I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Jack Bright, partly because he did not announce his illness and partly because I'd heard from him less than two weeks ago and all appeared to be OK with him. Every week I would receive a detailed email from Jack, usually spurred on by something he'd read on my blog. In fact, Jack was always eager to contribute to Fishing for History, and perhaps my favorite two pieces of his are "Lead to the Head Leads to New Lead" and "Thoughts on Paul Young."
A quick anecdote about Jack. I was slated to room with Jack at the 2007 Louisville Nationals. We had coordinated ahead of time to meet in the lobby of the hotel, but when the appointed time arrived, no Jack. I called his cell phone to no avail. Then I called the room. Again no answer. I shrugged, registered, and went on over to the show. A couple of hours later I turn around and run into Jack, wearing a crooked grin. before I had a chance to say a word, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a rare Shakespeare reel. It was all the explanation that was needed from Jack, and we both had a good laugh. We had an ongoing bet when NCAA tournament time came around about whether Xavier or Michigan State would go deeper into the tournament...
Jack would occasionally email me what he called "filler material" which I could use for the blog on days I didn't feel like writing anything. I've culled a few of these pieces here (I have two longer ones I'll use in the near future). They were usually written in response to something I'd published on the blog.
Here's one that Jack wrote in response to some articles I published on Texas lure maker Doug English:
You touch on so many things that remind me of my past. Like [your] subject, there is another Doug English and from what I`ve learned no relation. Mine was an All American tackle at, I`m not sure, Southern Methodist, TX. Who went on to gain All-Pro status with the Lions in the late `70s when the Det. Lions had teeth and claws. Always thought one and the same.
A neat bit of trivia Jack offered came in response to an article about "another Jaws" referring to a large northern that had been eating ducks.
Todd -- A similar story appeared in the Detroit Free Press about early `40s RE a Musky that ate a cocker spaniel at the head of Belle Isle, the Musky was reportedly in the 100 lb. class, of course never caught or proven, great for the imagination. Dog`s owner was throwing sticks in river so dog would fetch. A couple years later a Percy Haver caught a world record Musky (64 lbs.) a few miles up the river (Lake St. Claire), makes good reading though. -- Jack
A third bit came after I'd talked about how some anglers use large live bait for musky and pike:
Neat story Todd -- I`ve used 2 inch Sunfish and/or Bluegills and an occasional 4 or 5 inch perch when after big pike, and have heard of the 2 to 3 lb. Walleye or smallie that Musky lick their chops over but your item put a new perspective on bait fishing.
But the most touching piece he ever wrote me was in response to my accident last November. It takes on a special meaning now:
It is so true, how much we take for granted, I had cancer of the colon 40+ years ago there again we suddenly realize what IS important and the time remaining is so vauable, I thank God again and again for my good fortune. You and yours are truly fortunate. --- Jack
We WERE fortunate, indeed, to have known Jack Bright. His warmth, intelligence, and humanity will be sorely missed. Above all else, I will remember his kindness. Somewhere, he's fishing a slow moving stream with his Uncle, anticipating the brown trout he's about to catch.
The world is a diminished place without him.
You can view Jack's obituary here .
Please take a moment and sign Jack's on-line Guest Book by clicking here.
-- Dr. Todd