NOTE: They say a person dies twice on this earth, once when the physical body retires and the second is the last time your name is spoken. There are names and memories inside these web pages, some were my close friends and some my family, this is dedicated to keeping their memories alive.
My name is Jim Farmer and I’ve been an avid fisherman for as long as I can remember. My dad was a great outdoorsman and taught me what he had learned over the years which created a foundation for me to carry on the tradition of hunting and fishing as well as enjoying the outdoors. Although my dad lived for hunting season and we did a lot of hunting, fishing was always something I was drawn to and growing up on a little farm in rural Kansas, sometimes fishing was no more than biking to my favorite farm pond with an old coffee can full of worms or some frozen chicken livers and an old Zebco 202.
I fished the rivers, lakes, creeks and farm ponds in the Midwest where I grew up, then I joined the Navy in Aug. 1982 at the age of 22. After boot camp in San Diego and aviation schools in Memphis my first duty station was a newly formed F-18 Fighter/Attack squadron at a Naval Air Base in central California. My job description in the Navy was officially an “Aviation Electricians Mate” or “AE” for short but in reality, the AE stood for “Aviation Everything” and it always seemed that us AE’s had our hands in every system on the aircraft. If it had anything to do with electricity, we probably worked on it. When I wasn’t working on aircraft my desire for fishing took me to all kinds of fishing adventures out west. I really enjoyed saltwater fishing as well as freshwater and fishing is something I did very often during my off time.
My Navy career allowed me the opportunity to fish a lot of places and myself and a few of my squadron mates always found a way to wet a line during our travels including some wild rivers and mountain lakes from Central Oregon down to the deep blue Pacific of offshore Mexico and a lot of water in between. Some of my favorites out west were freshwater trout from mountain lakes and streams in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, stripers from numerous lakes and big bass from the trout and salmon rich mountain lakes. I really enjoyed fishing offshore in the Pacific from Morrow Bay to Sea of Cortez, but I was just as happy fishing a mountain stream somewhere in the Sierra Nevada’s. Believe it or not, the California Aqueduct was one of my favorite places to fish for stripers out west. I never caught any very large stripers in the aqueduct, but I did catch very nice eating size and some very nice catfish. It was fun to fish the aqueduct but somewhat dangerous. My favorite striper lake out west was by far the San Luis reservoir and forebay. It was a natural spawn lake and where I cut my teeth on stripers in the early 80’s. Perhaps someday I’ll write more about my time fishing for stripers out west and camping trips to the San Luis Reservoir/Oneil Forebay. During my time in central California, I had the pleasure of serving on 2 of 5 Aircraft Carriers, the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Ranger.
After 6 long years in central Ca. my next duty station took me to San Diego, Ca. where I was assigned to a F-14 Fighter Squadron at Naval Air Station Miramar. It was just a year earlier when the movie “Top Gun” was released and the interest in F-14’s and Navy Fighter Squadron’s was at its peak. It was short lived though, because of the “Tailhook 91” scandal and the start of the first Gulf War. It was a pretty crazy time to be in a fighter squadron and I could spend days writing about our adventures.
There were plenty of freshwater lakes around San Diego and I fished a bunch of them, but I loved going offshore. We also fished the kelp beds outside Point Loma and the vast San Diego Bay. It was kinda interesting to have one of the massive aircraft carriers pass our little Boston Whaler while fishing in the bay and a few weeks later I’d be standing on the deck of that same carrier as it passed through the bay. When we traveled with the squadron we always fished if we had the opportunity. We did a lot of training in the Nevada desert so if we had a weekend off, the mountains were only a short distance away. Usually, we would wind up camping in the Truckee River area near the Nevada/California line where trout fishing was a blast. During training in the summer desert heat, the mountain streams were a great way to cool down and unwind after a long week of working on jets if we got a weekend off. If you’d like to read more about the jets and my time in the Navy, check out my “Sea Stories” category for some of my Navy adventures. During my time in San Diego, I had the pleasure of serving on 2 more of the 5 Aircraft Carriers, the USS Nimitz and the USS Independence.
By this time, it was 1993 and after spending a total of 2 extended tours and almost 12 years in central and southern California my next tour took me to a small air base in the deep south of Louisiana and Fisherman’s Paradise for some of the best inshore and offshore action the Gulf has to offer. I was assigned to another F-18 Hornet squadron at a small airbase along the Mississippi, just south of the New Orleans area. We traveled a lot in the squadron but when I was at home the marsh was just a few miles down the road and the base had a pretty nice golf course. Four years of catching redfish and speckled trout in the marshes of Louisiana as well as some of the best offshore action for Tuna and Wahoo was more than my words could ever describe and memories I’ll never forget. Myself, and some of my squadron friends had a blast running around the marsh targeting redfish and speckled trout.
One of my favorite fishing stories from my time in Louisiana is called “Man Camp” and describes one of our fishing adventures to a fishing camp we came to love out in the marsh. The story Man Camp is dedicated to my good friend and retired Master Chief, Jerry Thomas. I would consider Jerry one of my closest friends during my time in Louisiana and Jerry taught me a lot about life. Give it a read one day.
Another good one is called “A Sharks Tale” and that is a story about an offshore tuna trip with a twist 70 miles offshore in the gulf. Feel free to check it out in my “Fishing Stories” category.
The F-18 squadron life was fun and somewhat laid back during my time in Louisiana and I guess that’s why they call it “The Big Easy”. It was quite a culture shock for me, coming from Southern California and the F-14 Tomcat life of running around at 90mph with my hair on fire. I got to spend a lot of time in Key West with the squadron and I also served on the last of 5 aircraft carriers with the squadron, the USS John C Stennis.
Then it was on to the southeast for my twilight retirement tour. For my last tour I wanted to end it in another squadron so I spent the last few years in another F-18 squadron at an airbase just north of Atlanta. After spending four years at a Naval Air base in the suburbs of Atlanta and a 20-year Navy career, I dropped my retirement papers and retired just off the shores of Lake Lanier in north Georgia. For me the Navy was a great adventure, and I enjoyed working on the jets and family type atmosphere of squadron life. I guess you could say that I dedicated 20 years of my services and used the Navy to satisfy my addiction for fishing, but the Navy gave me 20 years of adventures in return, so it was a good trade. When I was a kid, I would lie on my back in our little treehouse, and I’d stare up at the sky and watch commercial planes fly over. I always wondered what the passengers’ lives might be like and what my life might be like when I grew up, now I know.
More than 10 years ago my wife Lisa and I bought a little double wide trailer on a lake lot on Lake Lanier and used it as a weekend getaway just 7 miles from our main house. Three years ago (2018), Lisa and I sold the main house and tore down the old double wide on the lake and we built our dream home. Lisa and I found the home design from a local architect and tweaked it to our liking. Building a custom home on the lake was quit an adventure but now the lake is just 53 steps from my back door so follow along with my most recent adventures on Lake Lanier and beyond.
“I’ve learned a lot about fishing over the years and I would like to pass along my experiences, knowledge and expertise to ya’ll so go grab a beer or your favorite cold drink and Enjoy“.-Jim Farmer