As a young child I grew up fishing in the Albemarle Sound & Perquimans River in Eastern NC with my grandfather and later my uncle when back in NC for summer vacation. While my memory is fading, I am pretty sure that on a number of occasions we caught "rockfish" as they are called down east - though smaller than those we generally catch on SML these days. There was also the occasional pond fishing trip with my family or when at Boy Scout camp, and then later as an adult a few trips on head-boats at the NC coast, though fishing was not a major part of my life again until that first trip to Smith Mountain Lake. Finding such an excellent fishery less than two hours from my home in Mebane, NC, it led to my wonderful wife, Carrie, allowing me to purchase our first boat in February of 2010 and then renting, and eventually purchasing a condo at the lake a few years later, which we use to enjoy SML's beauty as often as we can. Our children, Emily (13) & Matthew (11) both enjoy time at the lake - Emily is not much of a fisher-girl, but Matthew enjoys catching when the action is hot - though sometimes the pursuit of striper is a little slower than he enjoys and he would rather break out the ultra-light tackle and chase some blue-gill or crappie.
I first found out about the Smith Mountain Striper Club by picking up a newsletter at Captain's Quarters. I began to attend meetings in order to get to know others at the lake and pretty soon I was getting quite involved with Club events and assisting Bob Rowe with the newsletter. Soon I found myself on the Board as well as creating & maintaining the Club's new Website and taking over the Newsletter editor role from Bob, chairing the Preservation Committee, coordinating the Freedom Alliance events and participating on the Tournament Committee. I enjoy interacting with other Club members in these activities and helping to educate others on how to protect and preserve this great resource which we have the honor to enjoy.
I am primarily a live-bait fisherman as I believe big bait will consistently yield larger fish and I live for pulling big shad along the banks behind planer boards. There is nothing that will get your blood flowing like a bait being blown up on by a big fish, and early Spring and Fall are my favorite times to fish. However, I also enjoy mixing it up, breaking out the artificial lures for some spring-time night fishing or winter-time jigging - I fish year-round and enjoy the changing patterns that occurs throughout the year. I've also made few trips to Eastern TN as well as the Chesapeake Bay to chase stripers - each of which yielded my personal best - a 40" / 38 lb fresh-water striper from Eastern TN and a 45", 45.5 lb salty striper in the Chesapeake Bay. I have been lucky enough to catch several "citations" on SML with my heaviest being one right at 20 lbs and two at 37" - with the most recent being caught on my birthday this past April while the game warden was on the boat - that's a great story and memory.