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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

A Tribute to Love By Capt. Ray Markham

by on Feb.12, 2011, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

When tiny glass minnows started showing up a couple of weeks ago in lower Tampa Bay, I theorized that they were a sign that we could be in for an early pelagic run with Spanish mackerel, kingfish, and cobia.  This week my theory proved correct when Paul Bristo, present owner of Love’s Lures, called to report catching some Spanish mackerel and silver trout at the end of the North Skyway Fishing Pier on Love‘s Lures Jigs.  But Paul’s call was not just another fishing report this time.
Back in the 70’s I found an incredibly effective tandem rigged jig combo for trout called the Love’s Lures Tandem rig.  It became a favorite of mine primarily for its effectiveness on trout.  Another long-time favorite was the Love’s Swimming Minnow, which in a single day I caught 17 different species of fish on the jig.  These were jigs manufactured by a local company in St. Petersburg, founded by retired school teacher, Bill Love.  Bill, and later his son, Steve built this small fishing lure company based around an array of fish-catching soft plastic baits that came to be known as Love’s Lures.
Over the years, I became friends with Bill and Steve and was proud to be a member of their Pro-Staff anglers helping them promote their line of lures.  But the solemn call from Paul today was to inform me that my long-time friend, Steve Love had passed away at the age of 54.  Steve was a big, soft-spoken teddy bear of a man, who always had a kind word.
Years after I first threw Love’s Lures a local radio fishing show called Tampa Bay Outdoors began, with host, Capt. Mel Berman.  Mel hopped aboard my boat for an introductory trip fishing Love’s Lures.  Later, Mel met Bill and Steve Love.  Steve and Mel were both avid football fans, and they soon struck up a friendship that carried over onto the air waves on numerous occasions when Mel had Steve on 970 WFLA as his co-host to talk fishing and football.
It’s been 38-years since the Loves first introduced St. Petersburg anglers to their lures, and the company has changed ownership a couple of times. Today I morn the loss of a long-time friend, Steve Love.  Fish on, Steve.  All your days will be perfect for fishing from now on.

Capt. Ray Markham can be reached for charter at (941) 723-2755 home, (941) 228-3474 cell, or via email at flatback@tampbay.rr.com.

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