Fishing is a sport many turn to for reflection and some time to bond with nature. I’ve always said that anglers are the quintessential optimists. While many folks don’t catch all the fish they want, or fish as big as they’d like, that mentality for just one more cast is what keeps them interested and coming back to the sport.
Fishing has been in my blood since I was born. As a baby, just a week old, my parents put me in a boat to take me down the Chassahowitzka River to our cabin on the river, where I spent weekends and time hunting and fishing. From the first time I can remember anything, it was about fishing. I can’t picture myself being any other way.
I love the solitude of the outdoors and being on the water, yet, I can be just as happy at times enjoying it with friends, family, and clients who are even experiencing it for the first time. The sport transcends age. Age is no barrier. I know folks in their 90’s and those not even of school age who love to fish. It’s not always about catching fish to take home for dinner, but about the experience of what nature has to offer and her sheer beauty. The fish dinner has always been a bonus for me.
Along that vein, see the attached photo of 13-year old Taylor Simpson, of Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota, proudly hoisting up a lunker largemouth that he caught on a Rat-L-Trap crankbait in a neighborhood pond.
When I’m not on the water, I’m always checking my equipment, especially when I’m not busy. I run a stocking through my rod’s guides to make sure all are in good shape and not cracked or chipped. I check all bearings in reels to ensure they are working properly and maybe put a drop of oil where needed and then check to make sure lines are not frayed.
Every time I get in my boat and launch it, I make sure the bilge pump is working. I check all the safety gear to make sure the fire extinguisher is good and has pressure, the lights on life jackets work, and the lights in the boat itself are working. I check trailer tires for pressure and wear and lights that might need attention or replacement. All of these things, whether they are small or large, can turn into big problems if left unattended, so when I’m not busy, and especially when I am, I make the time to check these little things to make certain they don’t become big things.
Good fishing, my friends. Be safe. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!
Capt. Ray Markham