They say that bad things come in threes, but in the past three weeks four of my longtime friends have died and I have learned of their passing only by reading newspaper obituaries. I seldom know how to react to the loss of people I haven't seen in a long time and wish I were better at attending funerals and writing something appropriate to share my sense of loss.
Today, I was thinking about how I first developed a back problem and was reminded that I had my first bad day of fishing because of back pain while fishing with Foster Holtclaw, who died last week.
Holtclaw himself had a back ailment that made operating his bass boat uncomfortable or worse sometimes. But his love of being on Beaver Lake and fishing kept him going. There is a reference to his discomfort in the old story linked below. On a later fishing trip, I developed my first serious back pain and jokingly told him I must have "caught" it from him, as in "catching" a cold or something.
Anyway, Foster was a great friend and excellent outdoorsman and an inspiration and mentor to me in those years. I regret not getting spend time with him in recent years. Even more, I regret never having had the privilege of writing a story about or photographing all the other wonderful people who have passed from my life.
To view outdoor page from Oct. 6, 1974, Northwest Arkansas Times and Aubrey Shepherd's outdoor column, please click on
Oct 6, 1974, Aubrey Shepherd column in Northwest Arkansas Times includes account of fishing bass tournament with Foster Holtzclaw of Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Beaver Lake.
The following link brings up an April 20, 1975, Northwest Arkansas Times outdoor page with Holtzclaw and many other local anglers doing well in regional fishing events.
April 20, 1975, aubrey shepherd's outdoor column in NWAT covers Poor Boy Bass Association tournaments with Foster Holtzclaw doing well in season standings. Roger Mhoon, Sonny Whitson and Paul Castleman early qualifiers for Poor Boy Classic, Also article on North American Sportsman's Society with Bob Reed.