What I have found out during my lifespan is that my favorite memories are the ones when I was out-of-doors. Mostly, when I was either fishing or hunting. Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, once a week, I would rush to the television after supper and watch my favorite outdoor show, "The Sportsmen's Friend," featuring Harold Ensley. Ensley, was a professional sportsman who knew my Dad. I am not sure if Dad grew up with Harold, but they knew each other enough to meet and eat lunch together once a week. At the time, my Dad worked as a service manager for a car dealer down the street from KCMO-TV station. Dad would always come home with a story about Harold and his fishing and hunting experiences. About the time I was eight or nine, I contracted a lung infection from the industrial pollution from down in the lower bottoms where we lived by the Missouri River. There trains and industries polluted the air around our tenament. After several doctors opinions, it was decided by my parents to rent a cabin in the Lake of the Ozarks on the weekends. So every Friday night after my parents got off work, we packed up and headed to Warsaw, Missouri. There I could breathe the fresh air and with the help of family and friends, I learned to fish and later hunt. Fishing was much different in the Midwest than in the Rocky Mountains. Learning to fish for warm-water Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Walleye and Crappie became a weekly event. And each Monday night, I would rush back to the television to see what Mr. Ensley had done and see if we out fished him. I didn't get to meet Mr. Ensley until I was in my early 20's, but felt I knew him just like everybody else that watched his show. Little did I know, that his inspiration would someday find its way into my life as a professional outdoorsman.
For the past 50 years, I have tried to outwit many species of fish. Little did I know that in 1987, I would co-host a weekly radio talk show on fishing called "High Country Outdoors" on KYBG-AM 1090 a top of the Warwick Hotel in Denver, CO. There I worked for some time with my co-anchor Jim Smith. Since we both had the same first name, I took the handle of "The Jayhawker," so it was easier for the listeners to tell the difference between us on the air. During my time on the radio, I had the priviledge to interview many of North America's top fishermen including: Al Linder and Doug Stange from the In-Fisherman, Babe Winkelman, Mike McClelland, Rowland Martin, Jimmy Houston, Bill Dance, Ensley, Larry Nixon, Denny Bauer, and Homer Circle to name a few. There were many, many more that inspired me to become the founder of the Colorado Walleye Association in 1989. Over the years, I fished many bass and walleye tournaments, winning the ESPN John Fox Celebrity Fishing tournament in El Paso, Texas with fishing pro Butch Rouse and former NFL football player Roy Green of the St. Louis football Cardinals (now Arizona Cardnials). What started out as my passion, ended up being a full-time outdoor writer. This allowed me to join the Outdoor Writers Association of America, the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers, the Texas Outdoor Writers Association, Pikes Peak Writers Association and the Northern Colorado Writers Association. For the past 30 years, I have worked in the field to hone my craft as an outdoor columnist. Along the way, I have been featured in local newspapers including the Old Lyons Recorder (Lyons, CO.), Left-Hand Canyon News (Niwot, CO.), Greeley Gazette (Greeley, CO.), Moore County News Press in Dumas, TX. and North Weld Herald News and Central Weld Voice Newspapers (in Eaton, CO.). My goal has been to share and teach fellow fishermen about this great sport by concentrating on preservation and conservation, through selective catching. Healthy trout that are handled correctly prior to release back into the water have a good chance of living. The visual inspection of trout helps seperate unhealthy trout. By visual inspection, this helps seperate these fish, so diseases do not spread. It should be noted that the majority of fish caught by bait fishermen end up keepers because trout tend to swallow the live bait completely. Fishermen using artificial lures and flies hook trout in the jaw and lip. This method allows the trout to be returned to the water if handled correctly. I choose to fish with all kinds of tackle from bait to fly-fishing. I well understand the philosophy of the purest, who only fish with flys and lures and return every catch, but not every fish should be returned to the waters because of poor handling. Too many times, I have caught fish that were improperly returned to the water, only to see fungus growth on poorly handled fish. This book's purpose is to teach the proper fundamentals and etiquette of trout fishing along with proper handling, releasing, river and lake manners (the use of common sense and courtesy) and proper cleaning and storage after the catch. I hope you enjoy what I have learned from such unknown men as Elmer (Stinky) Anderson, one of the best fishermen who ever lived and was never recognized, George Anderson, Leland Tresenrider, and members of the Kansas and Colorado Walleye Associations, Loveland Fishing Club, who volunteer to teach youth one of the greatest life-time sports. I also want to thank my mother and father for having the insight and courage to keep me on the right track as a kid.
Jim Merriott was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and grew up on and around the Missouri River. As a boy, he learned to hunt and fish with his father, James Sr., in the Ozark Mountains. There he learned to fish for both cold-water and warm-water fish. Along the Warsaw River, Jim read many adventure books written by Mark Twain, Jack London, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway. He is a graduate of Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, and worked on his master's degree at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg. He began his career as a teacher and coach and was host to a weekly outdoor talk show in Denver. He has been master of ceremonies for the Colorado RV, Sports, Boat, and Travel Show and has written a weekly outdoor column since 1989 in numerous newspapers. He has won several newspaper awards from the Kansas Press Association and the Panhandle Press Association. He is a member of several outdoor writers' organizations and writers' associations.
He lives in Greeley, Colorado, where he earned an American history degree and worked on a history master's. He is a certified baseball historian.
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