…so much more to it.

Everett Johnson
I was busily serving customers in the TSFMag booth at the Houston Boat Show. The group I was waiting on purchased fishing caps and cookbooks. Bagging their goods I looked up and shook hands, thanking them for becoming new subscribers. That's when I noticed a distinguished-looking gentleman waiting his turn in line. He was slender and tall, dressed for a chilly winter afternoon in Carhart jacket and black Stetson.

He stepped up and reached for the clipboard to complete a subscription form. "I really enjoy this magazine," he said. "you the editor?"

"Yes sir; Everett Johnson is my name," I replied, accepting a firm handshake as he introduced himself.

"I thought I recognized you from your photograph in the book; I'd like to speak with you for a few minutes if you have time," he drawled back.

I ran his credit card and he signed the receipt as I offered him a seat inside the booth. Pam took over at the counter and we introduced ourselves again as he settled into the chair removing his hat. His eyes were quick and his facial expressions, though subtle, conveyed lots of meaning. I was quickly pegging him as a sharp old gent.

"You know your magazine has done a lot of good," he began as he proceeded to tell of his life in saltwater. "I grew up here on Trinity Bay, my family were all cattlemen, commercial fishermen and shrimpers. As kids we sold all we could catch with rod and reel and trot lines, working out of a wooden skiff with oars, no motor. I was the first to finish high school and go to college. I served in the Marines in Korea and went into the plants as an engineer. First of the clan to make my living that way."

"Apart from my wife and kids and my work, fishing has been my life," he continued. "I have seen a lot of changes. Most folks in this sport today never knew or saw the old ways, the way things were sixty years ago. They have no idea what fishing for a living was about. They have no idea how good we all have it, how good life is and how easy it is make a good living nowadays."

He was an exceptional storyteller and I reveled at the accounts of great trips and his love of the bays. Night wading until time to head for the plant, lost in the fog, he and his brother nearly freezing when their boat capsized in a norther and then shivering all night on a reef.

Rising to say goodbye he picked up our magazine, "I enjoy the fishing stories from all your writers and your views on conservation. There's just so much more to it than catching limits every time you go. When I was younger we got away with it because there were fewer fishermen. Nowadays, with so many fishermen out there they're going to have to learn. There's a whole world of fun and adventure, there's sunrises and sunsets and time with friends, shoreline picnics, things you just can't put a price or limit on."

His final thought was this, "Folks who can't be satisfied without a limit of fish are beat before they even put the boat in the water. Keep up the good work son."

He stood stock straight and shook my hand before covering his white crew cut with the Stetson. I saw him as one of the Greatest Generation, a walking fishing legend, and a hero in my eyes. He made my day.