Nick Lyon’s Birthday Adventure
by Ron Presley
The catfish birthday bash conspiracy.
It all started for Nick as a casual conversation between him and his mom, Megan. They decided it would be fun to go bowling and go out to eat dinner on his birthday. When the date rolled around Megan woke Nick at 8:00 am with the pretense of running some errands with his sister.
Nick got a bit suspicious when Megan engaged the GPS in town, but it led to the turnpike and indicated that there was quite a few miles left to go. Those errands were a long way from home.
“I was thinking, like where are we going,” reported Nick later. “We drove for hours and ended up at a big building. I didn’t know what it was until we got inside, and mom tells me that we were at the fishing expo in Virginia. Mom asked me and my sister to stay put.”
Megan returned after a brief absence and the threesome began walking around the expo with Megan deliberately avoiding the Katfish Clothing booth. Finally, they approached the booth.
“Is that who I think it is,” asked Nick. “So, I walk up and standing there is Dale Lowe and Matthew Miles. Dale puts his hand on my shoulder and says, ‘You will be fishing with me the next 3 days.’ I said, What? Really? —Seriously? I had no idea what to think. I was so happy! We went out in the parking lot with Dale and talked for a little bit before my mom and sister left to go home while me and Dale went on our adventure.”
The Adventure Begins
“I had a goal to take a child fishing that loved to fish and had passion for the sport,” offered Dale Russell Lowe, Jr. “I kept an eye on kids that followed my page and choose one of them. My intent was to find a kid that didn’t have the means to go after the big fish like we have in Virginia.”
“I have loved to fish ever since I could walk and would of fell over for a chance to go out with someone I looked up to,” continued Lowe. “So, I thought it would be awesome to surprise a child with a free trip to go after trophy fish.”
As Lowe continued to monitor the kids who followed his page, he decided it would be Nick that he would invite. He contacted Megan Lyon with his offer and she was all for it. Her role in the adventure would be to get Nick to Virginia and Lowe would take it from there. The whole escapade was kept from Nick so that it would be a surprise. And, as luck would have it, the date they choose was Nick’s 13th birthday.
“The meeting place was set for the fishing expo in Richmond, VA,” reported Lowe. “We would meet at the Katfish Clothing booth with Mathew Miles. Since they arrived before I did Megan had to avoid the booth until I arrived. When I got there she brought Nick over and he walked right up to Mathew and me and shook our hands. That’s when I told him of our plan. His face was priceless. He was shocked.”
Miles gave Nick a Katfish shirt and they visited for a while. Then the new fishing partners headed for the Bass Pro Shops in Ashland, VA to view the old VA state record blue cat of 109 pounds that swims there in their tank. Dinner in the Bass Pro facility preceded the real adventure.
“I asked Nick if he want to camp on the boat or get a hotel and head out early in the morning,” explained Lowe. “He told me he was ready to fish, so we headed to the river. We put the boat in at Jordan Point and went out to catch some gizzard shad.”
Lowe showed Nick how to drive the boat and help with gathering bait. Nick worked the steering wheel while Lowe threw the net. It wasn’t long until they had plenty of bait.
“In the first spot we fished we only caught 1 fish, about 3 pounds,” said Lowe. “So we moved on to a shallow flat about 6 foot deep with some structure on it. It was a big fish spot and safe out of the channel so we could sleep. Before I threw all the rods out one of the Big Cat Fever M/H rods doubled over. I grabbed it out of the rod holder and handed it to Nick. He knew right away it was the biggest fish he had ever had on a line.”
“We went on the James River and fished for a little bit,” recalled Nick. “Then we moved to a calmer spot where we could stay for the night. We were sitting there and one of the rods folded. I got so excited I jumped up reeled him in and that was my first big blue cat. It was 59 pounds!
“From there we fell asleep. In the middle of the night we woke up to a 30 pounder. He was a warm up before we woke up again in the morning to a rod twisted up the side of the boat. The line was going up the front of the boat. Dale hooked him, woke me up, and gave me the rod. That was when we pulled up a 67 pounder.”
Lowe said the fish put up a good fight, but Nick showed him who was boss. It didn’t take Nick long to get it in the net. The fish was yet another personal best for Nick. The new fishing partners had no idea that it would not be the last.
The pair then met up with Kaleb Page, so Nick could meet him. They wanted to take some photos and video releasing the 59- and 67-pound fish. In addition to meeting another catfish hero Nick learned that Page would be sending him three BCF rods and a hoodie. They left happy, heading towards some deeper water to fish.
We left Kaleb thinking the day couldn’t get any better,” recalled Lowe. “We were wrong. It wasn’t long until Nick caught a nice 42 pounder. I was so happy for Nick. Then, down went another rod. Nick struggled with this one, but handled it like a pro. We knew it was going to be another personal best.
“After meeting with Kaleb Page, we headed out again,” explained Nick. “We got setup at a 100-foot deep spot. Within 5 minutes I hooked up with a 42 pounder and it was a great fight. In that same spot, about 20 minutes later, another rod buried over. I couldn’t take this one out of the rod holder. Dale got it out and gave it to me. I was in for a big fight with this one. This fish was big and he surfaced a pretty long ways away from the boat. It took me a little over 5 minutes to reel him in. The fish weighed 72 pounds. It was my personal best blue catfish. Then I did another video with Kaleb Page to end my best birthday ever!”
“When we landed the big blue, I don’t know who was more wore out, Nick or the fish,” said Lowe. “It was a beast and it gave Nick another PB.”
“A lot of kids look up to us and follow our pages,” concluded Lowe. “To be able to pick one and surprise them with a fishing trip was a great feeling. I will be picking and inviting another child soon. It turned out to be an awesome trip. Nick is a great kid with a bright future ahead of him.”