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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    I've Been Away Awhile. I'm - - Baaaack!!
    Hey Gang!!

    The past 6 weeks has been a non-stop busy time for us down here on the Gulf. We went back to CO for a five day visit the end of February and then brought our little granddaughter Sage back with us for a week. Four days over in Orlando, Seaworld, Disneyworld twice, then lots of entertaining our little sweetie before Ellen flew back with her to bring her home.

    While Ellen was in CO, Scott flew out from Texas and he and Donuts drove over to help me batch it for three days. We shared some very good times, good discussions and good laughs here at Slush Puppie headquarters. We had a couple great days of fishing the bays too. The first day was rough on the crew at first because we were up until nearly 4 a.m. the night before, shootin the breeze. But fish have a way of making one forget they are sleepy and there were plenty of fish!!

    My thanks to the guys for flying and driving over. It was great guys! Donuts kept me company on the drive to get Ellie when she returned from CO and we pretty much solved the world's woes and the mysteries of affiliate marketing during our 45 minute drive. Thanks for the company Gunner!

    After the guys left, Ellen and I had some projects to catch up on, and of course I had to continue exploring the bays each day. I’ve been learning a lot about the back bays down here this year, and each time I explore new waters, we are finding more and more fish of every variety. A week after Scott and Dough left, our friends Sue and Fred from Colorado came down for our annual 5 day get together and the fishing, visiting, sightseeing and dinners were all a ton of fun. Got our friend Sue into a 5+ pound speckle trout, and we all caught loads of Spanish mackerel, trout, a few snook, Pompano, and a grouper.

    They left a week and a half ago. We had a bye week to work on the boat, do some more fishing, and move the Slush Puppie to her new slip at the marina. Great location. Monday evening Ellen and I took some appetizers over to the boat and sat aboard listening to the stereo, watching the sunset, visiting with the live aboard boater / neighbor next to us and enjoying a new Rum drink he made for us that night. We plan to have more of those!

    Then Donuts and John drove over this past Tuesday afternoon, spent the evening and we hit the water Wednesday for what turned out to be a VERY full day of fishing (and navigating)

    We were out in the gulf catching Pompano and Spanish Mackerel most of the afternoon after spending the morning in a shallow back bay, called "Bull Bay" where we nailed a ton of trout. But as it warmed up, the lack of a breeze in the back bay started melting us, so we decided to try a new area out in the gulf. The breeze alone was worth it. We were out a few miles into the gulf catching some bait fish, and while John worked the bait fish I decided to put on a live shrimp and test the water. Sure enough, a Pompano promptly gobbled it up and a great little fight ensued before boating this beautiful fish.

    Over the next few hours we probably caught and released 30 – 40 Pompano, 10 or 12 Spanish Mackerel and various other species. I wanted to try an area I had seen the Saturday before the guys came down, so we headed back into the harbor and out from Boca Grande. I had spotted a school of probably 2,000 or more Black Drum there a few days earlier that ranged from 20 – 50 lbs each, and I wanted to see if they were still in the area. That was around 5 in the afternoon.

    We got over to the spot I had waypointed on my GPS a few days earlier and did not see the school, so we decided to drift through using live bait fish and shrimp. Good decision…. We were soon landing more Spanish mackerel, and the fun continued. At one point Donuts was reeling in a Spanish Mack and I was standing next to him watching it. As the Mack got about ten feet from the boat this HUGE Drum came soaring up from behind and tried to eat it!! The mackerel are very fast swimmers, so he avoided the Drums jaws, but what a kick for Donuts and I. That Spanish mack was probably 22” long and weighed about 2 ˝ lbs, and that Drum wanted it like a Texan wants a grilled steak!

    As we continued fishing we looked out to the east and noticed black clouds and rain coming down about 21 miles to the east of us, which is where Ellen and I have our place in Punta Gorda. I called Ellen to see if it was raining at the house and she confirmed that it was. Funny thing… It was black 21 miles northeast of us, but clear blue and sunny where we were. I quipped to Donuts about how it was “good that we are here!” That came back to bite my back side.

    As we continued fishing I noticed an occasional boat heading up the harbor, but I figured the guys had driven 150 miles to fish, so we were going to stay a while longer. By about 6 the black had worked its way steadily around us and then all hell broke loose.

    I retrieved three rain suits, handed them out to the guys and said “it’s going to be a pain in the ass ride getting back to port, but it’ll be fun.” John smiled and said: “as long as you get us back safe skip.”

    We turned to take a course that would take us off the tip of Cape Haze and proceeded to head back. The seas had quickly turned to white capped waves coming from every direction and the rain was about as heavy a downpour as I have ever been in. As we held our course I turned to Donuts and said: “man we’re heading right into the heart of this one, does that look ominous out there or what?” The sky was now a deep dark grey, the wind was blasting the rain in our faces, and the sea appeared to be black except for the contrast of the white caps rolling over the waves. Being the good mate he is, Donuts said: “yeah it does look ominous, this is a cool adventure man.” I appreciated that he thought so too.

    After we had been on course for 15 – 20 minutes visibility deteriorated quickly. We could not see more than maybe 100’ in any direction and there were no visual reference points in sight. It was all instruments at this point, which I normally love. However, with the driving rain, neither the screen on the GPS or my eyes were able to get an accurate read on our course track. The problem with that is that for about a mile in both directions around Cape Haze there is a massive shoal that is less than a foot deep in places. Obviously, I did not want to bottom out in this storm and have to wait on high tide to free us up. I decided that we should head for shelter in Bull Bay and set course to get us there. That too turned out to be the right choice as the lightning was now moving closer. We needed to get back into a protected bay close to the trees and wait this storm out.

    As we pulled slowly into Bull Bay John said: “hey what is that over there? Is it a Dolphin?” Donuts and I both replied, “man, that’s a Tarpon!” It was a good sized one too. His dorsal fin was about 5 feet from his tail, so this guy was probably in the 140 lb class. Funny how a fish like that could make us forget the miserable storm blowing up around us, but I immediately put a baitfish on and cast about ten feet in front of him. No luck! But what a thrill to see the first tarpon of the season in a shallow back bay.

    We waited out the storm for about 45 minutes in the bay, and then as the sky began to lighten we could once again see around us. We called Ellen to let her know we were going to be getting in late, so she agreed to go pick up KFC for us and meet us back at the house. We were all drenched to the bone. When we finally got back to the house it felt fantastic to take a warm shower, put on some dry clothes and suck up some no trans fat KFC, mashed potatoes and slaw. Donuts and John left a little after 9 Wednesday night, and I think I hit the bed about 30 minutes after they left.

    It was by far our best fishing day so far this season, and on top of it, we got to witness natures beauty and awe, albeit a wet experience. Great outing as usual D. We’re on two weeks from now big guy!

    So there you have it. Kind of a nickel overview of what we’ve been up to the past several weeks. It hasn’t allowed me much time to be here, but now that things are back to normal I’ll resume offering my uncanny, insightful, inspiring comments and advice for the betterment of the neighborhood!! Oh, and we have an exciting new affiliate program in the works that will be ready in about 2 - 2 1/2 months, so be watching for the announcement, not that I won't remind you all as the time nears!!
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  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Welcome back, Alan! It hasn't been the same without you.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    You can say that again Michael. I think Alan being gone explains a lot. We can't do without him that is for sure. You can never go away again Mr.

  4. #4
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Welcome home Alan (and Donuts).

    Sounds like you had a helluva good time. Thanks for sharing in such detail. I love the storm adventure.

    Next adventure for Alan is writing a book, "My Fishing Tales." It'd be a breeze Alan ... just copy/paste.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
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  5. #5
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Ahhh...yes...Welcome back Alan - definitely not the same without you.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your "fish tales." While I have never been an avid fisherman, your story reminded me of many, many fine trips on the Chesapeake. Enjoy the rest or your wintering in the south. C'ya soon. (I've got a storm story I could swap with you. )

    - B
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  6. #6
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Welcome back, Alan.

    G.

  7. #7
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Alan Hamilton!

    Welcome Back

  8. #8
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    Welcome Back! Your having too much fun down there!

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamingoworld
    You can say that again Michael. I think Alan being gone explains a lot. We can't do without him that is for sure. You can never go away again Mr.
    Geez Oh Weezo Connie, talk about making a guy feel special. You just needed someone to pick on and my absence left you without a victim!

    Rex, Beach, G, Jonesy, Sal - you're too kind. Yes, we've been having a heck of a time down here this year and we still have another month + to go. But it's nice to finally have things normalized enough that I can stop back in to see what's been happening the past six weeks.

    As for the storm story, it was a trip. Man, nature is one kick ass lady!! I think my wallet is finally dried out, but my brand new cell phone's display still won't come on - so that sucks. We took pictures with my cell phone, but I have a feeling I may not be retrieving them. I'll find out when we take the phone back today or Monday.

    This coming week I'm hoping to chase Tarpon as they begin their annual migration into the harbor and back bays. A camera will be on board for the rest of the trip to record the adventures, so pics will be coming soon!
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  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Welcome back, Alan. You were missed!
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  11. #11
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Sounds like an adventure that is on my "bucket list". Am I too young for that? lol. Anyway, that fishing expedition sounds like one for the ages. There is just something about being out in nature that revives us. I know I felt a similar way when I visited Lake Tahoe a couple of years back. It was like with every breath I took there, I felt more and more alive.

    Glad to see you back here Alan. Now go grab a Red Bull and read up on what you have missed. Actually, I think I need one too and I haven't even missed that much. I think these are more addictive than coffee. (yeah, I call mine Red Bull too, even though it is the "generic" version, $1/can.)

    -sfcom


  12. #12
    Affiliate Network Rep Kim Salvino's Avatar
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    Welcome back, Alan!
    Kim Salvino, Client Services Director, Performance Horizon Group
    Reach me at kim.salvino(at)performancehorizon.com or on (443) 617-4036

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachy
    Ahhh...yes...Welcome back Alan - definitely not the same without you.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your "fish tales." While I have never been an avid fisherman, your story reminded me of many, many fine trips on the Chesapeake. Enjoy the rest or your wintering in the south. C'ya soon. (I've got a storm story I could swap with you. ) B
    Beach,

    Love to swap fish stories, see you in Boston, but don't say it and then not do it! C Ya in Beantown!!
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  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AM@4checks
    Welcome back, Alan!
    Thanks Kim!! ;-)
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  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfcom
    Sounds like an adventure that is on my "bucket list". Am I too young for that? lol. Anyway, that fishing expedition sounds like one for the ages. There is just something about being out in nature that revives us. I know I felt a similar way when I visited Lake Tahoe a couple of years back. It was like with every breath I took there, I felt more and more alive.

    Glad to see you back here Alan. Now go grab a Red Bull and read up on what you have missed. Actually, I think I need one too and I haven't even missed that much. I think these are more addictive than coffee. (yeah, I call mine Red Bull too, even though it is the "generic" version, $1/can.)-sfcom
    Thanks SF, there is something about being with nature that some of us can't explain. Been like that for 45 years and counting now!! Wow, simply WOW!!
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  16. #16
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Hamilton
    Beach,

    Love to swap fish stories, see you in Boston, but don't say it and then not do it! C Ya in Beantown!!
    Hey, it's the "storm story" I'll swap with you. Over a Dark & Stormy, of course. And we WILL be in Boston - reserved hotel rooms last week. My daughter is going to accompany my throughout the three days of Summit. She was with us for the stormy trip across the Chesapeake - she can help tell the tale.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7-days
    Welcome back, Alan. You were missed!
    Duh, yeah Ron, of course I was!!!!!!! I never complain, never bad mouth, and never met a red bull I didn't like. Plus, I think you are a quality OPM (an acronym for "outsourced program management": that was coined in the 1940's) I'm feeling frisky tonight!!
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