Nichols credits Boatmen for service to community
Named the Port Aransas Boatmen Inc. Boatman of the Year in his 60th year, Nichols was elected this year - his 65th - to the Boatmen Hall of Fame. He will be among those honored during the 73rd Deep Sea Roundup July 3-6.
However, he will say he's been fishing since he was five or six years old. He's been in Port Aransas since 1979 and moved here full-time the following year.
"I got involved with Port Aransas Boatmen Inc. in 1982 or 1983, and pretty heavily in the latter part of 1983," Nichols recalled.
Long before that, however, Nichols was fishing with the legendary Peg Carpenter in a Farley boat.
One time, he remembered, he and Carpenter got "blown out" of going offshore by high winds. They went to Lydia Ann Channel instead, and came back with "something like 250 pounds of trout. It set a record at that time for one trip, but I don't remember exactly how much it was."
His fishing has been primarily offshore, dating back to tournaments held in the 1980s. There was a sailfish in '85 he's particularly proud of.
One of the most eventful trips, however, was on a 31-foot Hatteras fishing boat with Carlos Moore and Kenny Scales.
"We had a 51-gallon fuel bladder on the deck underneath the fighting chair (the chair where anglers sit to bring in large fish), because there wasn't enough fuel capacity for an overnight trip otherwise," Nichols recalled.
"About 2:30 a.m., that chair knocked the (fueling) nozzle off the bladder and fuel started spilling into the bilge."
With such a potentially explosive situation, Nichols described the anglers' actions as "something of Chinese fire drill."
They did eventually get the fuel leak plugged - fortunately without fire or explosion.
"We went back in that night, and out again the following day," he said, shaking his head ruefully. "We never did catch anything."
Nichols would really rather talk about Port Aransas Boatmen Inc. than about his fishing prowess, however.
"They're one of the best organizations I've ever been in," he said. "They do a lot for the community."
He's especially proud that the group is sponsoring the Junior Port Aransas Boatmen, for youngsters still in school. It's an organization founded this year.
"It's going to be a super year for the Boatmen," Nichols predicted.