Robin Keyton Edited by Craig Nyhus
Photo by Jennifer Simmons FLW
Wednesday, 04 April 2007
It is an iconic American scene - the father/son fishing trip. It brings
families together and binds them though a shared passion. And once in a
while, it sends them on a road trip with a lucrative outcome.
After spending years fishing professionally as a tournament angler and
outdoor guide in East Texas, Port Arthur native Stephen Johnston is no
stranger to tournament trails. But Wayne, his father, is a newcomer.
Stephen, now from Hemphill, has made his living as a fishing and hunting
guide at Toledo Bend Reservoir and Sam Rayburn since 1994. Since childhood,
he has fished with his father, and since his teen-age years, he has fished
Wayne’s retired last spring from a career in the oil and chemical
industries, and was put to work in Stephen’s guide business.
In January, Stephen competed in the Texas Tournament Trail event held on
Lake Amistad. Wayne tagged along and entered as a co-angler.
In February, Stephen competed in the FLW Stren Series event on Lake Sam
Rayburn. For this four-day event anglers’ daily catches are accrue through
the first three days. The field is then cut to ten for the final day.
It was not out of the ordinary for Stephen to call his father and report
that he has done well in a tournament, or that he has a weigh-in he’d like
the family to attend. Stephen had done well on the first day of competition,
holding second place. On day two, he improved to lead the field by two and a
half pounds. On day three, he increased his lead to three pounds.
That is when the call was made. “You and momma should be here tomorrow. I
believe I can win this one.”
And he did, with his entire family cheering from the bleachers set up on the
Wal-Mart parking lot in Jasper.
In March, the Stren Series’ next stop was Amistad. This time, Wayne proved
to be more than just a supporter of his son.
The conclusion of day one of competition saw Wayne in 47th Place in a field
of 199 co-anglers while Stephen ranked 39th on the pro side. On day two,
both improved as Wayne brought in 22 pounds and Stephen 23, moving Stephen
into the top ten. On day three, Wayne moved in to the top ten and Stephen
held his ground.
With the entire family watching both father and son via live Internet video
feed, they made their way to the scales. Wayne settled in 5th place overall,
netting a nice check. Stephen also finished 5th on the professional side.
From the podium, weigh-master Ron Lappin asked the senior Johnston who was
the better angler. The reply came with a big smile. “Well, I am, of course;
I taught him everything he knows.”
Photo by Jennifer Simmons FLW Outdoors
Stephen and Wayne Johnston at the weight-in during the FLW Stren event on