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Bart D. Porter

Bart D Porter is an American businessman who resides in Bellevue, Kentucky. The city of Bellevue overlooks the Ohio River and Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the owner of GreatForce Insurance Agents, LLC , a professional services firm which specializes in insuring privately held businesses. He serves as the firm’s President and CEO and is licensed in numerous states. Porter is a licensed insurance consultant , an insurance agent, and a surplus lines broker with over 31 years’ experience. Porter is a trusted professional to hundreds of business owners. He is also a member of the real estate development firm Rivertown Development Group, LLC. Bart, his wife, and their two children are native Kentuckians.

As an avid outdoorsman, his photo gallery highlights some wonderful times spent outdoors.

Henry David Thoreau stated, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

Featured Adventure

“I promise I will be home at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.”

That was the last thing I said before I went to bed on Friday evening. Little did I realize when I made that promise how it would come to haunt me the next day or the choices it would force to make concerning the woman I love and my fishing buddy.

A slight lapse of memory

Earlier that week, I received a phone call from my fishing buddy, Fred Berkshire.  Fred is a charismatic fella that I met many years ago. He is kind of hard to figure when you first meet him. I think it is due to his stern, tanned face covered in a beard.  At first, you’re not sure what his deal is, but after you get to know him, you figure out Fred was actually an old hippie hard-working master carpenter who later in life became a Christian.  

Fred is also a master angler in disguise and he is the best at fishing for musky, or as he would say, “hunting for them.”  Muskies are native to Kentucky and the Indians that used to hunt and fish in the happy hunting grounds of Kentucky once called them water wolves.

Fred mentioned on his call that he had recently gone to one of our favorite honey holes. While fishing at the waterfalls, he started slaying the fish and asked did I want to go see if the muskies have moved up in the creeks yet (which they do several times a year).  Before I could think about it, I committed and said yes. I knew my family had something going on that week, but I didn’t see anything listed on my cell phone calendar.

 Well, later in the week I found out what I was supposed to be doing that weekend. It was my wife Emily’s birthday on Saturday, the very day I promised Fred to go fishing with him. I was torn between my wife’s birthday and the commitment I made to my fishing buddy. I wish it was as easy to solve the problem as Brad Paisley mentioned in his song, “I’m going to miss her,” but it wasn’t!

I thought about it and came up with a brilliant idea: I’ll do it all!

So, I thought about it and came up with a brilliant idea: I’ll do it all! Angler by morning and lover by evening! So I approached my wife with the skill of the seasoned litigator. I had every possible objection planned out with a perfectly and carefully choreographed response. So I approached her and said, “Honey, I got a call from Fred, the fish are biting and I mistakenly told him yes before I checked with you … but, but, but if you don’t mind, I’m going fishing just for a little bit on Saturday and I will be home just in time to take you out to a nice dinner for your birthday.” I had several responses ready, such as:

• “I can’t back out now, I gave my word” or,
• “I’m not getting any younger! With the kids and all, you never know if this is the last opportunity I will have to fish this year “

But I didn’t need them. She said, “That’s fine, but don’t come home at the last minute all worn out looking for a place to take a nap.”
“It’s a deal! I will be home by 1:30 p.m. on Saturday,” I promised.

I never dreamed the day would turn out like it did.

Deep down, I knew I could meet that requirement because it was mid-August and the conditions for fishing were far from ideal.  First, it was going to be a sunny day without a cloud in the sky and fish like overcast conditions. Secondly, the temperatures had been hovering in the high 90s and the humidity was so high you could cut it with a knife. Lastly, with it being a sunny day, all the recreational boaters would be out on the water creating a wake and noise.

Out on the water

I never dreamed the day would turn out like it did.

Saturday morning, I was up at 5 a.m. and en route to meet old Fred. We loaded up his Ranger bass boat and headed to our honey hole.  As we were putting in, we were in a full sweat because the temperature was in the already mid-80s. We fired the boat up and set sail. There’s something magical when you feel that wind in your face as the boat skims across the calm water with the motor humming and turning up the wake. It just puts you at ease and you come to the realization that all the effort to get there is all worth it.

We arrived at our first and spot started casting. It wasn’t five minutes before we had a large swirl at the boat.  We didn’t see the fish but due to the size of water boil, we knew it was a decent-sized fish that just missed the lure.  With a miss like that your heart kicks in and you seem to cast twice as much looking for the next fish, but this time, there was nothing we could do to trigger another strike.

We moved on to our second spot and I switched to one of my favorite lures, a jet-black buck tail with a bronze blade. The trolling motor was buzzing on the quiet morning as we cast and all I could hear were the thousands of cicadas along the banks, buzzing like high-powered lines in a rainstorm.  The sweat was pouring off me, dripping in my eyes and I was thinking to myself: “Yeah, it probably is just too hot to catch fish today.” Right then, the buck tail screeched to a dead stop.  I thought “a snag” and gave it half my normal hook set and then — BAM, the Shimano drag started screaming as the line took off.

“Muskie On!” I barked to Fred. We were in less than two feet of water and the fish came out of the water on her tail like a tarpon trying to shake the hook. The adrenaline dumped into my veins like having the winning horse cross the finish line at the Kentucky Derby. As I played the fish I was whispering to myself, “Keep calm. Don’t horse her, and let the rod and drag do the work… come on baby… let me get you in the boat.”  Meanwhile on the other end of the boat, Fred was smooth as ice, rapidly reeling in his line and making a quick adjustment to the boat’s position in the creek.  He pulled the trolling motor into the Ranger. He has learned from experience how to reduce the odds of getting a line broken or tangled so you don’t risk losing a massive musky. I played the fish and worked her towards Fred the expert, who netted the musky perfectly. With over 200 muskies under his belt, Fred knows what he is dong!  It was 9 a.m. and the first Muskie was in the boat.

By 10 a.m. Fred had a nice follow to the boat, but as he was performing a figure eight, the muskie struck the leader above the lure. That blew the lure out past its teeth-lined jaws

The fish keep biting

By 11:30 a.m. the sun was scorching as the temperature climbed to 92 degrees.  Fred suggested we head to his favorite waterfall to try our luck there for other types of fish.

IT WAS 1:30 p.m. The only thing I’m going to catch from here on out is grief!

After a nice boat ride cooled us off, we arrived at the waterfall to try our luck for striper and smallmouth. As we cast into the current, we started landing fish with every other cast.  The variety of fish we were pulling in the boat was crazy — first a smallmouth then a striper, a largemouth and then on to white bass, drum, walleye and sauger…  We landed at least 20 fish in an hour and a half. Fred was reeling in three to my one, quiet grin on his face I might add.

Fred forced me to ask that awful question as a co-boater, “What bait are you using and do you have any more?”

Those are magical words to an angler because I had just conceded that his technical knowledge was far superior to mine that day!  We had been fishing hard and stopped only once for about five minutes, to eat a pack of cheesy peanut butter crackers.  They taste extra special when you’re famished on the water.  The biting stopped and even the cicadas were winding down.  The temperature was hovering at 98 and I thought we were about to wrap it up. I looked at my phone and panic hit me…

IT WAS 1:30 p.m. The only thing I’m going to catch from here on out is grief!

A fishing buddy’s advice: ‘Just one more cast’

I told Fred, “You’ve got to get me out of here! It’s my wife’s birthday and I’m done if I don’t get home.” I calculated it was at least a 40-minute boat ride to the truck. Then we had to get the truck loaded on the trailer and then drive to Fred’s house, which is an hour from my house. I was two hours from home.

Fred did what any fishing buddy would do, he offered me a crash course in how to call your wife and tell her you need an extension to the hall pass!

He offered to call her for me and I politely said “Are you crazy?”  Then he turned to the best method – SHAME — and said, “I can’t believe you would leave this once-in-a-lifetime moment where the fish are biting with every cast… The stars are aligned and we have to take advantage of it while we can!”  I couldn’t have agreed more, but I knew I couldn’t stay. But, I was held hostage in his boat.

I tried to call my wife a dozen times but I couldn’t get a cell signal out in the middle of nowhere. I was stressed to the max and the calm relaxed fishing feeling disappeared. Fred said, “Well we will head back, but we have to stop back up the creek where you caught that first musky and try one more time!”  I said OK and we were off.

I was stressed to the max and the calm relaxed fishing feeling disappeared.

We eased into the creek and started casting again.  I switched to my favorite chrome and blue rattletrap and after about 20 casts — BOOM! Another musky slammed onto the treble hooks.  We played her into the boat and I thought “It is a golden day!” The stress that plagued me was gone again in a second…. I was in fishing heaven.

Forgiveness… with a price

I finally got my wife on the phone and I told her “I made a grave error in calculating the timing and this was in an once-in-a-lifetime day.” She could tell by the excitement in my voice that I was dead serious and having a ball.  She said “That’s fine, you can take me out another day, but next time it will be ALL day if you’re not home in time to go to dinner tonight!”

I said OK and I thought, man I am lucky to have a woman like that in my life… and not to mention my fishing buddy, Fred!

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