By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
East winds make fishing tougher; a Halloween story
Capt. Judy fishing

Inshore report:

If you have been doing any inshore fishing this past week you already know that for the most part the east winds have been howling! And what does that means to a fishermen and a charter boat captain? Well, the east wind is the one that right from the start limits your area fished. Why?

It’s too rough to fish most of these areas and muddy water conditions prevail.

Most fish drops near or in the sound are completely unfishable. I am not saying don’t go fish, but be prepared. Let’s talk about live shrimp and other possible baits. You have options and most all are to your advantage. Most bait shops are open and have shrimp!

And if you can’t purchase live shrimp it is definitely catch-able with the old cast net. Please don’t forget, if you go with the catching of your own bait, I suggest keeping any small fish that you might catch (yellow tail, croaker, mullet, menhaden mud minnows, shrimp mammies also known as thumb cutters, small crabs, menhaden, and etc). If you find yourself catching larger mullet, do not be concerned, this is one bait that will work just as well cut up into thin steaks as it will small and alive.

Halloween 1958

My father took me out for Halloween so I could collect my annual brown bag of candy. I always dressed up and it was a lot of fun. I tried everything from homemade costumes to the store bought ones.

They all seemed to do the trick. However there was this one particular store brought costume that I will never forget. My father saw a cat costume and he brought it home. I was about 7 at the time, so dressing up like a cat wasn’t such a bad idea, at least not until daddy made certain alterations to the costume.

The tail of the cat costume just hung there. Daddy checked it out and found that he could stuff my tail with some of the white socalled cotton that he used for caulking repairs on his wooden boats. I didn’t care all I was thinking about was all of the candy that I was going to get and how much I could eat in one night.

Well, after stuffing the tail with the so-called cotton he created a big problem. The tail was too heavy to move.

I could tell that Daddy was in a mood or maybe he had a few cocktails. He broke out the fishing line.

His plan was to tie one end to the tail and the other end to the back of my costume, which he did in a fast fashion. I now had me a state of the art moving cat tail that actually swayed with my walk. Remember the lion’s tail in the Wizard of Oz? I was ready to go “trick a treating” in my daddy’s designer store bought costume.

Our first stop was great!

I got lots of compliments on my costume and plenty of candy. I really made a haul. Daddy even got a beverage to go. As the evening went on my brown bag got heavier. According to Daddy my “trick a treating” was just about over, which wasn’t good news, but heck I was a little tired from all of the walking with my tail swaying. We must have visited at least 10 houses. Our last stop had the noise of a barking dog in the background.

I was a little afraid of dogs, due to the fact that one of our neighbor’s dog had bitten me once before.

I approached the door with caution. The dog was really barking at this point. When the door opened I saw the dog, which didn’t appear to be that large, but it sure had a big mouth. Somehow after the owner told me that the dog didn’t bite it escaped heading right for me. (I’m sure I looked like a small deer in headlights!) Of course I did what any 7-year-old kid dressed like a cat would do. I ran, with tail swinging in tow. The dog lunged and became attached to my tail.

I could see my father running toward me, but it seemed as though he was in slow motion. At this point the tail ripped off, but unfortunately the fishing line didn’t break. So now I had the latched dog in tow.

Things couldn’t get much worse.

I had dropped my brown bag and now had a dog attached to my tail.

I finally met up with my father and he immediately picked me up leaving the small dog still hanging. The dog owner apologized as he removed the dog from my tail. The rest of the story is easily figured out, we went home and the candy haul for this particular house was unbelievable.

Way back in the good old days while on the pickle isle in Lester Claxton’s Wilmington Island grocery store The Piggly Wiggly I was approached by an older women. She asked, “Are you Captain Sherman Helmey’s child?”

I replied, “Yes!” And then she said, “I have a funny story to tell you! While I was taking my grand children Trick a Treating last night I stopped by your father’s house to let my grand’s knock on his door.

Your father answered with a smile on his face. I could tell he was complimenting the children on their costumes. I watched as he carefully dropped candy in their bags. I heard them thank him and watched as they came down the steps with their heavy bags. Heck I thought, what did Captain Helmey give them? Must have been all of his candy?

Well, as it turned out your father didn’t have any candy. Apparently he had eaten it or forgot to purchase it.

However, my grandchildren did not walk away empty handed. As soon as they got back to the car they showed me their unusual haul while sporting big smiles. He had dropped two cans of Vienna sausage and sardines in each bag.

Since the kids weren’t ever allowed to eat such stuff, this gift was as popular as the candy! Heck, one child remarked, its exotic food.

Now, where in the world they got that word from I will never know! And I just wanted you to know that your father was a hit with my grandchildren!”

I am so happy that her grands got the good stuff, because I had already been told by another lady that her children had gotten a can of corn and stewed tomatoes. The fact of the matter is she was serving corn and tomatoes for dinner!

So if you run out of candy, just open up your kitchen cabinets, and pick out some exotic can goods!

And Happy Halloween!

Capt. Judy is a local captain. She can be reached at 912-897-4921 or Fishjudy2@

Sign up for our E-Newsletters