“You can call me Ray, you can call me Jay, but you doesn’t have to call me Johnson.”
--For those old enough to remember the 70s
For a person who generally prefers to be alone and has made it his life’s goal to incubate the skills of a curmudgeon, I have some pretty great friends, and most of them I’ve met through fishing. In the vast majority of cases I would not have met them otherwise, and while there have been some jerks among the bunch, those types are easy to discard while retaining just the winners.
That’s one of the things that was so cool about this last trip to El Salto – we were joined by two good friends who I met as a result of fishing, and now they know each other, too. But for the fact that they both know me, they wouldn’t know each other. I suppose that makes me something of a Connector in the Gladwellian sense, but mostly I just like going on kickass vacations with people who are low-maintenance and high-enthusiasm.
I met Ray Heredia when he and his wife lived briefly in Virginia before he retired from the Air Force and moved to South Carolina. I don’t know anyone who fishes as many tournaments, or who brings such a positive attitude to each day on the water, and to teaching others about the sport.
I met Ray Kawabata on a fishing trip to the Amazon in 2011. He lives and works in Seattle and is a skilled and experienced multispecies angler -- equally enthusiastic about bass as he is about salmon and tuna.
As a result of both of their friendships, I am a more well-rounded, more engaged, more enthusiastic angler. If you have to be around people, try to be around those who make you better, and who add to your life rather than detract from it. Apparently it also helps if they’re named Ray.