Over the years, I have worked with various government officials on various projects. As a result, I have had the opportunity to make personal friendships with several agency employees.
I was lucky enough to have friends call from the Arizona Game Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, and National Park Service. I recognize that these officials have a tough job, and I have sometimes been at odds with them. But at the end of the day, we’re still friends.
Recently, I had the opportunity to take Justin Pattison of the National Park Service on a day fishing trip from South Cove. I met Justin when he got involved with an issue we had with the South His Cove launch ramp situation.
When the post of Deputy Superintendent of Lake Mead became available, I had no problem personally recommending him for the post. Justin and I disagreed on some points, but I found him to be honest and forthright.
These are qualities that I appreciate as someone who works in government. So over the years of working on projects together, I got to know him.
We talked about our mutual love and respect for Mother Nature. It turns out that he used to fish a lot, but as his job responsibilities increased, he found less and less time to go fishing. So I suggested taking him fishing at Lake Mead in South Cove this spring. Justin hadn’t fished in 11 years, and he had never fished Lake Mead. Our schedules never meshed and the weather was bad, but we were finally able to set a good date for each other earlier this month and the weather was okay.
The plan was for Justin to come to our home in Meadview on Friday night and spend the day on the water early Saturday morning. Justin’s personal fishing gear was as old as my grandson. So I provided him with some loaner rods and reels to use for the day.
We went to the location near Temple Bar. There, my neighbor and fishing buddy Greg Holden and his wife were catching a lot of crappie. Caught a few small bass. Justin caught his first fish on Lake Mead. It’s a stocky channel cat.
I decided to move into an area that was previously highly productive. It turned out to be a good move. Justin caught the first smallmouth bass of the day on a deep-diving crankbait. For the time being, I put on a tube bait I found at a bass pro in Las Vegas and it turned on!
I started catching fish after fish, until finally he said, “If I catch another fish with that bait, I’ll switch.”
I quickly caught two, then stopped and tied one of the tubes to his line. Then we both started fishing.
Then it got crazy. I started catching channel cats one after another. I’m not talking about small catfish, I’m talking about easy-to-eat cats. We caught more catfish than bass!
In the afternoon, when I saw a shadow and threw it into the tube, I almost always got a bite. Finally, we were exhausted and returned. Our final tally was 24 bass, 13 channel cats, 2 crappie and Justin caught 2 stripers. We also lost 10 fish before we even put them on the boat. It’s a good day in anyone’s book!
I asked Justin if he had a good time and he said yes! It’s been 11 years since he started fishing, and it won’t be long. Justin told me that his wife likes fishing. “Hey, how much does this boat cost?” he said with a smile.
Justin understood why we are passionate about keeping South Cove open for Mojave County anglers and other recreational users. He looks forward to working with him in the future and going fishing with him and his wife.