A couple of years ago I wrote a Front Page titled "Living Legend", about a gentleman named Eddie Duglas. Eddie was a local legend here on the Central Texas Coast known not only for his angling prowess but also for his abilities as a lure designer. Eddie and I had become friendly after I purchased a couple of his lures, locally known as the ED Special. I recently found out that Mr. Douglas, unfortunately, passed away in April of this year. During the last conversation we had, Eddie and I had planned to get together for breakfast and talk about wade fishing, sadly now, that will never happen. Although Eddie and I didn't know each other for very long, I always looked forward to our conversations. His enthusiasm for saltwater fishing went beyond infectious, and I always hung up the phone wanting to be on the water more than I had before I dialed his number.
Not long after the news of Eddie's passing found its way onto my radar, I found out another angling acquaintance of mine had also passed on. My history with Alton Voigt goes back over 4 decades. Alton opened up a small tackle shop in a suburb of San Antonio in 1982 called Northwest Tackle. I remember his first shop couldn't have been more than a few hundred square feet. I vividly recall buying a Mitchell 300 spinning reel with the money I had saved up from birthday gifts just a few weeks after he opened up shop. Northwest Tackle steadily grew, and ultimately became the preeminent tackle shop in San Antonio.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, I spent many MANY enjoyable hours, at the sales counter in Northwest Tackle, with Alton and his two long-time employees, Sean and Mike. It was a greta place to gather with other anglers, and talk shop. When Bass Pro Shops showed up in 2003, Alton saw the writing on the wall. He relocated to the Gulf Coast, settling in Rockport TX, and opened up Rockport Tackle Town. Tackle Town picked up where Northwest Tackle left off and grew into a very sizable and influential tackle shop along the central gulf coast. I hadn't been in Tackle Town in several years but watched as Alton's success in the tackle business continued to grow over the years. When the news of Alton's passing became public, I couldn't help but think about my mom taking me to his little shop on Bandera Rd. to buy that Mitchell spinning reel. I remember the personalized service he gave me when I was 10, and that was the same level of service he continued to give me up until the last time I visited his store in Rockport several years ago.
Like both of these men and like many of you, I have dedicated most of my life to angling. It's the only pursuit that has held my attention for more than a year or two, and that I haven't found physical, emotional, or artistic limitations in. I think those same sentiments were deeply shared by both Eddie and Alton. Godspeed to both of these kindred spirits who had a profound influence on my angling life.