show up at the dock, still wearing tennis shoes back then, but the white boots
weren’t far to follow.
Just out of
college and I am fired up about my first official trip as Down East Guide
As I pull up to the ramp, my
one customer is waiting, small igloo cooler at his feet, half a stinky un lit
cigar being chewed from the corner of his mouth below a big mustache.
A tent-sized red rain jacket covered up the
enormity that was Rick Goines.
soon as I swing through the boat landing and wheel around the 60 mph bass boat
from which I was guiding in those days, Rick is yelling at me.
didn’t know at the time that he wasn’t really yelling at me.
This may have been in the early days of his
hearing loss and to compensate for not being able to hear, he would raise his
I get the boat in the water Rick informs me:
“Beckwith, I’ve fished with a lot of guides before and I know how you guys
didn’t dare divulge that this was my first for hire trip.
went on, again, with voice raised loud enough that I and everyone else in the parking
lot heard it
are all alike.
You go here, you go
there, you fish a little here and you fish a little there.
Then at the end of the day, you go to the
Well, Beckwith, I like
action and you can just skip all the looking around and take me to the Glory Hole
slipped the boat off the trailer, told Rick to make himself at home and parked
the truck, wondering all along if I was cut out for this kind of berating.
left Lawson Creek Park and caught a livewell full of 3 inch menhaden just a few
yards from the dock.
Rick commented on
the large amount of bait we were bringing and if I expected to catch a fish on
every one of them.
blasted off up the Neuse River and across to a huge array of pilings that are
now all gone and replaced with a modern marina.
Twenty years ago, the pilings we idled
amongst were the remnants of a time long ago.
Perhaps 150 years ago or more these pilings supported a huge loading
dock to which ships under power and sail loaded and unloaded their fares.
Now, nothing remained above the mean water
line, but below, the centuries old pilings were encased in barnacles and
mollusks, all with shells and sharp edges.
the tops of rows of
hundreds of pilings would be revealed, but at times of higher water they would
be barely visible if at all.
It was a
matrix that ate lower units and gouged the bottoms of boats who got too close,
so no one fished there.
But, if you knew
how to navigate through the pilings and towards a drop off that went from 12 to
6 feet, then you had a chance of an epic day.
drop off and structure, like a lot of barnacle encrusted pilings,
equals striped bass; a lot of striped bass.
They wait in the pilings to ambush baitfish
that would swim along the drop off.
The problem for fishermen is that if you cast anywhere near the pilings,
a 24 inch striper would pull you back into the shell laden poles and cut your
already had a rod in hand, waiting for a bait to be put on his hook as I
explained the plan.
I dipped into the
livewell and broadcast a dozen live peanut menhaden into the water.
They were thrilled to have escaped their
enclosure, then terrified to be free and all alone.
They made a mad dash for the security of
the pilings, unbeknownst to them, behind every pole was a hungry striped bass.
whole area around the boat erupted with striped bass as they gave pursuit to
the baitfish and flushed them out into the open.
For hours Rick and I caught fish and we
laughed and caught fish and laughed and caught fish in the Glory Hole.
was there for me buying fishing trips when he had no business buying fishing
He was my greatest ambassador
and anyone who knew him, knew that he loved to fish and he told them about me.
He built me up bigger than I was and made me
famous on the radio and with marketing opportunities I never would have
considered nor could have ever afforded.
shared a lot of great fishing and a lot of great fishing trips.
Rick loved the action of a hot bite in the
Glory Hole, but he also had the patience to wait for it.
He would keep casting, no matter what.
most memorable trips for Rick and for me were the time on the water that he was
able to share with his son Rich.
Although Rich’s independence in life may not have led him down the
easiest paths, it was that independence that Rick was so proud.
was proud and confident that no matter what was thrown at him, his son Rich was
going to make it.
Don’t know what to say, but I’ll miss him.
I imagine he is sitting behind a pile of red
hot Jimmy crabs or sitting on the bank of a heavenly stream waiting for the
first shad of the year.