From time to time in our lives we meet someone truly special…someone who may be particularly gifted, passionate, knowledgeable, caring, empathetic, resilient, intelligent, focused, tough. That’s how I would describe Vic. When you meet someone unique, you often know it right away.
The setting is often a pursuit or area of interest common to both individuals, in our case fishing, and having sufficient knowledge and experience to fully appreciate the depth of this special person. For example, I had never met an angler so passionate that they would regularly kayak out of Flamingo, in Everglades National Park, and fish and sleep for 24 to 36 hours at a time along the mangrove shorelines in the dead of summer. When I asked Vic well what about mosquitos, he casually mentioned he wore a head screen and took a few other precautions, and that it really isn’t a factor for him…completely unbothered.
Vic Rivera doing one of the things he loves best (left); Justin Rivera fighting a snook wearing FTC apparel (right)
What about a campsite, a place to sleep amongst the crocodiles and other wildlife? “Oh, I enjoy fishing all the different tide stages throughout the night. I doze occasionally in the kayak, then continue fishing.” He continued to thoroughly impress me not only with his vast and detailed knowledge about huge swaths of Florida, including areas I am quite familiar with, but also with his insights and questions as our fishing day progressed. Always posing interesting and perceptive questions, thinking and wondering out loud about why and how certain conditions and physical nuances might be effecting specific behaviors and feeding patterns of our quarry.
Producing item after item from his tackle bag, explaining how this color or this particular lure or soft plastic worked on this or that species under very specifically described conditions of turbidity, bottom type, sunlight, tide velocity, and so on. I believe hard-working fishing guides sometimes develop paradigms and repeated patterns and approaches, whereas Vic’s much broader view, questioning mind, keen powers of observation, and philosophical and scientific mental framework is much more likely to produce innovative
and creative breakthroughs and successes. The best anglers are great at abstracting and generalizing, using their vision to recognize and apply methods and technology to analogous situations. No one is better than Vic at doing this. Fishing is one of his great passions in life, although not the only one by a long shot (virtuoso musician, authority on medieval history, very talented teacher, basketball player and coach, outstanding father and husband, to name a few). Vic is the kind of person that makes you feel that any time you can spend with him, or contact you can have with him, you will always come away richer for the experience. I was so delighted when he founded Florida Tackle Club, because this is a way for us all to benefit from Vic’s rich knowledge and high integrity. When he does something, he really does it right, and FTC is a shining example of his work ethic and exceedingly high standards. I’m certainly proud to be some small part of it.