Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Angling Heros - Vol 1

Defintley a boring week for me around the shop as things have officially slowed down and I'm stuck in the ordering mode. Won't whine about it too much as I guess there are lots of folks that wouldn't mind trading places with me right now. But, a quick escape for me, as for you...is the blog and the inner working of that thing which I call my brain and which my wife swears does not exist.

Anyway, I have a lot of "heroes, " many of whom have nothing to do with angling and their praise and stories have no relevance to this audience. But, there are a ton of anglers out there that I do have a lot of respect for and that have made a lasting imprint on me and all things that I perceive in angling. So, I thought I'd start mentioning them from time to time here and a little story about what it was that they did that made an impact on me. I'll try to do one of these once a month or so.

I grew up in Dallas - not my fault - and spent most weekends on or around Cedar Creek Lake in east Texas. Countless hours of my time were wasted during the week spent in a small, all boys Catholic school (Cistercian Preperatory School) while my mind was on the Bass that inhabited Cedar Creek Lake. I probably didn't fish as much as I think I did, but I remember always wanting to be fishing rather than be sitting in school. Of course, this changed my sophomore year when I realized girls were nice. Some of the best memories I have of being "young" though were fishing with my dad on Cedar Creek and Lake Fork in east Texas.

Lake Fork was a "new" lake back then, managed and designed with trophy bass fishing as a primary goal. It's a very classic Bass lake with countless coves and bays with lillypads and standing trees, making for an overwhelming abundance of holding water for Bass. Dad took me fishing there a few times and we used a local guide there named Richard McCarty.

This was my first exposure to a fishing guide and he probably inspired me more so than anyone to actually want to be a fishing guide. He was probably in his early 30's at the time and was driven by fish like few I've ever met. We'd meet him for breakfast at some little marina ("the minnow bucket?" in the pre-dawn hours and usually fish until near dark. Unlike trout guides, the bass guides there would run the trolling motor and fish at the front of the boat. Kind of bizarre in my mind now, but seemed normal at the time. Anyway, the guy was as fishy a person I've ever met and he knew where and how to catch bass.

We went out with him several times over the years and he taught me persistence, to look for patterns, and that you don't need to worry about how to get a fish out of heavy cover until you hook 'em. Though my dad and I fished the lake a few times on our own, we never had the success that we had with Richard and the value of a good guide was instilled in me at an early age.
The largest bass I've ever actually held was this one that went just shy of 10 lbs. I've caught some 7-8 pound fish, but nothing like this behemoth. In the years since, fish like this are far more common than they were in in the mid 80's and hopefully I'll get the chance to get one of these on my own before I go the way of the Dodo. Richard actually caught this fish from the front of the boat, but I was just as thrilled to hold the fish and get my picture taken with it as I would have been if I caught it myself.

Funny how that is. There was a time when I could have cared less to take a picture of someone else's fish and would have been flat out pissed if they caught more or bigger fish than I. The last several years though, I'm just as happy to watch someone else catch a fish as I am to catch one myself. Maybe Richard taught me that too, we just didn't know it 'til now.

Don't know if he still guides or not, but he probably should. I know he's got an archery store in east Texas and is well known in that sport.

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