Why "Honest" Mike Outdoors?

I started Honest Mike Outdoors in memory of my long time fishing partner Mike Shields.  I met Mike back in 1994 bowling on separate teams in a bowling league in Northern KY where I grew up.  It took about a year or two for us to become pretty close and we started discussing fishing.  

Mike had moved not long ago from Florida and in his own words "I didn't even know there were bass in KY".  I took him to his first ever bass tournament on Bullock Pen lake in Crittenden, KY.  We had a blast...we caught exactly 0 keepers but did catch a lot of small fish on crankbaits.  It was from that moment on that we became the best of friends.  

We traveled all over the country mainly Florida fishing together and started fishing larger events.  He was a big fish magnet.  He was always good for one really good fish.  We eventually brought his boat back from Florida and started fishing events at home.  We were practicing for a tournament on Bullock in March 1998 and for the first time Mike was throwing a jig.  I had just caught a fish in the 4.5 lb range and he said lets call it on that and leave it as a high note.  I told him that I wanted him to catch a fish on a jig before we left about that time 2 very large shad come out of the water.  Mike pitched his jig over to the spot and immediately got bit...

The picture does not do this fish justice.  It would not fit in his Tracker livewell.  I have tried to use calculators to size this fish in the past based on this picture you can't tell.  We had another picture of me holding this fish that showed the massive girth it had.   I am guessing the length about 27-28" and the girth about 22-23"  That puts this fish in the 12lb class.  It wasn't long after we got word that they were shocking the lake and they shocked up a bass that weighed just over 13 lbs.  Was that the same fish?  I am not sure but I do know that I have caught fish over 10 lbs and this fish was bigger.  That is just one Mike story that I will tell at each event I hold.  

Mike Shields is the reason that Honest Mike Outdoors exists.  He was my best friend, my buddy, my pal and one of the greatest men I have ever had the pleasure to know.  The man was like a father to me and cancer took him far too early.  I found out that he was sick during our last fishing trip together.  In September of 2017.  He was diagnosed with cancer in November 2017 and passed away December 31, 2017.  I had hoped that he would get well enough to complete a bucket list of fishing spots but he couldn't hold on.  The last conversation we had was on December 29.  He wasn't able to talk much and I knew it would be the last time I would see him.  I told him that I wanted him to finish that bucket list one way or another.  I told him that I wanted to keep some of his ashes in my boat so that he would always be fishing with me.  I will hit all of the lakes that we talked about fishing and a part of Mike will always be with me as long as I live.  That is why "Honest Mike Outdoors.  As I expand this trail it will include the lakes we discussed and Mike will be there.