a catch of mackerel.
769
02:17:48.8
RH: Mackerel. Yeah.
770
02:17:50.6
TH: Where did you find the picture?
771
02:17:52.4
RH: I was in a restaurant right there on Flagler. The Miami River goes right under Flagler Bridge. Well, right at the foot of the Flagler Bridge is East Coast Fisheries. It’s been there probably 50 years. And my daddy—and I went fishing with him that night—it was my daddy, Rupert Harden, and the guy fishing with him was Randolph Fox.
772
02:18:16.3
TH: Your dad—your father was Rupert Harden.
773
02:18:18.8
RH: Yeah.
774
02:18:19.7
TH: That’s why you’re Junior.
775
02:18:20.8
RH: Yeah.
776
02:18:21.1
TH: And the fellow fishing with him was—
777
02:18:23.3
RH: Was called Randolph Scott. And we had 5,000 pounds of mackerel on the boat. The boat was so loaded, the mackerel tail was sticking in the water. That’s how loaded it was. It was hanging off the edge—
778
02:18:36.2
TH: Of the boat?
779
02:18:37.6
RH: —of the boat. And we had—it was right there in Miami River—now, back then, we had to gut every fish. When you got through picking them out, you had to gut every one of them. But I was there, and I asked the guy that owned the restaurant, I said, “Man, that’s my daddy!” He said, “Well, you can have it!”
780
02:18:55.6
TH: Oh, you were in a restaurant years later?
781
02:18:57.3
RH: Yeah, a long time ago. Yeah.
782
02:18:59.7
TH: And you saw this picture?
783
02:19:1.9
RH: Yeah, and I said, “Hey, look at that. That’s my dad.” He says, “Well, you can have it, son, if you want it.” So I took it and blowed it up.
784
02:19:11.6
TH: And that’s the picture we have.
785
02:19:15.4
RH: And that’s them little old cotton nets. And we caught them in—what I was telling you about—in Hawk’s Channel, where they don’t go anymore because of so many traffic.
786
02:19:27.5
TH: And you were, at the time this picture was taken, where were you?
787
02:19:31.7
RH: I was probably out back running around somewhere. I was only 10 years old.
788
02:19:36.2
TH: Okay.
789
02:19:37.7
RH: That was Christmas vacation. That’s why I was there.
790
02:19:42.2
TH: Christmas vacation?
791
02:19:43.8
RH: Yeah, and school was out.
792
02:19:45.0
TH: What year?
793
02:19:45.8
RH: In, say, 10—’43.
794
02:19:48.8
TH: Nineteen forty-three.
795
02:19:50.2
RH: Yeah.
796
02:19:50.9
TH: And that’s your father on the left or the right?
797
02:19:53.0
RH: Yeah, on the left, right here, and that’s the other boy, there.
798
02:19:56.2
TH: Okay. That’s Mr. Fox and Mr. Harden.
799
02:19:58.7
RH: Uh-huh. Yeah.
800
02:20:0.1
TH: Thank you.



PAGE 1

NOTICE


printinsert_linkshareget_appmore_horiz

Download Options

close


  • info Info

    There are both PDF(s) and Images(s) associated with this resource.

  • link PDF(s)



  • link Image(s)

    <- This image

    Choose Size
    Choose file type



Cite this item close

APA

Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.

MLA

Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.