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I know some in my line of work that try to sell themselves by listing all of their great fishing achievements and tournament victories, as could I, but my greatest achievements have not necessarily been on my boat, so that is what I would prefer to tell you about. Take a couple of minutes to read about me, and then decide if I'm the guy you want to spend a day on the water with!
I was born in Virginia, where my mother pretty much raised me after she and my father split up. I spent my summers with my father, who always had a boat at Hatteras. When I was twelve years old, circumstances forced my father to fish full time, so now, his first love, fishing, had become a means of making a living.
I spent each summer with my father, fishing inshore, offshore, and shark fishing trips. I didn't realize that I too had developed a passion for saltwater fishing, especially in the blue water. This went on until high school graduation, in 1984. College was never even a consideration. I had already begun my career, and had been in training early. My childhood summer home was now home for good.
After a winter in Hatteras, king mackerel fishing, "drop netting", and packing fish in the cold damp fish houses, I decided that maybe I should venture further south to spend my winters. In 1985, I gave Palm Beach, and Stuart Florida a try. It was great, tee shirts, blue water, sailfish, so I went again the next winter. This time, I made it to the Bahamas, and during my stay in south Florida, passed the US Coast Guard exam for my captains license. After the summer of '87, I hopped on a 65' sport fishing boat, the "Sea Eagle", and spent the winter traveling and fishing tournaments throughout the Bahamas. After that winter and spring had passed, we headed down to St. Thomas, USVI, where we spent the summer blue marlin fishing. The experience was invaluable, and the doors and opportunities that opened up from there were amazing. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that I would take another traveling job on a 90'mother ship that carried a 33 footer "piggy back", and traveled all over the world. I remember going in the marina office to call my dad and tell him about it, and before I could get it all out, he announced that he was buying another boat, and if I wanted to come home and run his other one, the job was mine. Well, that was ultimately what I wanted to do, so I came home to run the "Renegade".
The next few years were a blur, but the next milestone was marrying my wife, Kelly in March of '91. Good fortune and God's blessing had definitely fallen my way.
In 1993 I started running a 48 footer called the "Wahoo", which I purchased three years later, and owned for four more years after that. She was an older boat, and required a lot of work at times, so it provided me with a chance to learn, over the course of seven years, about boat carpentry and fiberglass work. Most people wouldn't consider having to do a bunch of nasty boat work a blessing, nor did I at the time, but I see now that God was training me for what was to come!
In January of 1996 Kelly and I were blessed with our first child, a daughter, Andrea. Oh man, you talk about life changing, I experienced a whole new kind of love when I held my daughter in my hands. Things would never be the same!
I have found that so many people don't recognize God's hand in their lives or in situations. I guess I didn't pay much attention to it either until about 1998. He started dealing with me, and changing my heart, from being self-centered to being God centered. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no better than anybody else, and God knows how much I have failed Him since that time, but I realized how much He loves me just like I am.
Well, in 1999, He blessed me with the chance to improve by getting a newer, much nicer boat, a 53 footer, built by local boat builder, Paul Mann. He also laid it on my heart to give Him some honor for the blessing, so the name "Godspeed" was inspired. It simply means God's blessing of success and a prosperous journey. What a step, and we did so well with that boat, but life was about to take another turn.
In December of 2001, out of frustration, and a need for time with Andrea, I sold my boat, and decided to get a "real job". I did some carpentry work, ran some heavy equipment, worked at a local custom boat shop do you see a pattern here? The next fall, I was freelancing as a mate and captain. I couldn't take being away from it.
The highlight of that year was the birth of my son, in August of 2002. His name is Simon, and let me tell you, he is a bull! What a joy, two healthy kids, a wonderful wife, and a personal relationship with my Creator and King!
An old customer of mine expressed an interest in having me run his boat for the 2003 season, so off I went. After a season with them, things just weren't working out, and that's when God blessed me with the chance to jump in to the new boat. He has also blessed me with the chance to begin my own custom boat building shop (that's where the experience of wood and fiberglass repair turned out to be a blessing).
I guess that's a pretty good summary of how I have gotten to where I am. I guess I'm not much different than anybody else, I just happen to be a fisherman!
Thanks for taking the time to read about me. Godspeed!!