Chummy Delight aside, trip to the Gulf proved bountiful

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 28, 2004

[7/22/04]ABOARD THE MATOU, Gulf of Mexico It’s Sunday. It’s early. It’s hot. Day 2 has begun.

The Saturday breakfast of biscuit and Sunny Delight forever now known as Chummy Delight which was deposited in the Gulf was replaced by just a biscuit.

You learn life’s lessons mighty quick when you hang off the side of a boat 40 miles from the nearest stretch of land, a place where death seems like a pleasant alternative.

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Things are much calmer now, my insides steady as the Matou, speeds across the Gulf’s silent waters in search of our next catch. Saturday landed us almost 50 trout, and Sunday’s would bring much more, hopefully.

We lost one of the fishermen after the first day leaving only four aboard, but one was an expert.

The captain, Tommy Hazleton, fished in the back of the boat while we stood in front in vain. Cast after cast netted the captain fish and netted us sore shoulders.

A move to the back of the boat sent the captain to the front. He began reeling in trout after trout in the exact spot we just occupied.

“Murph, get up here,” he bellowed, voice deep and commanding. “Toss it out here, let your line out a little bit like this. … I know where they are. We have the little (insert boat talk) pinned down.”

Bam! A quick jerk on the rod and reel and up popped a dynamic duo our nickname for catching two fish with one cast.

The helpless trout smashed against the floor of the boat, wriggling and writhing for an exit.

Next cast. Bam! Another nice one. This one, however, is crafty and as I yank the line to hoist him into the boat, he smacked against the side, off the hook and back to freedom.

“(Insert boat talk here) Murph, arc him into the (and here) boat. Don’t just lift him up, (and here),” the captain wailed. “You look like a 92-year-old grandmother shaking a broom at a hornets nest.”

Captain Hazleton is the kind of man who does things correctly, whether they are done right or not. Not only does he do things right, everyone else does them wrong. He got after his son, Tommy, and our other fishing companion, Chadwick, as much as he did me.

We took the verbal scoldings mostly because we had to, and he did have those fish pinned down. It was like Mardi Gras for Anna Nicole Smith, although it was not beads we were after.

By noon, the cooler was filled again, this time with 67 beauties. We estimated that 20 were lost to my lack of arcing skills and young Tommy’s inability to finish the kill.

Unlike Saturday’s return trip, I enjoyed a turkey sandwich and a pack of peanut butter crackers. I even had a Heineken; the thought of such on Saturday made me sick.

The water on the way back was as calm as anyone had ever seen. The gulf water resembled a mirror, flat and shiny as far as the eye could see. It was quiet and calm, and so were we, left to our own thoughts.

Plenty of thinking can get done gliding over open water. The massiveness of the gulf, the neverending skies, our own insignificance in the grand scheme of this thing we call life.


One boat’s wake later, we are all covered in water and the formerly tasty cheese crackers now are a soggy, salty mess.

One last reminder that Mom Nature is still in charge.

And we on that 30-foot boat really are small.

Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail him at

Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail him at