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In 1983 we made the move to Houston to continue work for the Singer Link Co. which later became Raytheon, as the Program Manager for the F-16 Training System and later as Director of Programs. Many days were spent fishing Galveston Bay and jetties for Speckled Trout and Red Fish. Saltwater fishing presented many new challenges for both the use of live bait and artificial. Many of the things learned here would later be applied in Striper fishing. In the quest for more fish and bigger fish I was introduced to offshore fishing. This fast became the fishing of choice and many days were spent 30 to 40 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico. Again a whole new learning experience.
Retirement came in 2005 and moved from the coast to Kerrville, Texas in the Texas Hill County. This area is known for hunting and not fishing so I took to the woods. I do manage to do some fishing, taking groups of men from the both the VA and State Hospital bass fishing once a week. This was a very rewarding experience as I learned that the best part of fishing is the fellowship and seeing the smile on some ones face. That is really what fishing is all about, the joy that it can bring to a person that needs a little joy in their life.
We selected a pontoon boat that is rigged for fishing. Our first summer on the lake in 2012 was yet another learning experience. Day after day was spent watching others catch fish and I could not get a bite. I followed several guides, watched what they were doing and tried to duplicate their technique. I like to fish with artificial bait but everyone was using live bait. I tried to net bait and did catch some, but just could not keep them alive long enough to get them on the hook. I ended up buying shiners, which survived in the live well. That summer I did manage to catch 3 or 4 stripers. As I headed back to Texas for the winter I knew I had to find a way to keep bait and I knew I needed to improve my electronics from an old Lowrance B&W fish finder.
Over the winter I spent many hours studying on how to keep bait alive. From what I found, the bait tank had to be round, the water had to be moving so as to purge the gills of the bait and the water needed to be filtered. Water temperature is also important. Many of the same things needed to keep shrimp alive. I found a fisherman on YouTube that had a design for a live well that used a plastic trash can with a thru the hull bilge pump and a water filter. This was easy enough to make and met all the criteria I was looking for. One other thing read and I do not remember where, is that the water must be spinning counter clockwise as the bait always swim clockwise and they need to be swimming into the current. Who knows!
Its back to SML the end of June 2013 armed with plans for a live well, a new Lowrance fish finder and hopes of bettering last year’s catch. The live well worked great, I was able to keep Alewifes alive for as long as two or three days and the new fish finder was great. Being at mid-lake and with a pontoon boat limited fishing to the area from the bridge to the dam and up the Blackwater to Gills Creek. The first month back at the lake we had our grand-kids from New Mexico with us. Our 10 year old grandson Andrew is an avid fisherman and was able to land his first Striper while fishing up the Blackwater. He was thrilled as I was.
I joined the Smith Mountain Striper Club in July of 2013. As I read the first news letter I saw the profile of Bruce Bernholdt and looking at the pictures realized that Bruce lived in the same condo complex. I contacted Bruce and we attended the next Striper meeting together. In the coming months Bruce and I, joined at times by my son Geoff and other friends enjoyed many mornings fishing, telling stories, and laughing not to mention catching our share of fish.
Now my new challenge is to learn how to catch Stripers with artificials. My son and I have had some success using silver spoons, Alabama and umbrella rigs but we have a lot to learn. Next summer’s challenge.
When not spending time with family and friends, fishing or hunting I do volunteer work at the VA Hospital and State Hospital while in Texas and at the Agape Center in Moneta. As time permits, I also do woodcarvings of wildfowl.