The Old Man in the Whaler will be missed
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When I first began fishing Matagorda I did so out of a 15-foot aluminum boat. My 25-horse tiller handle motor got me to Oyster Lake in 30 minutes where redfish were just waiting to eat a live shrimp.
Every day I fished I always noticed an old Boston Whaler Outrage tied up to the dock. You could tell the gray-haired captain had spent many mornings on the bay, probably more mornings that I had enjoyed since birth. One day the grizzled old man spoke to me and asked if I was catching any fish. That particular day I hadn't caught much, but the captain had caught limits of speckled trout on soft plastic lures.
He then went back to his boat and grabbed a handful of lures and said, "Here, try these, we have been catching limits of trout on these for two weeks."
Long story, I became Capt. Melvin Talasek's deckhand a few weeks later, and fished just about every day with him that summer. He taught me the in's and out's of chartering, how and when to fish Matagorda Bay, and a few lessons on life.
"Pops" could have gone about his business and never acknowledged a young kid like me; however, that was not his nature. He had been blessed by God and wanted to try to be a blessing to someone else.
I have been a charter captain for several years now and I have watched him countless times do the same for other young anglers that he did for me that day.
He was the most generous man, not only with fishing lures, but with time and money - too generous at times. He taught me about giving, and what a kind word can do for a stranger. There is not a better feeling than being a blessing to another person.
I wrote those words to honor Pops three years ago in my book, "Sunrise Sunset, Devotionals for the Sportsman and Outdoor Enthusiast." I read them when I gave his eulogy Tuesday morning.
Jesus chose a bunch of fishermen to teach and preach his word. Throughout the Bible, especially in the Gospels, some of Jesus' closest friends fished for a living. He added another fisherman to His fleet of disciples April 28.
Matagorda County game warden Clay Shock said it best, "Melvin was the most giving person I have ever known."
His fishing passion was throwing topwaters for big trout; and, he caught more than a few.
In fact, it was Melvin who asked MirrOlure to make the black with a chartreuse head Top Dog. I was in the truck with him a dozen years ago when he called MirrOlure and asked Eric Backnik, the owner, to paint a yellow head on the black Top Dog.
Eric sent him six prototypes and Melvin gave me a couple. I went to Calcasieu Lake and caught a 31-incher that weighed 9 pounds. I called Backnik and told him he better get ready to make a few more of them because I had intentions of using the photo of the fish with the lure on the cover of a magazine.
Two days later Pops and I were in Port Mansfield and caught three trout over 30 inches.
Needless to say, that color caught on, not just for MirrOlure, but for all the other plug makers out there. So, when you see a black topwater with a chartreuse head, it was Melvin who started it all.
I wrote my first book in 2004, entitled "Wadefish Texas." There are lots of pictures of Melvin in it, and you can hear his voice on the pages from all the days we spent together.
Pops, thanks for all those days on that old Boston Whaler, phone calls, suppers you bought me and time you took to teach me how to fish. Thanks mostly for just loving me.
The fish in Matagorda Bay are resting a little easier now.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.