By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Yellow butterflies don’t lie
Capt. Judy fishing

OFFSHORE REPORT The yellow butterflies didn’t lie.

We have not been doing a lot of offshore fishing due to the fact that sea conditions have not been the best. But this past weekend, offshore fishing was very good even when an unusually high wave situation took place on Sunday morning. Heck, by the afternoon the waves were manageable. And here’s the thing the fish didn’t care whether it was rough or not they were hungry.

We caught 17 king mackerel in assorted sizes: snakes, slingers, teenagers, and gaffers! What was I using a bait? Well, old school baits! I was pulling pink, silver, and blue Drone spoons 30 feet behind #3 planers. The secret was to pull the spoons way back over 100 feet and pull them fast. My favorite pulling catching speed was 7 knots!

In the mackerel world, especially during this time of the year, when you got yellow butterflies flying around over the ocean you most likely got mackerel swimming down under. Many years ago, I will never forget the time that a marine biologist called me to tell me that yellow butterflies and king mackerel do not migrate together.

This is when I had to bite my tongue and say, I should not have said, “They migrate together!” I should have said, “Mackerel and yellow butterflies migrate at the same time!” Now I don’t have a PHD or any of those long titles that supposedly concrete the fact that I know what I am talking about. However, what I do have is about 55 years plus of some of the finest fish catching knowledge on board! So therefore, when I make these statements, “Yellow butterflies flying over the ocean mean that the kings are have arrived! Biting black flies mean that we are going to have a northeastern in 3 to 6 days.

Strange insects such as grass hoppers and moth types landing on your dash mean a hail storm is most likely is in your not so far away future.

The ninth wave is almost always the biggest. Catching a

Capt. Judy Helmey

Local charter captain

white bone porgy means that the current bottom feeding sequence is over. In our offshore world fish feed in a peeking order and the white bone porgy is the last to feed in this sequence.

I could go on and on, but I think you get my point.

AUNT HATTIE’S BROWN BAG THEORY My Aunt Hattie, my father’s older sister, always cooked the best Thanksgiving dinner. Her cooking abilities were unbelievable and her Thanksgiving meals took days to prepare. In fact during my younger years, if I’m not mistaken, all the ingredients including the bird, were raised or grown on her big farm.

However, the fruit that she used to make that unbelievable ambrosia was probably purchased from a stand right out there on Highway 17. I know that the pecans that went into this particular dish were picked from the farm, because quite often I helped with the gathering.

Bertha, who worked with my Aunt for as long as I can remember, was always there to help with the “Thanksgiving Cooking Bonanza.” I was always interested in how they made everything look and taste so good. Her personally grown vegetables were always the “prefect vegetable color.” They baked a coconut cake that was 6 tiers high. It never leaned or anything.

The turkey was always browned to perfection. Her secret was certainly a one of a kind at least in my book. She cooked the turkey in a brown grocery bag. The bird was put in the bag much like you would have put one in a state of the art “plastic browning in bag.” The drums always stuck out a little, but not enough to let them be exposed to direct heat. There was another weird cooking method that Aunt Hattie used, which I am still scratching my head about! The turkey was wrapped in a sort of gauze that pretty much look like some sort of a bandage. When the bird was cooked and unwrapped it also came out golden brown. However, when it was first put in the oven it looked like a real bona-fide “turkey mummy.”

The food wasn’t the only highlight of Thanksgiving Day. My Aunt Hattie always set the prettiest dinner table I have ever seen. She would always use her best china and silverware for this special occasion. The table was huge. It would seat at least 12 guests. There were high back chairs with big arm rests. When you sat in them you knew for a fact that you had to be someone special just to be invited.

The good news about my Aunt Hattie was that my father and I were always invited. It was a family tradition to spend Thanksgiving Day at her house. This particular dinner was always served at 2 p.m. sharp. You could tell when dinnertime was approaching, because everyone would start showing up. My father and I always arrived early so we could all watch the televised New York Thanksgiving Parade.

When it came time to eat everyone was gathered for a prayer. As a small child, I am sorry to admit, I always opened my eyes just to watch what every else was doing. At the end of the prayer all adults reached for their chair and proceeded to sit down. The children were all escorted to the kitchen where a special table waited for us, which fit our size perfectly. However, we would always talk about the day when we all would be sitting at the grand dinner table.

Now that I think about it, when I finally graduated from the kitchen to the main dining room it wasn’t all I thought it would be. I had to fix my own plate and wait for others to start eating. Our tea glasses were sitting in crystal holders, which were supposed to keep any sort of wet stains off the starched white tablecloth. Trying to eat and drink at the same time could be tricky, especially if you missed putting your glass back in the holder.

The food sure didn’t taste any different. It was still delicious, but somehow it wasn’t the same. This goes to show you it takes a lifetime to realize that in some instances “change and all that implies” certainly isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!. However, family traditions are what Thanksgiving Day is all about. Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Sign up for our E-Newsletters