ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — “The sea is angry today.”
I thought Capt. Mike was just quoting a famous line from Seinfeld. You know the episode, the one where George becomes a marine biologist and pulls the golf ball out of the blow hole of the beached whale.
However, Capt. Mike was serious. Hey, I am a flatlander with no sea legs. I thought maybe it was typical to ride the ocean waves the same way Billy Etbauer rode bucking broncs.
But Capt. Mike said it was the roughest day at sea of the red snapper season. It wasn't supposed to be that way, but the weatherman was wrong. The forecast was for two to three feet waves on Tuesday, but they were at least twice that during most of the trip.
It was going to be one of those days at sea where you kiss the ground when you make it back.
I found out later that we were one of the few fishing charters out of Zeke's Marina on Tuesday morning that didn't turn back because of the choppy waters.
But Capt. Mike had the boat — a 42-foot Gillman — that could get us to the artificial reefs more than 20 miles into the Gulf of Mexico for some deep sea fishing, so we carried on.
My boat captain was Mike Graves, a former construction manager who built hundreds of Walgreen's stores across the country, including in Edmond. But he got tired of that life, moved to Orange Beach, Ala., and bought a salt water fishing boat that he named Unreachable.
It seemed to me like an ominous name, especially during Tuesday's voyage, but after spending a lifetime at someone's beck and call in the corporate world, Capt. Mike was ready to be unreachable, so thus the name.
Four years ago, Capt. Mike moved to Orange Beach permanently and hasn't regretted it a day.
I first vacationed in the Orange Beach and Perdido Key, Fla., area in the late 80s with a high school chum who then lived in New Orleans.
I fell in love with the area on that first trip, mostly because the fishing was so good. We had rented a condo on Perdido Bay and fished off a lighted dock at night, catching tons of speckled trout using shrimp for bait.
At first, we didn't know what we were catching and kept throwing back the specs because they had teeth. We were Okies at sea for the first time. If we couldn't lip ‘em like a bass, we weren't going to eat them.