For many of us, “becoming” a fisherman isn’t necessarily a choice we give a lot of thought to. Often we’re handed a rod when we’re young, and if we’re lucky, we never really set it down. But there is a difference between becoming an angler and being an angler… and so many men and women I’ve met in my travels have proven time and again why anglers, and all outdoorsmen for that matter, are a type of human being you want on your side, in your corner and who, more than anything, you’d like to share some of this beautiful thing called life with. There are hundreds of times in my life this much has been proven true, but here are ten that are particularly memorable.
10. When I was fishing my way around the country in 2010, a marine artist and angler in the Florida Keys, named Pasta Pantaleo, noticed that I was sleeping in my Jeep in bar parking lots . He offered me his couch, and although I don’t think he realized I’d be there for the better part of a month, waiting on a celebrity to interview, he never once suggested that my company was anything but welcome.
9. On that same journey, a guy named Chris Senyohl, a guide in Seattle, put me up for more than a week and took me salmon fishing, sea-run cutthroat fishing, and even let me tag along for a pheasant hunt.
8. In this past year at Emerson, a professor (and angler) named Gian Lombardo has taken my effort to raise money for the Melanoma Research Foundation, and helped me turn it into an academic endeavor to give it added depth and purpose.
7. That effort wouldn’t be possible without a precedent set on Catch a Cure, thanks to Todd Smith and the guys at Outdoor Sportsman Group.
6. When I was an intern at Field & Stream, the then assistant web editor (now fishing editor) Joe Cermele made sure I wasn’t lost in the shuffle: He invited me fishing more Fall weekends than he didn’t, and when he was busy, he always made it a point to pull up a map online, and give me suggestions about beaches to fish.
5. In 2009, the guys at On The Water Magazine had more faith in a young aspiring editor than, at the time, he had in himself.
4. When I returned from the road, a guy named Brian McClintock invited me on board a publishing project he and his team was working on at the time called GoFISHn, and for almost two years, I got to live the dream: To write for a living.
3. I have three cousins, one a month younger than me, one two years younger, and one three years younger, all anglers, who for as long as I can remember, have stayed in touch, shared a laugh, and never failed to lift my spirits.
2.That multi-state fishing mission (#10) would not be possible were it not for a guy named Gerry Bethge at Outdoor Life, who believed a 23-year-old kid who claimed he was going to fish his way around the country, and gave him the means to do it.
1. My father, a man who by all accounts spent his share of time in woods hunting as a young man, never for a second discouraged me from chasing the dream of writing about the water.