My friend, Dusty Sprague, called me in a quasi-panic Tuesday morning. His fly fishing club, The Charlotte Harbor Fly Fishers (http://www.chff.us), was in need of a guest speaker -- Wednesday night.
Seems as if a scheduled speaker has experienced a family emergency.
Gibby to the rescue.
I told Sprague, a Federation of Fly Fishers' master certified casting instructor, that I would be glad to fill in. After all, I have at least five PowerPoint presentations ready to go on various fly fishing and kayak fishing topics.
"We don't have a projector or screen," Sprague said.
Hmmm. Well, that's a minor roadblock that could be solved. I figured I'd give Bob Parker, president of the Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers in Sarasota, a call to see if I could borrow the club's projector.
"Sure," said Parker, "but I don't have the cord. My daughter has it and she's in Belize."
No big deal. I'll just hoof it. I'll just make it up as I go.
For me, public speaking is fun. I love it. I'm very comfortable speaking before people. The bigger the crowd, the better.
And when you're asked to speak about something that you love, it's a breeze. In this case, it was fly fishing, a passion of mine for the last 25 years.
I grabbed a few of my favorite flies and headed for Punta Gorda at about 4 p.m. Wednesday. I met Sprague and Jamie Allen, the club's leader, at 5 p.m. at Dean's South of the Border Tex-Mex Cantina, 130 Tamiami Tr. What a great place. The atmosphere is great, the food wonderful and the beer cold.
What more can you ask?
After dinner, we headed for the meeting.
I was immediately impressed. The atmosphere was friendly. Allen carried in a cooler of soft drinks, beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres. All were available to those in attendance -- for free.
The club doesn't even require members to formally join. Just show up at the meeting, sign in and you're a Charlotte Harbor Fly Fisher.
After a few announcements and fishing reports, Allen introduced me. I spoke for about 45 minutes on various topics, then opened the floor for questions. I answered questions for another half-hour. I then spent another 30 minutes answering questions after the meeting.
I met quite a few great folks, including Saltydancingdave, a fellow fly fisher who participants under that name at http://www.flyanglersonline.com. I'd never met Dave before but have read and responded to his posts at FAOL.
People were very much interested in my Everglades trips. They'll start this month, now that the water level in down in The 'Glades. I take clients down there for a full day of fishing for Florida exotics, oscar, Mayan cichlid and peacock bass. We also catch largemouth bass, bluegill, stumpknocker and shellcracker. It's usually a full day of non-stop action.
I'm also available to speak to any fishing group on a variety of subjects. You can schedule me a year ahead of time or on the spur of the moment.
Just give me a call at (941) 284-3406.