How do I begin? "Well, begin in the beginning, and tell it from your heart," Mom would say...
I've known Joe Malat for - I'm only guessing - going on 15, 20 years. We go waaaayyyy back. Joe was the Exhibits Curator at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, and I was (always have been) a Marine Science Illustrator. When it came time for the state to finally renovate the facility, I landed the job to illustrate all of the graphic panels, including hundreds of IDs. It was a massive task. The blueprints alone weighed ten pounds...
Joe and I worked closely for well over two years on the project, often calling, faxing, mailing (those days were prior to email!) every day. He was detail oriented, exceptionally diplomatic and easy to work with. He is as nice as the day is long. He appreciated my dedication, and in return, I would turn cart-wheels to make him happy. We both wanted the same thing: the best exhibits we were capable of.
When the renovated aquarium opened, he invited me and my family to a personal behind-the-scenes tour. The boys were very young, but they still remember being above the big tank and watching the green sea turtle surface, breathe, dive. In the galleries, the boys ran from tank to tank, while I watched the visitors point to the fishes, then to my paintings, then back to the fishes. I knew I (we) had made an impact. On the way out, I counted the many different license plates in the parking lot.... Folks from dozens of states had come to visit, to learn, to marvel.
Joe and I stayed in touch over the years and I continued to work with him on an as-needed basis. He went on to become the aquarium director - a much deserved assignment. All the while, he honed his surf fishing skills, photographed and wrote about his passion, and ran an Outer Banks surf fishing school.
Last year, he retired, left the aquarium and moved to Florida (JEALOUS!!). Recently, he published his second edition of Surf Fishing. Last week, a signed copy of this book arrived in my mailbox. (It won't be long before a copy of my book arives in HIS mailbox!)
Anyway, for a book of 44 pages, it is chocked full of information about how to successfully catch commonly targeted surf fishes: Where, When, How, Tips, Size. From Florida pompano to Striped bass. Joe also discusses tides, currents, beach formations, gear, rigs, baits... The book is accurate, up to date, compact, and full of personal insights.
If you like to surf fish, buy this book. Joe knows his stuff.
(The below link is to his older book. The above is to his latest version. Happy reading!)