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Sunday, April 11, 2010

6th out of 49 boats

Fished the 2nd Pamunkey mini series today with Steve. We had a good morning of fishing and brought our limit of 4 fish to the scales. We totaled 8.61lbs, which landed us a pay day for 6th place out of 49 boats.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mr. Turner

Had the pleasure of taking out a very hard working American, Joe Turner. We caught 5 Stripers, as small Flathead, a few small Blue Cats, one American shad, 10 Hickory shad and all the herring and white perch you could ever want.

All in all a very nice day to be on the water with a great guy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My man, Hayward!

The 83 year old didn't disappoint!!! I had the wonderful pleasure of taking out Hayward, who I met at Bass Pro Shops.(see earlier blog) The early morning Striper bite was on right from the start. I certainly hope that I live til 83 and I pray I can still fish. At the end of the day Harold looked at me and told me I was a good man and he loved me... What else could you ask for in life? Bringing joy by doing something I love...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lindsey Vonn Sighting at Massanutten

Anne and I were invited to spend a weekend at Massanutten with some friends. We rented a house near the ski lodge named the Gobbler's Roost. It has been years since I've skied and this was to be the first time for Anne. I can't resist an opportunity to reflect on the weekend, even if it comes at the expense of my wife...sorry Honey, I love you. :-)

This was my first trip to the slopes at Massanutten, so to be honest I didn't know the best place for Anne get a quick lesson. After finding the kiddie area, Anne met the best looking, most physically fit trainer on the know...ME. HA HA HA it's my story! After showing her how to snap into the skis we began with a quick lesson on snow plowing. Those of you who ski a lot now have a better idea how long it has been since I've been on skis. The term "snow plow" is no longer used...the new young person hip version is referred to as pizza slice.

Anne is now equipped to enjoy her first slop in the practice area. Some of you can still remember how a 1 degree slope over 100 feet can leave one terrified. Off she goes with a few screams, down the slope and partially up the strategically placed snow mound at the end of the practice area. So far so good. We make it over to the conveyor belt which will return us to the "top" of the practice area. Keep in mind, all one must do is push ones self onto the belt and stand up straight. I lead by example and show Anne how to board the belt. She follows and soon there are problems. I look back and see a scene that could only be described as a game of twister gone bad. Her skis are still moving, yet one pole is on the deck and her other hand is holding the support rail which is not moving. Down she goes and the attendant stops the belt. Anne struggles to get up and I snap out of my skis to assist.

Between me and the attendant, we get her back on her feet. The belt begins again and we continue to the top without additional embarrassment. After perfecting the art of the "pizza slice" I feel she is ready for the beginner slope. A whole new set of problem are introduced here. Ski lift entry, ski lift exit, larger slopes and more targets to name a few. Well the lift entry went well but the exit...not so good. Down she goes again and still to this day some believe I should have asked the attendant to stop or slow the lift down at the top...jury is still out on that one.

We prepare to descend the beginner slope together. I start down the hill and stop to watch her descend the first little slope. It is at this moment that I see none other than the Olympic Gold metal winner, Lindsey Vonn. Somehow my wife has disappeared. Where did she go? What has happened to her and everything I have been working on teaching her over the past hour? You know like control, pizza slice, snow plow, how to fall gracefully, etc.

Then is dawns on me...that wasn't Lindsey, that was my wife. What the "#&*@" is she doing? Why are both her skis parallel and pointed straight down the hill? Why is she still standing? Why is she picking up speed? Holy $hi^, why is she turning down that slope? At this moment, I call upon my inner strength and summons the Bodie Miller in me. I'm yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs. Just fall, sit down and slide it out... To no avail, she continues to steam down the hill. She is on her own at this point as she quickly approaches the big orange sign that reads "SLOW." Suddenly, I believe she realizes that there is no other way out of this devilish ride than to wipe out. And that she does... Skis, poles and powder are flying everywhere and I just know that she had killed herself and now I'm going to have to explain this one to our daughters. I expect to find her crying and holding some part of her body that is reeling in pain.

I approach and find her stunned but okay. I ask her what the heck she was thinking. Why had she suddenly forgotten everything we practiced. All she could say is she was channeling her inner Lindsey Vonn. And yes folks, it was said with a smile.

We enjoyed the rest of the night and she skied most of the next day as well. I'm not sure if she will ever admit it, but I think she had the time of her life. I think she enjoyed doing something physical in the outdoors. Next step is to get her to like fishing, but I'll take this little victory for now.

Til Next Tide,

Capt. Ralph

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Another day without fishing...

Let me preface this blog with an appeal for your patience...

For those of you that know me, this will come as old news but the fact is I'm out of a job. Some days I think I'm dealing with it and others I feel like I'm losing my mind. I enjoy the extra time I have with my girls and selfishly I hope that I remain unemployed until spring gets here. That way I can experience the "inhale" of the lakes and rivers here in Virginia. No other way to explain it, they just come alive.

However, each day I find myself confused. Confused about what it is that I really want to do in this one life I have to live. Ever feel that way? What leaves me like this is I've experienced what it is like to make over 6 figures a year. Don't get me wrong, its nice to have things...nice things...nice homes...nice clothes...nice toys...etc. However, a recent experience of mine makes me questions all that, for lack of a better word, STUFF. Let me try to explain.

Last weekend, I was in Bass Pro Shops looking at some discounted tackle in a bin on the main isle of the store. An older man walks up and starts looking in the same bin. I ask him how he is doing. He looks at me, as only older men can do, and asks me if I've seen any frog baits. I reply, "yes sir, just a second ago I saw some white frogs over here." I rummaged through the bin and found the frogs and I threw them his way. The old man comes closer, he explains his hearing isn't very good and asks me to speak up. Long story short, 20 minutes go by as we exchange fishing stories. I tell him that I'm a guide on the local waters and his eyes light up. We talk about big catfish and stripers. It isn't long before my wife and children find me talking it up with a complete stranger. The old man looks at me and says, "I got a feeling about you...I really like you." He continues, "listen, not too long ago I inherited a lot of plastic lures like these in this bin from a dear friend that passed away." He asked me if I'd like to have them.

Remember people, I didn't know this guy 20 minutes ago... To say the least...I'm honored. Honered, that a complete stranger can find me so trustworthy with baits he had inherited from a friend that has passed. Seriously, is there much more of a gift that one could bestow upon me of all people?

The following Saturday I find myself, with wife in tow, in his living room talking more about fishing. I bring my laptop to share my on the water experiences through pictures. He sits there in amazement and expresses how he loves to fish. To quote him, again as only an old man can do... he say "I could fish eight days a week." Boy does that point hit home with me. I feel the same way my friend.

During our visit, he offers me a large container of plastic lures. I graciously accepted them and trust me, I don't take this lightly. I think, if only these lures could talk... The person that passed these on to him(by the way, his name is Harold) was certainly a smallmouth fisherman. The offering included tons of Yamamoto grubs, creature baits, lizards and helgamites.

Back to the line of this blog. This event got me thinking...Why have these lures been passed to me? Why me? How me? I'm not sure how you feel about religion or really what your beliefs are about life Great thing about living here in America is you are free to choose and follow whatever you believe. Yet, I'll share with you that I believe in God. In addition, I believe God speaks to us. For you cynical type, I don't mean God speaks in voices like you and I exhibit. Yet, it comes in the form of our experiences. Each of us has the opportunity hear this guidance and act accordingly.

To sum it up, I take from this that I may be doing the right thing by starting to advertise my guide service business. Six figures could not replace the honor that I felt when I received Harold's gracious gift. Nor do I feel it would replace the satisfaction of sharing the rivers with someone new. The smile on the face of someone who had never experience the outdoors and all of its wonders. the end of the day the business is mine. No corporation could even claim it from me. It's more than just's sharing your passions with people and hopefully planting a seed which will bloom one day. Will it take off from day one? Who knows, but I've got to try...

I hope to take Harold fishing one day this spring. Frankly, I don't care if he pays me... He has given me more than he will ever know. I'll sure reserve a space on my web page of him holding a fish that will produce a smile of a lifetime.

Til next tide...

Capt. Ralph

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ever have one of those days?

Ever have one of those days when you feel as if you gave it your all only to have the wind taken from you sail? I seem to have too many of these recently...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fished today on the James River with John. Put in at deep bottom and found water temps of 39 to 40 degrees. So upriver we headed to the barge pits in the hot water discharge. Towards the back we found water as warm as 60 degrees. John had his favorite little fire tiger bait on what started putting a hurting on me early with a fury of small bass. Before we came out of the back I managed a nice 2+ pounder. We turned the corner and into the barge graves we went. Found several nice fish in their and lost some REALLY nice ones. Someone please tell me how so many crankbait fish get off. I mean there are 6 hook points on these things, WTF!

It was nice to feel the heat of the sun and even better to share it with a great guy in John. We had a blast and I hope we can do it again soon.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fishing report.

Well, good news...bad news...

Bad first - The first Pamunkey Mini Series Tournament, scheduled for Feb 21st, has been cancelled due to extremely poor ramp conditions. After fishing the Pamunkey on Thursday, I informed the tournament director that there was no way the Williams landing could handle 20+ boats due to the snow/ice melt. With only one way in and one way out, conditions would have deteriorated quickly with high trailer counts.

Good news. A fellow competitor in the Pamunkey Mini Series wants to go pre-fish for the James tournament on March 14th.

Expecting it to be a rather nice day on the water compared to late. Mid 50's is always welcome this time a year. I hope to find some water temps in the lower 40's. Lipless cranks, slow-roll spinnerbaits and a flippin stick will be within arms reach. Hope to find some fish transitioning out of the deeper winter holes and up onto adjacent flats to feed.

Some people think I'm crazy, but let me tell you this...conditions may be cold be this is a great time of year to catch a bass of a lifetime. Let's hope the sun shines on us tomorrow.

Capt. Ralph