Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Carroll Ware says he comes from at least two generations of “schoolteachers, guides, and sporting camp operators.”
BIG CATCH: Carroll Ware, left, of Skowhegan holds up a 10-pound brook trout he caught recently. Ware holds 31 certified fishing world records and would like push that number to 50.
“My first recollection of being in the woods was my dad took me deer hunting the fall that I was 3 years old,” Ware, of Skowhegan, said. “I remember being in the woods with him, and we jumped a deer, and he told me to get down. So I guess it’s been in my blood right along. It’s one of the earliest memories I have of anything in my life.”
Carroll and his wife, Lila, are both Master Maine Guides and run Fins and Furs Adventures, which offers their services on fishing and hunting trips. Carroll owns 31 certified fishing world records.
“A year and a half ago, I started looking around, and I said, ‘Geez, I’ve got 24 or 5 of these things,’” Carroll said. “I was up at McKenzie River Lodge in Labrador in August, and I picked up four. They’re all catch and release records. So that put me to 31.
“It doesn’t mean I’m any smarter, or any better fisherman than anybody else. You just take advantage of opportunities. We’re very fortunate. This business of ours takes us to some pretty nifty places.”
Of course, it doesn’t hurt business when potential customers stop by a booth they’ve set up somewhere and there happens to be a world record certificate on the wall. Carroll’s first world record came in 1988, but he doesn’t rank them, either on paper or in his head.
“They’re all special to me,” Carroll said. “It’s such a gift, in the first place to be able to do what we do and get these opportunities. Neither Lila nor I has ever, ever lost sight of that.”
But like any fisherman, he has his holy grails. Carroll’s was to catch a 10-pound brook trout.
“In 2007, we were working with another lodge in Labrador, and I released a brook trout,” he said. “He was 27 inches long. He was 10 pounds, 4 ounces. The best part of all, as far as I know, he’s still swimming. I got really emotional when I released him. You would’ve thought I lost my brother or something.”
Carroll never submitted that catch and release because he already held the world record in that category. He’s still chasing his other holy grail — to catch a tarpon with a fly rod.
“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to catch a tarpon on a fly rod,” Carroll said. “I have friends that live in Florida, and we’ve fished with them over the years. I’ve had chances to cast through, and I’ve hooked them up. I just never can get them to the boat. We were down there 10 or 12 years ago. There’s thousands of tarpon everywhere.”
A day and a half and thousands of casts by Carroll later, a tarpon that Carroll guesses weighed about 140 pounds came up and bumped the fly with its nose.
“I put the rod down. I was disgusted. I go over to the other side of the boat,” Carroll said. “Unbeknownst to me, (Lila) picked up fly rod and made one cast, from about 30 feet away. When she made the cast, the wind blew two loops of line around her finger, and damned if this tarpon that’s there doesn’t eat the fly.”
“You can call me ‘One Fly” or ‘One Cast,’” Lila joked. “Carroll just says, ‘Don’t talk about it.’”
Carroll and Lila have been married for 29 years and together for 33, and their introduction was love at second sight for Carroll. He first met her when he was working for Cianbro and she was applying for a job. He remembers her wearing a business suit, and he may have made a comment about her southern accent.
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