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June 2002
Silver Spoons
August 2002
Starting Flats Fishing
September 2002
Beginning Gear - pt. 1
October 2002
Beginning Gear - pt. 2
November 2002
The Courteous Angler
Dec 2002/Jan 2003
Reflections at the
Tide Change
February 2003
Jerkbaits, another look
March 2003
How important is presentation?
April 2003
When to fish...?
May 2003
New ideas
September 2003
Flats Fishing 101 (recap)
December 2003
Another flats fishing year ends
Jan - Feb 2004
New year, new opportunities
March 2004
Flats fishing on any budget
August 2004
Special Request - Hurricane Report
A Special Message
August 2004

My site has suffered as my fishing time has been severly limited and both of those things cause me concern. Now that I finally get back into the swing of things I find that one of my long time report contributors is in a tight spot. I have not yet had the opportunity to fish with Capt. Butch Rickey but have exchanged many emails with him. I made contact with him from a suggestion one one of my best fishing partners.

I want to feature Capt. Rickey's latest report here on my main article page. I hope that many of you who have read and enjoyed his reports will consider his plight and possibly take him up on his offer to keep things going in the short term till things are back to normal. I am only posting the report here as it appears on the BarHopp'R site. Following the link below you can go to the site and see the images of how mother nature has reshaped things in the Pine Island Sound area. Even if you can not pre-purchase a trip you may help out by using the affiliate links on the site for your boating and fishing supplies from West Marine (it does not cost you any more for your items!)

The Hurricane Report

What you are about to read will go down as the hardest thing I've ever had to do. One never expects to be in a position of need at 59 years old. But, with the passing fury and destruction of hurricane Charley, that's exactly where I find myself. The stage was set when the market crashed in '01, taking most of my portfolio with it. Shortly afterward, the horrible events of September 11, 2001, sent our tourism industry in Florida into a downward spiral that lasted for two years. It was very hard on the guiding industry, small industry that it is. I spend what I had left after the market crash to survive until things got better. The first half of this year finally saw things getting back to normal in the fishing guide industry. At the end of June, looking at the books, I felt good about where we were finally going. The future looked good for our business.

Then, came Charley!

By the grace of God, the BarHopp'R fish camp and my small fleet of boats was completely spared any damage. What wasn't obvious in the first few days after Charlie, was that he had destroyed my booking calendar for the foreseeable future. Others are in the same position. Many folks are canceling their trips in the near future. They are, of course, reacting to what they hear and see in the news. I can't say I blame them. But, it's going to create a disaster in the guide business for those of us who are full time, and have no other source of income. I think the part time contingent of our business should be OK. They have jobs and benefits to fall back upon.

So, it is that I find myself in this place. I have explored the possibilities of help from local unemployment and FEMA. There may be some help from "disaster unemployment", but if it comes, it will slowly. I don't know, yet. I absolutely love guiding, and the many friends and customers that fish with me. I don't want to be in any other business. I feel pretty confident that my many friends and customers don't want me to be in any other business, either. So, it is to you, my friends and customers that I turn for help. I have to create enough revenue in the short term to cover the operating costs that go right on, until things get back to normal.

Here's what I'm asking. If you will be so kind as to send a check in the amount of one trip fare ($400) as a short term donation, I will first, post your name and the amount of your contribution on a special "contributors' page" on the website, which will remain there for as long as there is a www.barhoppr.com. Second, I will send you a receipt acknowledging your contribution, and entitling you to use that contribution at any time in the future, for your next BarHopp'R trip, no matter what the rate might be at that time.

If you are not able to send a full fare contribution, a smaller amount would still be very helpful, and will still be treated in the same manner. Your help will be acknowledged, and the amount you send can be used against a future trip at your discretion.

So, I hope you can see that I am not asking for a no strings attached donation, but rather advances against future trips. If you are not currently a BarHopp'R customer, but will still like to help, that would be wonderful, too. Your helping hand will be appreciated more than I could ever tell you. You can send your donations to:

Capt. Butch Rickey
11520 E. Palm Drive
Ft. Myers, FL 33908

I have also just joined the West Marine on-line affiliate program, which will give me an opportunity to generate some small amount of revenue through those of my website visitors who shop on-line at West Marine by clicking the West Marine link on any one of several pages on this website. So, I'm asking my readers and customers to remember the next time you need something for your boat, to please use one of the affiliate links like the one below on this site.

Thanks for stopping back by my site. I hope to get my updates back on a regular schedule. If you can help support Butch in some way I am sure he will follow through for his part.

Let me know what you think.

Good Fishing,

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