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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