Captain Bill Hope my friend, my mentor and my fishing buddy passed on Monday, February 4, 2013. The following is the eulogy that I gave at his funeral.
Wow, I always believed that Bill was one of those guys I thought was going to be with us forever. Now I realize it’s that, he’s going to be in our hearts forever! So how does a “Yankee from Brooklyn” and a “Florida Fishing Legend” like Bill become such good friends? Of course, the answer is simple, it’s fishing.
Bill and I started our fishing tradition together back on Thanksgiving weekend in 1983. He would always say that I was his oldest client but I would always remind him that I was his longest client because I know a couple of you may be a little older than me. This was a tradition that went on almost every Thanksgiving weekend for the last 30 years! He knew that the day after Thanksgiving; even if we didn’t speak about it, that I would be there and that I would ALWAYS have a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce on it for him.
Bill’s passion for fishing renewed my childhood love & passion for fishing! Bill’s love for the Chassahowitzka River made me fall in love with the “Cheese & Whiskey” River! Bill taught me how to spell Chassahowitzka by filling in all the cards for the Redfish we tagged and released over the years.
I started fishing with Bill before he had his Captain’s license during the pre-Carolina Skiff days from his homemade wooden flats boat that I believe was made by either or both Cricket & Johnny Roush. I can remember Bill saying if we got stopped on the way back in that we were just a group of friends fishing together. Though, I would always ask him if we were friends why we were paying him.
Bill was always teaching you about fishing and the history of the area without you ever realizing that he was teaching you anything. Bill had a GPS but never used it as his knowledge of these waters will never be equaled.
It was Bill that nicknamed me “Red ED”! On a day when with just a simple backhand toss in front of the boat, we caught Redfish after Redfish off the bow until we lost count of how many we caught! This was during his videotaping era and he was recording the entire day’s adventure.
Bill always loved to have children on the boat and I’m sure most of us have memories of our children catching their first fish with Bill.
It was Bill that made me the fisherman I am today!
It’s because of Bill that I’m a guide and Captain today!
It’s because of Bill that I’m a member of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA)! Remember Peggy you just had to have that scooter!
It’s because of Bill that I live in Homosassa today!
It’s because of Bill that I have two boats behind my house today!
It’s because of Bill that I’m the man I am today!
It’s because of our love for Bill that we’re all here today!
Bill was not only a close friend, we became like family but he was also my mentor and taught me everything I know about fishing here on Florida’s Nature Coast! Which he was always quick to remind me isn’t much!
When you met Bill and especially if you were lucky enough to get to know Bill you knew he was a special man. He was happy, kind and loved to live life! And oh yeah, he is and always will be a Seminole! It was in his eyes, you just had to look to see!
We became so close that we really didn’t need to say anything to each other; we knew what each other were thinking. Bill never did tell me that he loved me but I could see in his eyes that not only did he love me that he was also very proud of me! Bill we all love you and you’re going to be missed!
Thanks for all the memories!
Some Recent Pictures.
For all of our friends in or near the Tampa, Florida area, please stop by and visit with us at The Outdoors Expo & Boat Show hosted by The Reel Animals, at the Florida State Fairgrounds, Expo Hall, Booth # 315, Friday, 3/1/13, from 1 to 8 PM, Saturday, 3/2/13, from 10 AM to 7 PM, and Sunday, 3/3/13, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Stop by and meet the “REDETTES” and register for your chance to win a FREE charter each day of the show!
Admission is FREE on Friday for everybody and children under 12 years old are admitted free all days. New this year, I will be doing the first ever Scallop Seminar at the show, on Saturday, 3/2 at 4:30 PM. Plus we will have my new boat, “Red Eddie or Knot”, at the show in the Young Boats booth. Stop by and take a look at the classiest charter boat in Citrus County!
Feb. 23-27 – Costa Rica – 1st Annual Reel Animals Sailfish Tournament
Feb. 25 – Full Moon
Feb. 28 – Citrus County Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Banquet
March 1-2-3 – Tampa Outdoor Expo – Florida State Fairgrounds – Booth # 315