Bob Rich Jr., chairman of the board and CEO of Rich Products Corp., Buffalo, N.Y., told fish stories Nov. 3 at the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum. But they had nothing to do with his companys Rich SeaPak seafood.
A member of the South Florida Fishing Hall of Fame and author of two books on sportfishing, Rich chronicled the history of Americas fisherman-presidents and angling heritage in a speech titled Anglers of the Oval Office. The audience at the presidential library at Texas A&M University, College Station, included diplomats, businessmen, academicians and George and Barbara Bush.
Rich noted that George Washington caught barracuda in Barbados and used his commercial fishing connections to feed his troops at Valley Forge. John Quincy Adams was the first documented fly fisherman president. Chester Arthurs fishing trip to Yellowstone helped solidify support for our National Park system. Grover Cleveland, Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter all wrote books about their angling experiences.
Rich also read excerpts from his book, The Fishing Club: Brothers and Sisters of the Angle, including a chapter highlighting the career and fishing exploits of George H.W. Bush. Rich capped the evening by presenting the former president a mounted brown trout landed on Englands Test River, home stream of angler/playwright William Shakespeare and the birthplace of fly fishing.
All profits from Richs books, which include Fish Fights: A Hall of Fame Quest, go to cystic fibrosis research. The books are available at the Barnes & Noble web site (www.barnesandnoble.com) and at Amazon.com.