I have been quietly transitioning back home to Southern California. In May, I was at a company event in Chicago, when I overheard a conversation about a new office for BeyondTrust in Aliso Viejo. Actually, it was moving the Irvine office back down to Aliso Viejo. That is a 15 mile move to the South, closer to my hometown Dana Point/San Clemente area, and a significant savings in commute time, toll road costs, and just hit me a time when I was already looking to relocate from West Palm Beach to a more beachy scene within S. Florida….Jupiter/Juno area to be exact. So, rather than move 15-20 miles within Florida, I made a quick assessment of things, and decided right then and there I was heading home. Florida is awesome. My decision to bail on Florida is complicated….understand Okeechobee, of all the years I’ve fished it now, 2013 was the worst for swimbait fishing I’ve encountered. The lake is overgrown, choked out and more a flip/punch thing than an open water swimmer thing. So, Okeechobee’s tough cycle, and the amount of rain we endured (and it was still raining when I left) told me it was gonna be a harsh year on the Big O for a guy that likes to swim bigbaits.
I essentially closed down my apartment in West Palm Beach within a week, downsized my stuff for the 50th time, and headed for Georgia. Getting back to California, from S. Florida, wasn’t going to be easy. Thankfully, I have good people, a good career now so finances aren’t so rough, and I’m really good at just packing up and getting gone. So, this was the itinerary: FL>GA>AR>CA. I had to get from Florida, back to Georgia and the Atlanta area and shut down things in Atlanta first. So, I was able to touch bases with my tenant, in my Roswell home, get some things squared away and focus on getting all my stuff out of my phenomenal friend, Rodger Ray, Social Circle home. Social Circle has been my Atlanta base of operations on and off for the last 4.5 years since renting out my apartment, and of course, meeting Rodger, as my co-angler partner, Day 1, Lake Eufaula, FLW Series 2009. Rodger has been so hospitable, professional, fun, interesting and wise—-I cannot thank him enough for his friendship.
Of boats and men
I own 2 boats. I have a Ranger Z520, and a 16 Grizzly Tracker aluminum rig (I loaned it to Team 85 for the filming of Southern Trout Eaters, because they needed some help getting on the water with current states of affairs with their lives at the time). I literally cleaned out my Ranger, and left a pile of paperwork and stuff that will be needed to sell the boat (if that is the route I take), and just left it parked up in Social Circle. I have learned, when you don’t know what to do, no decision is the best decision. I needed to take a U Haul trailer full of stuff from Georgia, and onto Arkansas, where I’d fill it up and cull thru stuff from Arkansas, next. The problem: You cannot simultaneously tow a 20′ fiberglass boat and a dual axle U Haul trailer! So, the Ranger sits in Atlanta, paying for insurance and the 14 months of warranty my Yamaha still enjoys ticks away toward expiration. On one hand it makes a ton of sense to sell the boat: I have equity in the boat, the engine is still under warranty, and truthfully, I’m not worried about fishing tournaments where a Z520 is required anytime super soon. I love my Ranger Boat, don’t get me wrong, but to me, boats are tools, and usually very expensive tools. I am now living <10 miles from the Dana Point Harbor, where I can out throwing swimbaits at calico bass within minutes. I’m sorta re-tooling if you will, and the transition time will be longer than anything I can predict–that’s just how things go. An inshore series boat, deeper v, and better able to handle ocean type conditions is in my future. Something that I can still tow and hit the San Diego lakes and such of course. There is a compromise in there somewhere with the right boat….ie, the great lakes/walleye style of Ranger Boat…the Fisherman Series. Or perhaps a Whaler type boat, center console style. I’m not sure yet. Trolling motor mandatory of course.
The Other Boat/Arkansas
My 16 foot Grizzly (that I bought from Triton Mike Bucca, btw) has had a wild journey itself. I got a 25HP 4 Stroke Yamaha, and a 82# thrust Motorguide up front. The rig frickin charges. I got the boat back to Arkansas last year, right about this time, as I was trying to make Arkansas work as ‘home’ and figure out a way to make a living thru fishing, sans tournament fishing. Well, things in Arkansas didn’t go as I’d hoped, and then opportunity came knocking with getting my software career back in action. This boat I will keep. I am flat addicted to the idea of hunting big brown trout with swimbaits on the mighty White River. I spent 2 weeks in Social Circle/Atlanta (first half of June) and spent the second half of June in Arkansas. Understand, end of June is end of fiscal quarter, end of Q2, in the business world. I stalled and timed everything to travel on the weekends, work on my move after hours, and just be in a position to sell enterprise vulnerability and risk management solutions to new customers. I had more like 10 days in Arkansas, but man, was it great to be back there. I have some really good friends and family there. My friends are friends thru fishing, and they are as ate up with it as us. I had some really close calls and learned a lot in that short window I was in Arkansas about the White River. I had more action in approx. 7 outings, than I did the ENTIRE 7 months I spent there last year. I did NOT put any fish in the boat, and had “the one” on, but she came unglued. Doh. Still haunted by that one. So, I put the cover back on the boat, parked her up and just left her. I foresee visiting Arkansas often, to spend time with my parents and Grandmother (who lives with my parents now too), and of course, to fish the Ozarks. There is an airport in Branson, MO about an hour from my parents house. It’s a no brainer, easy, and financially feasible for me. I will be able to work during the day, and fish after hours/on weekends, and spend a couple weeks at a time there, with a boat that can fish the river or the surrounding lakes. And the wade fishing around the Ozarks is sick. Canoes are probably the best boat at times too. My buddies there are blowing it up and I’m excited to get back there. It’s a different deal though. It’s not tournament fishing blowing things up…it’s fly fishing, guiding, outfitting, and getting their world’s right with relationships, marriages, finances, real estate, etc. Which I’m learning is the key to fishing and pretty much everything!
4th of July 2013
I arrived in Dana Point on the 3rd of July. I have a good friend that lives at home with his Mom (don’t laugh, this is how we all roll at times in our lives!) and they were awesome enough to have me stay with them until I got settled. I was able to use the first week of July, after the End of Quarter crunch, to drive from Arkansas to California. So, I had loaded up all my stuff from Atlanta, loaded up all my stuff from Arkansas, and towed a full UHaul trailer all the way back to California, pretty much backtracking the journey I started in January 2005. I have had more fun in the last 2 months being here! Oh my goodness, my liver hates me. Truthfully, I haven’t made a cast since I left Arkansas. I am taking some time to allow myself to settle in over here. I love to fish, I love throwing bigbaits, but honestly, I’ve made a conscious decision to just sorta put that stuff on the back burner a couple months and just let myself get settled in. Summer time in Southern California is awesome. I have been surfing like crazy. I have a lot of catching up to do. My surfing has progressed a ton the last couple months, I got my arms and shoulders back to compete from a paddling standpoint, and I walk around with my shirt off and woman generally hoot, holler and whistle at me! Hahahahahahahah. Okay, forget the last part of that sentence, but there is a profound difference in healthy life and lifestyle for me lately.
Please visit my companies website sometime: beyondtrust.com We have very talented security and research thought leaders in the world of internet security. We have ‘productized’ or otherwise make software tools that emulate the skills and expertise of the white hat style ‘hacker’. At the end of the day, we make tools that help companies manage and assess risk. On a scale of 1-10, are we a 7 or a 5 when it comes to overall ‘security’ across the 10,000 assets that make up our computing environment? Are we compliant to do business with the Department of Defense because we make parts that go into missles or SUVs, and in order to do business with the DoD, you better be compliant to various standards. Or HIPAA, are hospitals doing the right thing to make sure your medical records are being sold on the black market. You could be blackmailed if someone knew you had HIV or something gnarly and private, and hadn’t publicly disclosed. Think Fortune 2000 account that need to assess the overall security posture of their entire network, across multiple locations, mobile devices, virtual devices, etc., It’s a cool space, and I’m enjoying being back in the game. Sales is no walk in the park career and you are on a cycle much like fishing, where you are on ’em and life is good, then …. the droughts and the doldrums come and you have to be prepared to endure and make adjustments to break the cycle. I work in Aliso Viejo, in a a wonderful little tech corridor. There are companies like Buy.com, Dell/Qwest, and Micro Semi in the same building/neighborhood. I haven’t met the ‘her’ yet….but like fishing, you gotta get around ’em before you can catch ’em. Catch the right one! I’m not saying I’m going to find “her” in Aliso Viejo, I’m just saying Orange County is full of young educated professionals who are doing great things with their lives. Conversations about welfare, DUI, child custody, social issues, etc don’t exist. Education, sophistication and opportunity abounds and I just am stoked to be around it. Finally got ‘around ’em’ again!
So you quit fishing?
NO, I haven’t quit fishing. I have taken a womping 2 months off in the last 30+ years. Forgive me! I see myself re-tooling and getting myself in a position to charge bigbaits/bigfish around San Diego, OC, LA…..and slip the same boat in the Dana Point Harbor and slip slide thru the massive kelp beds and do my best Kevin Mattson impressions! But these things will take some time. I am super stoked and flattered to have so many invites to come fish with guys. Until recently, I literally haven’t had all my possessions in one location in >5 years when I lived in Roswell, GA.
The irony of all this is new clarity and focus. My life, especially my fishing life, since Southern Trout Eaters, has really been a rocky road. Not horrible and I don’t regret any of it, just saying, not a certain path or one that has been easily felt out and gone with. I haven’t really found one thing that has really worked and stuck. Florida was hot then got cold. Arkansas, same thing…hot and cold. Finances dwindling….. All the sudden, I have 8 years of pictures, video and story, and have gone full circle from Southern California to the South and now back. I’ve got a story to tell and I hope to see it thru, because I think I can provide perspective, wisdom and insights beyond catching more and bigger fish. Fishing is our lives, and it’s an addiction. Making a living from fishing is a crazy wild endeavor that is like chasing the rodeo. A bunch of young (and not so young) men mostly all chasing their dreams, from all sorts of backgrounds. And some ARE that good. You have to be ‘exceptional’ not just good. The young people today have more opportunity than ever. It’s the age of the cloud, the age of Facebook, the age of GoPro, and the “i” everything.
Everything is a work in progress. I’m by no means back on my feet career wise like I was when I hung it up to go fishing. However, I’m back on that path and track. It takes money to make money and grow things. I have plans and intentions, but like most things, they tend to take way longer than originally expected. And since I’m not able to focus 100% of my time towards fishing with a full time job in software, I’m even more challenged with tide and time. However, I am in the best mood and general flow I’ve been in years and super stoked, and sorta just re-charging/refreshing. To me, it’s really healthy to take a break from fishing a bit and just allow myself to get West and get settled. I am looking forward to missions to San Diego jumping in other guys’ boats, missions with this one guy name Kevin Mattson who charges harder than anyone I know, and random saltwater and Sierra Mountain trips.