By Elaine Henson
Andrew Emile “Punky” Kure, Jr.
– Part 4
After the May to September fishing season came the Fall fishing in October and November on the Atlantic Coast. Boats would come from Louisiana and the Gulf region as well as from the Atlantic seaboard. Punky would start at Hatteras on Monday morning moving south about 10 miles a day all week down to Cape Lookout.
He would fly about 20 miles off shore in 200-300 feet of water. They would look for menhaden in schools that could be a mile across. Seventy-five boats would fish for a week on one school moving south and you could hardly tell there were any gone. The boats would take the catch to the five or six factories in Morehead City and two in Beaufort that processed the fish.
The fish were larger in the fall and more plentiful since they were migrating south and spawning too. So, fall fishing was more lucrative for all involved.
In 1968, Punky left the Mississippi River and Gulf fishing for fish spotting in the Chesapeake Bay area. He was based in a little town called Reedville, Virginia, at the mouth of the Potomac River. Reedville didn’t even have a stop light but did have five fish factories and a row of mansions along the shore built by boat captains.
The boats averaged 200 feet in length and were now made of steel and had a refrigerated hold to store the menhaden. Each boat would have a crew of 30-38 and still used two purse boats and nets to catch the fish.
He spotted fish in the Chesapeake area from May to September and then October and November for fall fishing until 1981 when he retired from fish spotting and flying professionally.
During his fish spotting years, the Kures were managing several rental cottages facing the ocean just south of the Kure Pier. Those cottages had belonged to his Uncle William, also known as Cap, who died in 1948. After Cap died, Punky’s parents managed the cottages and lived in the largest one. Punky and Jean took them over after his parents died.
In the early 1960s, they were sold and moved to make room for the new Kure Motel. In 1963 the first building was finished as pictured in this post card showing the pier in the background.
There were 6 units with 2 bedrooms, kitchen, living room and bath. Punky, Jean and Linda lived in the #1 unit. Later they added a second building that faced the first 6 units. Then they built a two-story living quarters/office on the front of their lot facing Fort Fisher Boulevard. Downstairs was the office where guests could drive up and check in. Also, on that floor was their living room, kitchen and Punky’s hobby room where he kept his Civil War finds. Upstairs were three bedrooms and baths. During January through April, when he was home from his fish spotting, Punky was busy with maintenance of the motel.
In 1973 they sold the motel. Later owners added second stories on the first two buildings and have added a third 2 story building. It is still in operation as South Winds Motel at 109 Fort Fisher Blvd, S.
Current South Wind Motel
Next month, Part V
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