Johnson: Ready to help
Larry Johnson has only lived in Port Aransas for six years. Before he moved here, he’d only visited our town once, and though he was a lifelong fresh water angler, he had little experience fishing in saltwater.
And yet, here he is, named Port Aransas Boatman of the Year, along with Dennis Lugg of Aransas Pass. Johnson’s work in helping run the Port Aransas Deep Sea Roundup the last few years has been significant, said Bruce Staffel, who was chairman of last year’s event and the one this year.
“He is one of the core guys that are on site when the Roundup is happening, helping set up and all that kind of thing,” said Staffel, who is vice president of the Port Aransas Boatmen, the organization that runs the Roundup. “There’s a handful of guys that are really core guys that really make that happen, and he’s one of them. … He’s been instrumental.”
Johnson and his wife, Debbie Dean, moved here to take jobs as managers of the Island Moorings Marina. They’re still working there today.
What’s key to running a marina well?
“Making sure the marina doesn’t fall apart,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of bolts and screws there.”
Being nice to folks also is important. Not only is it simply the right thing to do, it brings more business.
“I think those friendly words go a long way,” Johnson said. “(Visitors) talk to other people about how nice and pleasant it is over here.”
Johnson grew up in West Bend, Wis., and started fishing when he was about five years old, with his father, on lakes in Wisconsin.
The part of fishing that Johnson likes most is that moment when he hooks a fish.
“When there’s a pull on the other end of the line, and the pole bends, and the drag starts pulling on the reel – that’s the fun part, there,” he said.
Johnson and his wife moved to Port Aransas from Albuquerque, N.M. Fishing wasn’t bad in New Mexico, but Johnson had to drive about 45 minutes to get to a fresh water spot.
One of Johnson’s best days on the water around here was on his 55th birthday last year, when he was fishing in Piper Channel with his uncle, Henry Niski of Port Aransas. Combined, they caught their limit of redfish and hooked two black drum and a 19-inch mangrove snapper.
Johnson joined the Boatmen when he moved to Port Aransas.
“I just thought it would be really good for the marina, and I wanted to do something for the community,” he said.
A board member now, Johnson has found the Boatmen to be “a good group,” he said. “And, if you look at their history, it’s been that way for years.”
Johnson said he’s proud of the work the Boatmen have done in looking after sports fishermen’s interests. And he’s especially proud of the fact that the Boatmen have awarded tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to Port Aransas High School seniors over the years.
“Kids need to go to school,” Johnson said, “and they need all the help they can get.”