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Hurricane Party for Desert Dwellers on Vacation

Hurricanes Rare for Emery County Residents

Capt. Brian Harrington helps Rick Thomason hold the big red fish caught at Pamlico Sound.

Three Emery County men recently experienced weather never seen in Emery County. Rick Thomason, Shannon Hiatt and Rick Rasmussen, all of Emery County had planned a fishing trip to North and South Carolina. What the men had planned for three to four months, was nothing close to what they experienced.

During the trip, all three men caught many fish even as Hurricane Isabel was bearing down on the North Carolina coastline. The impending storm was bringing rough weather and enormous surfing waves. Not many desert dwellers have the opportunity, or the bad luck, to experience the ferocity of winds carried by a hurricane.

Hiatt's brother, Marty Hiatt, was the captain of the fishing boat that took the men out to fish. The captain expected the trio to get in some fishing between storms, and they did. They fished in Pamlico Sound and were successful in catching 35-50 pound Red Fish. It was all catch and release, but they landed 15 fish the first day and 25 the second day out.

On the third day Captain Hiatt took the trio 50 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean where they caught two Wahoo and 32 Mahi-Mahi (dolphins). So the three guys from a high desert state that is in a five year drought, were able to live through and tell about the biggest hurricane of the season on the East Coast.

After the fishing expedition, the group spent many hours helping the businesses on the coast to board up and secure their property for the impending category two storm.

Rick Rasmussen holds the 50 pound red fish he caught at Pamlico Sound.

Most of the damage during a hurricane is from the wind blown debris and the flooding. The Emery County men did all they could to help the residents and business people prepare. Rasmussen, a Cleveland resident, spray painted 'Hurricane Isabel, 9/16/03, Utah Boys" on one piece of plywood he had nailed up to cover a window in a local business.

The actions of the Utah boys caught the attention of a newspaper in the area and a photographer snapped Rasmussen's photo while he was spray painting the plywood and the photo appeared in the local newspaper, Wilmington Star. Rasmussen said, "This is the first hurricane I've prepared for, we don't get many of these in Utah."

Hiatt said, "We just snuck in between storms and did some offshore fishing for dolphin, tuna and marlin. Also, we caught catfish at Santee Cooper in South Carolina.

"My brother and also Capt. Brian Harrington took us out. It was one of the best fishing trips ever and we flew home just before the hurricane hit the area," said Hiatt.





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