Hypocrites With a Mission
Talking to Mark Hubbard isn't something new to me. Standing around and talking fishing with him and his son Dylan is unique. Not everybody knows that being with the two of them is being around the fourth and fifth generation of head boats – what a lot of people call charter boats. You're an angler, or somehow related to fishing or you would not be here. Think for a minute about who was fishing these waters 20 years ago. 40 years ... 90 years ... .
Think about what is must have been like running a head boat from John's Pass in the 1920s. Now think about running a big boat from there with your son. And him with his. Five generations of them. Running boats, catching fish, and fighting the good fight. Taking coins of gold and silver filled the registers then; today it's pixels and registrations. But the smell, the water, and the spirit is the same.
There are tens of thousands of anglers old and young, black and white, boys and girls, men and women – since the 1920s – that have caught their first – and in some cases their last – fish on boats in the Hubbard fleet. Fishing is in their blood, but they are, in a lot of ways, the blood that runs through the veins of west central Florida. The Gulf of Mexico is a Hubbard product, and the Hubbards are a product of that warm salty water.
A Hubbard's Marina truck outside the Walmart??? What??? Before you say that Hubbard and his friend Poyssick are hypocrites for their stand against the Walton foundation or big box stores but a willingness to offer fishing classes at the venue, read the story.
I'm a storyteller; A Bovine System entity, one might say. A BS Artist to some, a competent outdoors writer to others. I've written about prison security systems, and I've written about how to use the Pen tool efficiently in Adobe Illustrator. Of all the things I've written about, though, the majority of words have been about fishing. I've written stories for other web sites, I've written for magazines, and I've written a lot about and for this web site. I was even blessed to write a book for and with a guy named Mel Berman, who many of our readers remember as the voice on Saturday mornings talking about fishing.
And all those years, I've known the Hubbards. I've fished their boats, I've been at the Fishery Management Council Meetings at the Patriarch's side, and I've cleaned fish on the docks with a coral knife I found three hundred feet from the cleaning tables. Somebody dropped it there 10,000 years ago. Even before the Hubbards owned the Marina and took us fishing. You should know them too.
Mark's family and what they represent have never been far from the keyboard in my office and his family never far from my heart. So talking to Mark about fishing, hooks, knots, and maybe most important what is happening politically to our lives and the lives around us is nothing new to me.
Hypocrisy? Not a smidgeon ...
We were standing at the back of the Walmart Garden Department. There's a new store opening near our house, and we were doing our thing. People from the website were taking names, kids were laughing and posing for the camera, and we were both doing what we do best. Teaching people about fishing; how cool fishing is. Sharing a lifestyle that has enriched both of our lives and the lives of the people we love and care about with a power and energy so positive and healthy you can feel it at the tips of your fingers sometimes.
I was listening to Dylan – Mark's son and the next in a genetic and human legacy the world only partially knows. Dylan was talking about tricks – things like 'bouncing with the boat.' The method, which keeps the tip of your rod an equal distance from the surface – and keeps your lead weight from bouncing up and down on the bottom far below – is something so detailed, yet so important, it made me think about legacy. How tiny details continue to build until the fifth man in a line of angling masters could be that great-granddad standing with a kid a hundred years ago. Dylan is that Hubbard. A new one, but the same.
The Hubbard's display is something we're proud to have around our seminars and our brand. Mark and me have been friends for too many years to admit. And we've both had issues with outsiders – the Walton family among them – getting involved in the failed management of the Gulf and other American fisheries.
So what's up with the title? Who's the hypocrite?
Nobody. Me and Mark Hubbard being at that Walmart and our doing what we do best – marketing ourselves and our respective and closely related brands – does not take away the words we've said and the positions we've taken against Walmart. More accurately, against the family behind the stores. We do not know them personally; they are probably perfectly cool people. But politics being what it is, and money being what it is, our collective paths have crossed.
Me and Mark as anglers in the business of angling. Our lives depend on angling. When events are happening and money is flying around and regulations are closing more and more of our lives into a tiny little box, we open our mouths. Right now – as I am writing this article – the world is changing yet again. The American Red Snapper season has been reduced from all year to 180 days and this year nine. In the meantime the snapper are thick, but the fishing industries – commercials as well as our recreational worlds – is being squeezed onto the Nature channel and out of our lives. Our being at Walmart has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with politics.
Fishing Tackle, Beer, and Good Information
For years we've been talking about Walmart. So why are we there? Why are we doing seminars there, and encouraging people to come and sit and listen to us in the Garden Department? Simple. It's about outreach. It's about our community. And it's about the people that supply two items critical to anglers the world over: Beer and Tackle. The Beer comes from a distributor by the name of JJ Taylor. A very cool guy – one that loves to fish as much as he loves to count cases of beer – asked us a while back if the web site would help them teach people about fishing. When I personally heard the seminars were gonna be at Walmart, I responded in kind.
"Are you nuts?" I asked Captain David Rieumont. "They are EVIL!!! They support Catch Shares and they support Sector Separation and they are in bed with the United Nations!!!! No Way, Jose!"
That is Captain Dave Riemont on the left from TheOnlineFisherman.com and Mel from JJ Taylor – the people that sell all that great beer to our 'friends' at Walmart. You can see they have their tinfoil hats on to protect them from United Nations Agenda21 -- Ray Beams. All joking aside, the Walton family – heirs to the wealth generated by these stores – has deep pockets they're very willing to empty to control when, where, and what you fish for. Eventually if the ruling class has their way, there will be a fee you will have to pay Walmart before you're allowed to kill and grill, or filet and release.
Before you think I am wearing a tin hat and want to send every Mexican brother of mine to the gulag, relax. Red Snapper, Grouper, and Individual Fishing Quotas aside, the seminars we're giving at the stores are part of a plan to teach you how to fish, when to fish, and who to fish with.
I found Captain Morgan here (that's his real name) on a boat outside the garden department put there from the people at Homeland Security. No kidding. I hope the Captain has a bottle of rum. Somebody's gonna' need it if there are too many of these high-security and low-rent boats on the water. But the Captain was handling everything just fine.
Fish here in Florida. Fish all the time. And fish with the Hubbards. And worry not. We're not going to work for Walmart. But the people that work there, the prices you can get on cool equipment, and the beer are all good things. Get to know them, but make sure you continue to support your local stores too.
They can both live together. Just like us.