Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fisherman, Hero, Mentor, Friend

This post has nothing to do with motorcycles and everything to do with motorcycles. It's about the true spirit of being human, the true spirit of loving life, making your own way without conforming and never looking back. This person has inspired me since I was just 14 or so, and he still does.
I've been very lucky in my life to have crossed paths with inspiring people, even more grateful that one such person is one of my dearest and long time friends, Mark Nichols, inventor and owner of DOA Lures. Few people in this world have the balls to give the finger to the mainstream and follow their passions, Mark Nichols isn't one of them.  I could write a book about this guy, but I'll try to keep it short and sweet.
I first met Mark in 1982 or 83, I was a young piss ant hunting for a job at the spring county fair in Miami. Every year I would walk over to the fair that was in town for a couple weeks and get some odd job to make some cash so I could buy fishing gear. Mark was touring the country with a family that owned a few trailers that set up and sold fruit cups, frozen bananas, virgin daiquiris and the like. The stories from those days, wow! Another time.. After a few days Mark and I were fast friends and would talk fishing all the time. He was a carpenter by trade and was always tinkering with something or another and became obsessed with making an artificial shrimp bait to fish with. He was an avid fisherman, as I was at the time.
He hand carved some wood shrimp then molded them in silicon and very cleverly placed a treble hook at the rear while adding led weights to balance the front. We would throw the shrimps in a nearby canal and test the swimming action. Long story short, after some years of this he started selling them to local tackle shops on the Florida coast and soon he couldn't keep up with the demand. DOA Lures was born.
Mark came in to my life at a very vulnerable time, I was young, hated life, kicked out of my step dads house, family was in turmoil, all I wanted to do was fish, I was too poor to have bikes at the time. I could have easily fallen in to the no mans land of the 80's Miami scene, but Mark made such a positive impression on me it changed my life. My times fishing with him, and even just being around him are forever engraved in my mind and heart. He was and is an example of what people say isn't possible. He followed is true heart and love and made an amazing life for himself, and along the way he is changing others lives as he did mine. I am forever grateful.

He's a brother, and I love him dearly.

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