June 20, 1936

My dad and me.
My dad and me.

Today, my father would have been 79. But this isn’t going to be some sappy tearful post about his attributes and accomplishments. The world if full of tremendous people and he was one of them. Rather, it’s about something he knew that it has taken me a while to learn. There are many wonderful things about being alive, and certainly we could all wax poetic on our particular favorites. But if life is undeniably about anything, it’s about work. (If you’re not of this mindset, try not working and see how long you’re still alive). I’ve been blessed to have this opportunity to raise money for a good cause, but it’ll take more work than I initially thought.

I did not, for example, know how drastically the Florida bass fishery changed in the summer, becoming an entirely different animal with lower water levels and soaring water temperatures. Finding and catching bass, or changing my approach, is going to take more work than I would have thought.

You know that moment when you first get in your vehicle in the summer and the internal temperature reading is some astronomical three-digit number because it has been sitting, baking in the sun? Then once you open the windows and get moving that number falls to something more accurate? In Florida in June… that number doesn’t fall.

And while fishermen and guides are sympathetic with my cause, everyone’s got a cause and sympathy is about the only thing that’s free. So rather than ramble on about the man, how he inspired and inspires me, I’ll do something he’d do in a difficult situation: get to work.

First Stop: Family

Family is a thing that, the older you grow, the more you appreciate it. When you’re young, the gang’s all there and there’s nothing to soak in or be grateful for. If anything, you’re miffed about having to wait for the bathroom or share the last slice of cake. But as years tick by you find that these people, who wouldn’t have any contact with you were it not for blood relation, are the heart and soul of your future.

So my first stop in Florida was to see my cousin, Chris Critelli. Chris, a few years younger than me, has been an avid outdoorsman his entire life. He has even gone as far as becoming a certified diver (now in training here in Jacksonville) so that he can spend even more time amongst fish than most of us anglers do.

Videos and pictures he has from dives all around the Southeast are incredible. Just seeing the sharks he comes into contact with up close on the screen is amazing. I’ll see if I can send along some videos to you guys going forward.

Without a boat, it was tough to dream up a scheme that’d find us bass fast up here, but it was good to have a place to land. I’ll be moving on from here, but that have that spot to land, that spot that never moves no matter where it travels, is a comforting feeling for anyone.

We talked about fish and Florida late into the night, with the occasional reference to some crazy incident in the past. But whenever you jump, it’s best to first make sure you have solid ground to land on, and I’m grateful I did.

Fish Forward.

Catch a Cure

This summer, in conjunction with the people at Outdoor Sportsman Group through Florida Sportsman, with help from people from Buff headwearSunology Natural Sunscreen, and others, I’ll be fishing my way throughout Florida to raise awareness about the dangers of prolonged sun exposure to anglers and everyone at risk. I’ll be showcasing smart ways to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors.  I’ll be hoping to raise what money I can for the Melanoma Research Foundation in the process as well. The details about the project are still in the works, but let me thank all of you in advance who read, watch or help. My father, after a two-year battle with the disease, passed from melanoma in 2013. I’m hoping, in his memory, to make a difference, no matter how small. Through education and self awareness we can prevent this deadly disease from taking more lives. My dad was one of my best friends and I miss him every day, and with “Catch a Cure,” I’m hoping that in the future, more 29-year-old kids have a father to call, see and spend time with because, through information, education and preventative measures, he’s still there. Whether you just read and follow my blog or you can actually contribute anything at all, your interest is sincerely appreciated. And if you’re in Florida and want to fish, don’t hesitate to let me know. I’ll be posting more details and updates here. – Rick

Richard N. Bach, Sr. and Jr.
Richard N. Bach, Sr. and Jr.