Blog reader Joe Millner sent in this great photo, along with the touching story behind it:
I thought I would pass along this picture of a friend of mine. The young man in the picture is Matthew Owen from Memphis, Tennessee. He is a junior at a local high school and loves the outdoors. On Christmas day of 2011, Matthew learned his 60-year-old old Dad, Larry, who was in the hospital with a respiratory problem, faced inevitable death within a few hours. His dad did pass away on the day after Christmas.
Matthew spoke at his Dad’s funeral and talked about how he and his Dad were in the river just a couple of months earlier, and he mentioned that his dad really wasn’t’ that much of a diehard fisherman. What he was however, was a great dad for spending time with him outdoors. I know for certain that, on more than a couple of occasions, his dad hired a fly-fishing guide just for his son and let Matthew spend a day on the river fishing. A full day guided trip is not an inexpensive outing, as you most likely know. As I said, he spoke eloquently about his love for his Dad and how he had prepared him to be a man. I’m not sure I could have spoken at my dad’s funeral at the ripe old age of 17. He spoke as if he were a veteran speaker.
I’ve fished with this young man on a few occasions over the years and his Uncle Bill (who works with me and has been a buddy for over 20 years) suggested a cast-and-blast weekend for Matthew. We duck hunted this past Saturday and blanked. No Ducks…so Bill took him to the Little Red River in Heber Springs, Arkansas. It’s about 1.5-hour drive from our hunting camp.
This was the fish of the daya beautiful brown trout caught Saturday, on a big ugly streamer that Matthew tied, using a 9.5-foot saltwater 6-weight. Not sure of the fish’s length, but both he and his Uncle Bill thought it was every bit of a 24-inch” fish! He went on to catch three more comparable trout.