St. James Academy is an Episcopal parish school.

Thanksgiving Day Fox Hunt

Spectators sip on apple cider and inhale the scent of horse musk as the hunting horn calls. The Elkridge Harford Hunt Club riders and hounds are off to the fox hunt.

St James Episcopal Church in Monkton, Maryland, has hosted the Blessing of the Hunt, Blessing of the Hounds, since the 1920’s. This tradition is a family event that begins with a 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day church service.

Blessing of the Hounds at My Lady's Manor

On Thanksgiving Day, St James Episcopal Church hosts the Blessing of the Hunt at the Pony Ring in Monkton, Maryland.

Those that don’t attend the service, tailgate near the Pony Ring where the priest blesses the hunt at 11:00 a.m. This year, St James is requesting $20 for parking to support the Historic Preservation Fund.

 

The Blessing of the Hounds

Elkridge Harford Hunt Club equestrians prepare for the Thanksgiving Day hunt.

Mixing with family and friends while witnessing this blessed event is a special way to start the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving.

 

The White Marlin Open Tournament draws crowds.

White Marlin Open: Highest Bar Tab

The White Marlin Open on 14 St. in Ocean City Maryland

Spectators flock to the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Md.

I had sidestepped through throngs of spectators to attend the White Marlin Open, in Ocean City, Maryland, labeled the “World’s Largest and Richest Billfish Tournament.” As I stood on the pier breathing pungent bay air, I was hoping to spot the qualifying White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo, or Shark that could win big bucks.

A White Marlin Open boat

A fishing boat enters Harbour Island in Ocean City, Md. with their catch.

The boats churned in the harbor after a day of fishing, and I watched for flags flying from the outrigger that indicated the crew had boarded a fish. Boats that had caught fish docked and handed their catch over to the White Marlin staff that measured it and attached a rope below the tail fin and used a pulley to hoist the fish up in the air to weigh it.  The spokesman announced the length and weight, and if it was a contender.

Spectators watch the arriving boats in the White Marlin Open.

A boat entered in the White Marlin Open motors in the harbor.

By the end of this year’s tournament, the White Marlin Open had paid out over $4.7 million with over $3.3 million won by the three boats that hooked the qualifying White Marlins. The tournament drew visitors that supported the local businesses, and one of the bars ran an unusual contest that capitalized on the event.

Sunset Grille hosted the Teasers Cup. Participants, often White Marlin Open winners, competed in running up the highest bar tab, and they invited other customers to join in and drink on their tab. They bought champagne to drink and spray. Partiers shook champagne bottles, popped corks, and showered anyone close by.

During the week of the White Marlin Open, the boat, Goin’ In Deep, ran up a $20,550.05 bar tab and some say that they added a $6,200 tip. They drank champagne, that retailed for thousands, and liquor, beer, and wine. This crew had won the Teasers Cup five years in a row. Ironically, they were not among the 2017 White Marlin Open winners, but they ensured that the owners of Sunset Grille were.

 

 

 

Kingfisher

Deep Sea Fishing on the Kingfisher

The alarmed clanged at 4:30 a.m. and jolted me from a deep peaceful sleep. I pried my eyes open to darkness and questioned why I would want to repeat this trip especially when the weather report called for rain.

I jumped out of bed, threw on a bathing suit, shorts and a t-shirt. My husband and I filled the cooler with beer, water, sodas, subs and fried chicken, and we loaded the car.

We  headed for the Ocean City, Md docks to meet the guys at the sportfishing boat the Kingfisher.  By 5:30,  we loaded our coolers and boarded the boat.

The engines roared and diesel fumes permeated the salt air and we motored out of the Ocean City harbor.  As we left the inlet and picked up speed the engines thundered, our hearts raced while white waves churned and frothed in a V formation in our wake. I looked back and  watched the Ocean City ferris wheel fade from sight.

We advanced into the sunrise and wind whipped my hair and salt stuck to my damp skin. Fishing lines dragged in the water, and the mate dumped a stream of red chum or bait chunks behind the boat to attract fish.

The water changed from pea green to ink blue as the water deepened to about 100 feet. Wind blew and the boat bounced like a toy ship in a jacuzzi bathtub with the  jets on full force, and worried thoughts about boat emergencies flooded my mind.

Unlike our previous voyage when we watched a huge flat sunfish drift in the shimmering sea and the dorsal fin of a thresher shark slide by,  this day we white knuckled any vertical surface as the boat slammed into swells and the sky faded into clouds.  Some of my friends turned greenish-white, and one retched over the side.

Suddenly a fishing  line  zeeeiiinnnngggged as a fish took the bait and swam for its life.  Adrenaline pumped and queasiness was forgotten.

My friend Frank jumped in the fishing chair and the mate harnessed him in, so that he wouldn’t get pulled overboard during the fight. After about 20 minutes, the fish seemed to tire, and Frank began to reel  it in.  As we watched him fight the fish, a wave suddenly surged over the back of the boat.

The swell  soaked us and gushed into the cockpit. We grabbed buckets and quickly scooped the water out.  The  rapid rush of water startled us, but it did not dampen our exhilaration over hooking the fish.

Within 45 minutes, Frank brought a tuna up to the side of the boat. The mate reached over the rail and slammed a large hook or gaff  under the backbone of the fish and pulled it onboard. Dinner had arrived and it was time to head home.

Last week Kingfisher CaptainTommy Jones, our captain’s son,  won the world-renowned White Marlin Open billfish tournament. He caught an 83 pound white marlin and won about $1 million. The day that we fished, I never imagined that the Kingfisher would become famous.

Us on the Hatteras Fishing Boat

Bimini Fishing Trip and a Yacht With Old Men and Hookers

During the 1980s, many of my friends and acquaintances owned or worked for businesses in Ocean City, Md. Several of them traveled to Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton, Fla. to spend the winter. We visited our friends in Fort Lauderdale annually, and it was common to meet many of our acquaintances from Ocean City while we vacationed.

Doug on the Bow

Doug on the Bow

On one of our trips, as we dined in Fort Lauderdale, we met Brenner, an Ocean City boat captain and his mate. They had brought a 48-foot-Hatteras-fishing boat from Maryland to Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano Beach, Florida. After brief negotiations, five of us chartered the boat for the next morning to go to Bimini in the Bahamas.

Early the following morning, as we began our 50 mile journey the mate tossed red bait — or chum into the royal blue Atlantic to attract fish. The chum formed a bloody stream behind the boat and we dragged several fishing lines through it. When a fish took the bait the line zinged as it unreeled. The zing alerted us to jump into the fighting chair to battle the fish.

I am in the fighting chair

I am in the fighting chair

When it was my turn, the mate harnessed me in the chair to prevent me from getting pulled overboard while I reeled in the fish. He showed me how to keep tension on the fishing line, so that I would not lose the fish.

I struggled with the fish for about 15 minutes, and I needed to use both my hands on the reel to bring it in. I caught a barracuda that weighed about 60 pounds, but with the fight it felt like it was about 200 pounds. We also caught dolphin –the fish not the mammal. This was my first time deep sea fishing, and I loved it.

When we arrived in Bimini, we docked at the Bimini Big Game Club marina. We gave the fish to the locals to clean and keep. Barracuda is poisonous, but they cleaned it so that it was edible.

I am on the bow of the boat

I am on the bow of the boat

We left the boat and as we walked down Bimini’s main street in Alice Town, several locals approached us selling drugs. We ignored them, and we attempted to stop into the End of the World Bar. When we stepped onto the shack’s sand floor, a man dropped his pants. We left quickly. I wonder what would have happened if we would have laughed — probably not a good idea.

We eventually returned to our boat and the three guys of our group, Doug, Joe, and Gene grilled hamburgers. Lucky for them, our boat was docked next to a yacht occupied by about 10 older men who ranged in age from 55 to 70 and their attractive hookers.


As the guys grilled, they watched the hookers and men drinking and walking in and out of their cabins and into cottages near our marina. They put on quite a show for my friends, and I have never seen the guys enjoy grilling this much.

That evening we went to The Compleat Angler which was a bar and lodging that had been frequented by Ernest Hemingway. We played the famous Compleat Angler ring-toss game with our captain, mate and some of the locals. The object of the game is to toss a metal ring that is attached to a rope that hangs from the ceiling onto a metal hook affixed to the wall. The locals were experts.


In addition to playing the game, we watched the “old men and the hookers’ show” continue in the bar. A few of the girls even danced on the tables.

Catching fish, the older men and hookers, and the dropped pants created an adventure. Our impulsive Bimini visit resulted in lasting memories.

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse Recipe From Maryland Seafood Cookbook III

 

I don’t prepare bouillabaisse often, but this is my favorite recipe from Maryland Seafood Cookbook III. There are three Maryland Seafood Cookbooks that are available on Amazon.

Preparation: 2 hours

Yield: 6 servings.

Bouillabaisse

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2 bay leaves

1/2 tablespoon oregano

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon salt

24 ounces canned tomatoes, chopped

4 ounces clam juice

2 cups water

1/2 cup sherry

1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned, medium

1 pint Maryland standard oysters shucked

1/2 pound white fish fillets, cut into chunks

1/2 pound Maryland regular crabmeat, cartilage removed

6 Littleneck clams, scrubbed

6 mussels, scrubbed

1/2 pound of squid cleaned, cut them in 1-inch squares

In a large 4 quart pot, saute garlic, celery, onion and green pepper in oil until tender. Add spices and tomatoes. Simmer for 1 hour. Add clam juice, water, and sherry and simmer for 10 minutes. Add shrimp, oysters, and fish and simmer about 3 minutes. Add crabmeat, mussels, and squid. Simmer until clams and mussels open. Serve immediately.

 

I doubled the recipe and tripled the seafood (you can’t have too many clams or mussels with my family). I also added extra clam juice. In the future, I would add the clams when I add the shrimp because they took about 10 minutes to open. I would add the crabmeat at the last minute because it was already cooked.

The family loved it. Enjoy!

Calories: 300 per serving