Roughly eight years ago I released an online fishing video that thrilled many. The compilation was an hour-long montage of scattered footage I had captured from an array of outings over about a three year period. The various scenes featured catching big sharks from the beach, chaotic offshore kayak action, and heroic tuna and marlin battles amongst friends. This was all filmed (albeit with passion and amateur video gear) here in the great state of Texas. During the intro portion there is a personal quote from me displayed that conveys a very empowering message. "The most epic adventure of all is the one that is shared countless times over by some of the greatest and most adventurous friends in the world." I feel that this single sentence defines the essence and lifestyle of continually seeking the best in human adventures. Notably, I titled the video Evolution.
The concept of the video was to share and relive the thrills that we were all enjoying as friends. A big group of us had all met on online fishing forums in the early days of social media. One of the fishing websites/forums (Extreme Coast) we communicated through was one I created and proudly ran for several years. Anglers would post reports and opine on certain topics. Over time, some of the users became very good friends. Eventually there would be strong bonds forged amongst certain individuals. I thought the title Evolution highly relevant as our new brotherhood was experimenting with creative fishing methods and pushing traditional limits. We were constantly embarking on adventure in search of the next great fish. From our roots of simplistic fishing in a simplistic lifestyle, we had succumbed to a true evolution as we adopted an upgraded lifestyle.
Jump to the present. We evolved as fishermen and rode an amazing wave of adventure that spanned more than a decade. Even now, while we still all remain friends, Father Time has intervened. Some of the “boys of summer” as we called ourselves branched away due to work and growing family responsibilities. However, a good number of us remain active and continue to pursue the never-ending addiction. I have obviously stayed the course, my path little changed as my lifestyle and career remains rooted in the water. My guiding keeps me fresh, providing an antidote to soothe my saltwater addiction, and it gives me a chance to share new experiences with a constant stream of new friends.
Another quote appeared in the closing segment of the Evolution video; "The most epic adventure is yet to come." How true and how fitting. Into my continuing saga comes now the addition of another key player – Aurora Jade Ozolins was born into this world on November 6, 2018. A fresh, healthy hatchling who has changed the lives of her parents for the better in a very short time.
Aurora is the most rewarding prize anybody could ever hope to obtain. No monster mako, giant tiger, or epic hammerhead can compare. I have lived my adult life on the foundation of producing angling achievements. Some were incredible, some unique, and some that may never be topped by anyone. But this little game changer is bringing a new kind of excitement. My great love, Alexis, and I were the quintessential outdoors couple and suddenly we have evolved to become an outdoors family. We love what we do, and we love to share our experiences. In my mind, little “Rory” not only has really cool parents, but also parents dedicated to assisting her pursue her own dreams and lifestyle in the outdoors.
So where does evolution take us from here? My life and career are glued to the magical aquatic wonderland. Fishing adventures will surely continue - some with friends, some without. In a scary way, that is the exciting part of it. Obviously you can't (or shouldn't) predetermine what or who your child should be. As a parent, you want them live a happily life. I love the thought that she would possibly fall in love with the hobbies and adventures her parents enjoy so thoroughly. If she doesn't, that will be fine as well, so long as she is happy. But let's get real people, we all know she is going to love the water! And just the thought of that alone makes me extraordinarily happy. Watching her grow up and living her own adventures will be the most epic adventure of all.
Despite Aurora being my firstborn, I have had a great deal of experience with kids. Some of my best charter clients are kids who take trips with me year after year. I have families who have joined me for the first time with their youngest in diapers, and now a few years later, these seasoned youngsters are all-out fishing machines. I love helping create lasting memories for kids (and people of all ages). In a way, this is a part of my own evolution, my continual quest. I get great pleasure in educating and molding future anglers and conservationists. In the end I truly feel like a kid on the water myself and perhaps that is why I enjoy what I do. All I know is that if I can have just a fraction of a positive impact as I have had on other kids, then mine should turn out just fine.
With 2019 comes a new beginning in my life and a new beginning in fishing along the Texas coast. Coming off a year worthy of the record books, expectations are naturally very high. Our shark fishery was quite healthy this past year. More anglers than ever took to land-based shark fishing. More mature sharks of the larger apex species were encountered. This may very well be the telltale sign that our shark fishery is slowly beginning to rebound after decades of overfishing.
This will be a make or break year for the sport. We are due the return of menacing sargassum. We are due for more tropical activity in the gulf. And, unfortunately, we are also due a severe outbreak of red tide. But then again, we thought all this about 2018. Only time will tell and remaining optimistic is all we can do. If the conditions do prove optimal, do what you can to get out there and take advantage while the window is open.
This will undoubtedly be a busy year for me. I will busy conducting surf charters, and when not on the beach I will be busy building my Catch Sharks tackle and gear company. Finally, I will be busy with my new little mermaid, Aurora. Any way you shake it, this will be a very exciting time for me.
Lucky for my loyal readers and followers, you will be able to live vicariously through the Ozolins family and keep up with Aurora’s developments and antics. I’ve already begun booking charters and June is filling up. I have some availability remaining March through August, so get in touch with me soon if you wish to get in on an adventure of your own.
While I love chartering families and kids, I also accommodate to the entire spectrum of clients. Whether putting your eight-year-old on bull shark or your eighty-year-old grandfather on an oversized redfish, I will do my best to help create a memory that will not soon be forgotten.Have fun and live life to the fullest!