Over the many years I have worked with employees of various governmental agencies on different project. As a result, I have had the opportunity to make some personal friendships with some agency personnel.
I am fortunate to call as friends’ men and women from the Arizona Game & Fish Department, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service. I recognize that these government employees have a tough job, and at times I have been at odds with them; but at the end of the day though, we are still friends.
Recently, I had the opportunity to take Justin Pattison from the National Park Service on a day fishing trip out of South Cove. I met Justin when he got involved with the issues we were having with the launch ramp situation at South Cove.
When the position of Deputy Superintendent at Lake Mead opened up, I had no issue offering my personal recommendation that he get that job. Justin and I didn’t agree on some things, but I found him to be honest and forthright.
Those are qualities that I appreciate for any person who works for the government. So over the years we have worked on projects together, I got to know him.
We talked about our mutual love and respect for the great outdoors. I found out he used to do a lot of fishing, and but as his job responsibilities increased, he had less and less time to go fishing. So, I offered to take him fishing this spring at Lake Mead, and out of South Cove. Justin hadn’t been fishing in 11-years and had never fished in Lake Mead. Our schedules seemed to never mesh, or the weather was horrible, but finally, we were able to set a date earlier this month that was good for both of us and the weather was going to be ok.
The plan was for Justin to come to my Meadview home on a Friday night, and then early Saturday morning, we would head out for a day on the water. Justin’s personal fishing equipment was as old as my grandson, so I offered him a couple of loaner rod/reels to use for the day.
We went to a place near Temple Bar where my neighbor and fellow angler Greg Holden and his wife had caught a bunch if crappie. I caught a couple of little bass. Justin caught his first fish out of Lake Mead, a chunky channel cat.
I decided to move on to areas that in the past had been productive. Turned out to be a good move. Justin caught his first smallmouth bass of the day, on a deep diving crankbait. In the mean time I put on a tube bait I had found at Bass Pro in Vegas, and it was ON!
I started catching fish after fish and finally he said, “if you catch one more on that bait, I’ll switch over.”
I caught two very quickly before I stopped and tied on one of those tubes onto his line. Then we both started catching fish.
Then it got weird. We started catching channel cats one after another. I’m not talking little catfish, but good eating size cats! We were catching more catfish than we were bass!
In the afternoon, if we saw a shadow, and pitched in those tubes, we almost always got a bite. Finally, we were worn out and headed back. Our final tally was 24 bass, 13 channel cats, two crappie and Justin caught two stripers. We also lost 10 fish before we could get them in the boat. That is a good day in anyone’s book!
I asked Justin if he had a good time and he said “Yes!” Though it had been 11 years since he had been fishing, you can bet it won’t be that long again. Justin told me his wife likes to fish. “Hey what do one of these boats cost?” he said with a smile.
Justin now knows why we are so passionate about keeping South Cove open for anglers and other recreational users in Mohave County. I look forward to working with him in the future and going fishing with him and his wife.