Recently I had the memorable pleasure of fishing the Crappie Masters Florida State Championship Media Day event on the St. John’s River with Eva and Phil Rambo from Bloomington, Indiana.
Driving to Deland that morning the temperatures dropped into the thirties; it’s not often that I go fishing in Florida when there’s frost on the ground and much rarer to spend the morning fishing with a couple of pro-anglers who have been married for over a half a century.
After teaming up with the competitors to fish, in the predawn light, I followed Phil to the Rambo’s boat where Eva was waiting for us at the docks of Ed Stone Park. Like a young couple dancing together for the first time, Phil and Eva were excited, I thought they had just started fishing the Crappie Masters tour.
As we idled down the St. Johns River toward Lake Monroe I told Phil and Eva when I was a boy growing up outside of Tampa; speckled perch was the accepted name for what are now referred to as crappie. We all agreed, “Boy how things have changed since back then.”
It was the morning of Eva’s seventy-fifth birthday. In June, the happy couple will be married for fifty-five years. They fished together like a well-oiled team.
As a guide, I’ve fished together with hundreds of couples, but I’ve never met any more kind-hearted and committed to fishing and the outdoors than the Rambos.
What I learned that morning, fishing side-by-side with the incredible Rambos is that a family that fishes together often stays together and that the Crappie Masters tournament tour is a family-friendly event where competitors get along and share with one another.