Published on April 6, 2021

Dad recalls memories of birthday deep-sea fishing trip

By Edward A. Forbes / The Bulletin

The things parents do for their children can sometimes be outright nauseating.

Birthday gifts evolve as they grow older. We went from Chucky Cheese to deep-sea fishing, ad nauseum, for son Wes’s ninth birthday wish.

It’s funny now, but many years ago, if I knew then what I know now, I may have rephrased my question.

When I inquired, mistakenly it turned out, what he would like for his birthday, he didn’t hesitate for one second and replied, “I want to go deep-sea fishing!”

The first order of the day was for me to arrange for a Saturday off from work. Then I called Captain Elliot’s Charter service in Freeport. I booked the next available Saturday on the double-decker boat and immediately called everyone to rearrange my work schedules because the Saturday I had chosen was not on Captain Elliot’s list.

I broke the news to Wes that the deal had been made, and we had a fishing trip scheduled as per his birthday wish. Daughter Chanie chimed in that she was going, too! “If Jaws gets you, he’ll have to get me, too!” she declared.
I called Captain Elliot’s and told them that my party had increased to three.

The big day arrived, we ate an early breakfast, and we loaded up and drove to Freeport to board Captain Elliot’s boat. The sky was cloudy; the air humid, the wind brisk. The Captain announced that swells were 3-4 feet, and we could reschedule if we so desired. Wes was too young to even consider next week. The answer was, “we are going today!”

We boarded our boat and found a bench close to the galley area door. They had a concession area that sold a small menu of food and drinks. We brought our own provisions and eagerly anticipated casting off and clearing the jetties on our fishing journey.

But when we cleared the jetties, it became obvious that they had underestimated the height of the waves. The roller coaster ride was about to begin.

The boat would climb to the top of a swell and then, nose down, would speed to the next one. Chanie was (and is) prone to motion sickness. She couldn’t ride in the backseat of a car and couldn’t read in a moving vehicle.

I’m more than a little certain she ignored the sign on the head door advising nausea and upchucking were to be done over the side of the boat, not in the restroom. She stayed inside, and the smell of hot grease augmented her discomfort. In her bilious condition, she staggered like a binge drinker after a two-day spree to find comfort in the head.

Wes fared better. He fished and vomited once over the side rail of the boat. My contribution was to bait his hook each time it was required. The boat would go to a spot and stop. We would fish until the Captain decided it was time to try another spot. Wes laid down on a bench against the wall of the cabin, where he fell asleep.

I stood there watching over him, trying not to throw up - and generally turned green. Breakfast ran up and down my esophagus but never escaped. Waves were breaking occasionally over our deck onto the upper-deck level.

e were not eating anything on this voyage, but the man fishing next to us was. He was having hot dogs and more than one. He would take the wiener and dip it into a jar of sandwich spread, put it in a bun and eat it. I tried to avert my eyes, but it’s like trying not to watch a train wreck; I couldn’t.

I would experience bouts of nausea, but he had no such issue. To this day I cannot look at a jar of that stuff without becoming nauseated.

Wes, proudly exhibiting his catch, showed no after effects. Chanie, wan and bleary-eyed, ate nothing for the rest of the day. The smell of food was enough to trigger nausea. I was on a liquid diet for the remainder of the day. We survived and made several meals of Wes’s catch.

Chanie abstained.

(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at eforbes1946@gmail.com or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)