I have had a lot of conversations with people over the years about the importance of networking in this industry. In the charter fishing business a lot of the clients we meet become so much more than just clients. As I was sitting here tonight reflecting on today there were a lot of degrees of separation that came to mind. Fishing has taken me to a lot of states in this country. I have formed friendships with people in nearly every state in this country. Today for instance is a great example, I spoke with the ladies from the Biloxi and Mobile boat show had lunch with the folks from operation BBQ relief and members of the Coast Guard, I stopped by one of my sponsors stores to drop off a gun for repair, I had conversations with with friends in the Department of Marine Resources, and finished the day off with texts of deer pictures and an invite to South TX to fish and hunt next fall from a client that has become a true friend.
I guess all of this is to truly say that fishing is so much more than just putting bait in the water. It’s forming relationships that will last a lifetime. It’s quality time in God’s creation with a spouse or your children. It’s life lessons taught in ways we could have never expected. I remember a fishing trip with my Dad when I was about my son’s age. That day I learned not to stick my fingers where they don’t belong. My Dad didn’t have to say a word. He was letting me work the stern mounted trolling motor and I hit the release button without realizing that my finger was under the motor. To a 7-8 year old boy that motor felt like 1,000 lbs. falling on my hand. I haven’t done that again since that day.
This past week I got a call from an old friend that had an idea to help some of our Coast Guard members along the Coast during their time of need. Jimmy’s grandfather put me on my first billfish years and years ago and Jimmy was a member of the Coast Guard. Marcio and I first met at the Home Builders Association “Carl Leggett” fishing tournament. We were also joined by James which attends the same church as me. In one short week these guys by the grace of God have managed to put together an event that will feed every family in the Coast Guard along the MS Gulf coast. During lunch today we planned out the final details for the event and enjoyed the company of the guys that joined us from the various Coast Guard stations. This Saturday a large number of people from all walks of life will come together to lend a hand to their neighbors. While none of this would have been possible without God, fishing is the mechanism that has allowed me to make bonds with all of these amazing people. It was amazing to hear so many people immediately say yes as we started describing what we were trying to do. Try to lend a hand when possible, be kind to your neighbors. “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” Galatians 6:9
If you are free this weekend and would like to participate we will be at First Methodist Church Gulfport from 9 AM until 5 PM on Saturday providing food for the guys and gals that protect our waters. If you would like to make a monetary donation get in touch with me or follow the instructions on my Facebook post.