Let’s talk fish. And fishing and fishermen. Because….Woohoo….our family is smelling fishy these days! We are the proud owners of, not just one, but TWO franchise areas for The Angler, a free fishing magazine. The men of the family are in their element. Fishing is life.
Billy and his brothers grew up fishing. The family was a member of “The Club”, a private fishing spot. The first time Billy took me after I joined the family I was expecting something like a country club with a place to fish. Uh, no….it was literally a gated fishing hole. A pond with snakes and mosquitoes. Of course they love it! The Raines men are the very patient type who can stand on the bank and cast and cast and cast quietly, endlessly, perfectly content.
I also grew up around fishing, though of a different type. My daddy and his family liked to use trot lines, which are basically long strings of baited hooks strung across a promising area of a lake or river. This was a required part of family camping trips. I hated it because you had to get up in the middle of the night to “run the lines”. This involved smelly bait and putting your hands in the murky, dark water where who knew what was lurking. My dear childhood friend, Susan Powell, loved it! She eagerly jumped in the boat to help, the daughter Daddy wished he’d had.
For many years when our kids were younger we made Raines’ family trips to the Outer Banks. This almost always included at least one day of deep sea fishing on a chartered boat. I NEVER felt compelled to join in due to a susceptibility for sea sickness. (Learned the hard way by a long ago trip out of Galveston with my grandfather. One look at the bloody bait…I gag just remembering it.) And by the stories we heard I wasn’t the only one queasily challenged. But man, did they bring home some good eatin’. A beach trip fish fry with corn on the cob fresh from the fields is just about the definition of heaven.
These days the pride and joy of this fishing family is Little Tom as we call him. The son of Big Tom, the middle brother, Tommy is a student at West Virginia University and on the fishing team. (Who knew colleges had fishing teams?! I went to the fraternity party kind of school.) He and his partner, Nolan Minor, made the Mountaineers proud this year by qualifying for and placing 9th at the YETI Fishing League Worldwide College National Championship, held practically in his backyard on the Potomac River in Washington D.C. Fishing must instill character because Tommy is one of the finest young men I’ve ever known. (Girls, he’s a great CATCH, wink wink!)
So, it’s easy to understand the enthusiasm for this new magazine gig. My hubby had been searching for an “after retirement” project, something to keep him busy and earning a little income when he finally gives up his day job. He had researched many different businesses when this one caught his eye. As it happened, the Chesapeake Bay area had never had a franchise due to some weird laws in the state of Maryland….until those laws changed. Suddenly a potentially profitable area was opening up, an area Billy and his brothers knew well. In fact Brian, his youngest brother, lives a stone’s throw from the bay. It was meant to be!
As the ink was drying on our franchise contract Billy found out that the Charlotte area franchise was coming on the market as well. Bookended by two major lakes, Norman and Wylie, with the Catawba River running through, it was an area he couldn’t pass up. So while the Maryland boys handle the Chesapeake market, Billy and son Ricky are gung-ho on the Charlotte edition. Two very different areas, one coastal and one inland, but both ripe for sales of advertising, and content, since they are also responsible for a fair amount of informational articles. The Raines men et al. are delighted.
Their first edition for both markets is out and they are busy working on the next one. Look for us if you happen to be in a restaurant, bait shop, marina, or other water area establishment. You can also find the digital versions, or like us on Facebook and Instagram. If you are interested in advertising or think you’ve got a great idea for an article let us know. All fish tales welcome!