I have been overwhelmed with love and kindness so many people have shown me. I cannot describe in word and how much God has tugged on my heart strings. I have never seen a tournament where there was so much comradery and togetherness. I saw the power of God on this and heard many comments about it and how the dear folks just fell in love with the entire weekend of the tourney. Many new friends were made and lasting memories were part of this event. Thank you again for all the love and kindness you and the dear folks showed me. Blessings to all.
- Capt. Bill Sheka, Jr.
It is an honor to have Capt. Bill Sheka inducted as the first one into the Texas Saltwater Legend Series Hall of Fame. Berkley has been a proud sponsor of Bill since 1965 and one of our most trusted and loyal guide, past Pro Staffer and brand Ambassador. His legendary status, that is being recognized here today, is a testament to his impact on the outdoor community in South Texas. His many accomplishments from his early Army days, active hunter, legendary fishing guide and of course his Sweet Dreams Corvette are all part of his gift to us. We are proud to offer a $500 gift on behalf of Berkley to the charity of Bill’s choice.
- Andrew Marks, Danny Farley, John Prochnow and the entire Berkeley / Pure Fishing family
Bill, this is awesome! What a tremendous honor for a stalwart representative of the years we spent battling the illegal commercial harvest of fish, especially trout and redfish on the water, before the commission and at the capital. You did not rest once we got the netters out of business but became a true leader in what conservation truly meant as the populations of trout and redfish and other species made a comeback, especially trophy trout. You promoted and led by example in the catch and release tagging effort. You actually lived what you preached and had an impact. Many fisherman today don’t realize what folks like you, and I and Frank went through from 1975 to 1985 to rid the bays of illegal netting and then creating and enforcing the regs so folks can enjoy the fishing they enjoy today. Job well done Bill. Saltwater HOF is a tremendous and well deserved honor. God commands us to be good stewards of what he has given. Bill, well done good and faithful servant! Wish I could have been there tonight but had work responsibilities, but know you are in my thoughts and I am there in spirit. Your friend Jack
- Chief Game Warden Jack King | Texas Parks and Wildlife |Assistant State Director Law Enforcement (Retired) 1975- 2005 | Austin , Texas
Another Monster Trout, Capt. Bill Sheka Jr. 1989
Bill was born Nov 27th, 1950 and by the time he was 6 or 7 years old he was accompanying his dad and his grandfather hunting and fishing . An old friend of his grandfather Jimmy Futch used to save all of his Outdoor Lifes, Field and Streams, and Sports Afields and Bill was quickly soaking up all of the articles and by 10 yrs old he was reading all of the Guide advertisements in the back and it played a huge part of his desire to become a guide. Now he was reading Guns and Ammo , Shooting times , Hunting, Guns , and all outdoor magazines and publications. Now he was becoming a fan of Jack O’conner , Les Bowman, Elmer Keith, and others. He lived , breathed fishing and hunting. His grandfather and dad saw it coming too. He excelled at all shooting and fishing sports , even started to Hand-load his own ammo at age 15.
He became a certified Hunter Safety Instructor at Camp La Junta , and was the Instructor for Nature fishing , Indian lore as well. He took his first guiding job being paid $5 a day plus tips and room and board for Luther Graham at age 15. Guiding hunters during Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations on the MO Ranch, the JB Ranch , Lazy Lane , Honey Creek Ranch, Indian Creek Ranch and the Bierswahl Ranch in 1965.
Now the mold was cast. He started to work after school and summertime and spent his money on guns , fishing equipment and started shooting Skeet. He attended the Marine Military academy for a year in high school as his dad was a retired Marine war hero. He worked at all the gun clubs locally, Lichensteins, also called the C.C. Gun Club, Mokry's Los Palmas shooting range and the C.C. Pistol and Rifle club which also helped to pay for his shooting . He attended Del Mar College for year, dropped out to go hunting in the fall of 1970 but the country was at war in Vietnam and He was drafted and off he went to Fort Polk, Louisiana in the US Army. He loved it . All the shooting and blowing stuff up he could handle and the government paid him to do it. Because of his Marine training he was quickly given leadership roles as squad leader of Bravo Company 4th squad ,4 battalion , 1st combat brigade. He not only was a super achiever in the Army but he did so well that he won the coveted , Outstanding Soldier of Fort Polk award in 1971 by the US ARMY and Dept. of Defense.
Monster Caribou in Alaska, 1977 - Capt. Bill Sheka, Jr.
The top training award for a soldier in beating out over 28,000 other troops. His Commanders were so happy and thrilled that he won this coveted award, that they and the US Army , and Dept. of Defense sent him to the 1971 World Skeet Shooting Championships and paid for the airfares, entries. He fired a 95 out of 100 with the 20 gauge at that event. Now getting back to his soldiering, he ended up being sent to the most top secret and remote Military base in the world. The infamous Fort Greely, Alaska , part of Project 112 , Chemical weapons and a top secret portable prototype nuclear reactor. .. and plenty of Agent Orange. All this would eventually cut Bills guiding career early and stop his slow deadly sickness. But Bill loved it.
Wow, Grizzly bears ,moose, caribou, wolves and all the fishing you could handle right there where he worked. Hiking and camping and training on glaciers like the Trident glacier, Black Rapids, and major Rivers like the Yukon, the Tanana, the Delta, the Gerstle. There was nothing else to do being in the middle of nowhere. You either hunted and fished and camped or you were miserable. So now he took all his leave time to help Alaskan Guides by part-time guiding when off.
Capt. Bill Sheka with a 34lb King Salmon. Homer, Alaska 1977
After his honorable discharge in 1973 , he attended College at Texas State Tech College and received an associates degree in Wildlife and Ranch Operations becoming an Certified Artificial insemination technician for ABS on beef cattle. But Alaska had bitten him so he took off in 1975 for work on the Trans Alaska Pipeline. Working all winter long in 30 to 40 degree below zero on the pipeline ,he could take off during the summer months to fish and hunt and he even became a certified US Hang gliding pilot. He flew Hang gliders and logged over 23 hours of flight time in 2 of his Gliders. One flight lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes. Another over 10 miles long . He was also the first person to fly a hang glider above the Arctic circle and discovered the best flying sight in Alaska, Eagle summit in Aug. 1975. He was one of the first people to successfully call Grizzly bears with a varmint call in the 1970s , also calling in wolves and lynx and Arctic Foxes. Photographing many of these. He took one grizzly at 60 -70 yards coming right to the bush where the bear thought he had a rabbit dinner. But it was Bill and his Weems All call. He took pictures of several more and called in 2 more bears for his buddies. He hunted all over the state taking Dall Sheep, Grizzly bears , Moose, caribou and helped his buddies take sheep and bears and moose and caribou and goats.
Hunting the major Chitina Glacier in the Wrangel mountains, and also the Barnard Glacier. When the pipeline shut down and work was gone, Bill returned to Texas about 1978 taking a job with Baroid logging. He quickly shot himself to the top, becoming Operations Supervisor for Texas and then on the Sr Sales rep. But his guiding was still in his blood and Bill started to take customers fishing and hunting about 1979 part-time. When the oil field crashed again, Bill went on to full-time guiding not only for fishing but also starting taking hunters into Mexico and managing ranches for some of the ranchers there.
Now he was aboard with Berkley as an Ambassador and then started to help design rods, reels, with their design and research teams. Bill was the major tester of the Famous Berkley scented baits called the powerbaits and then with close work with VP scientist John Prochnow , the Berkley Gulp. He also was on board with Kenner boats for over 25 yrs and his design changes on the boats helped to make it the number one bay boat in Texas for many years. He was also one of only 3 guides to be invited by Motorguide to help design the Great White Trolling motor. The first Saltwater trolling motor in 1987. Bill took many athletes, celebrities, Senators, Congressmen, hardcore fishermen and families fishing. He was a guides guide. He was featured in over 35 television shows and video programs and over 600 magazine and newspaper articles from Field and Stream to Florida Sportsman, Outdoor life and dozens of others.
Capt. Bill Sheka with Richard Hill. 46 inch Redfish caught in 1997
Bill may be the only person to have recorded over 1,000,000 miles professionally in a boat. His fly fishing skills started at 16 yrs old catching his first rainbow trout in Red River New Mexico in 1967. His famous Sheka Shrimp patterns and Sheka Rock shrimp have been featured in Fly Fishing Magazine, Fly fishing in Salt Water Magazine, Field and Stream, Saltwater Fly fishing Magazine. He holds the world record for the most redfish landed on a fly-rod in one day." 41 " . Bill had located a huge school of redfish that had gotten trapped into a tidal flat in the Nine mile Hole .
That was the week of July 6th of 1995 and the reds were literally trapped in this pool. Bill fished this massive school and had it to himself and clients for nearly 10 days. Bill estimated the size of this school to be between 7,000 - 8,000 redfish. The weather during that 10 days was high pressure, no clouds , and winds less that 18 miles per hour per day. Perfect sight casting and fly fishing conditions. After establishing 2 other world records of 31 reds and 33 reds on a fly rod , Bill decided that conditions for July 13th 1995 would be perfect and he was going to attempt to set a World record that would never be beat.
An opportunity like this comes along once in a lifetime. On July 13, 1995, Capt. Bill landed 41 redfish on his 9 wt Sage Rod and Lamson reel with 15 lb. tippet. The Redfish averaged measuring from 26 inches to 34 inches that he landed and were part of the massive 7-8000 fish school. To understand the magnitude of this accomplishment you need to realize that it takes about 9 minutes to horse a Redfish in on a 9 wt fly rod and fly line, You quickly see that Bill was averaging over 4-5 big reds per hour with many times Bill releasing a redfish and literally rollcast back into the school and having another one hooked up within 20 seconds of the previously released redfish. A record that nearly put him in the hospital from exhaustion and dehydration as it took him over 10 hours of continuous, nonstop fly-fishing to accomplish the feat.
Capt. Bill Sheka with Greg Laubauch. 31 5/8 Trout caught on 6lb Test.
The hardest day of fishing he said he has ever done. Leaving his fingers cut and bleeding from the racing fly line thru his fingers. Capt. Bill had his fisherman meet him at 5:30 am on the morning of July 13, 1995 and leaving by spotlight, Capt. Bill went right to the monster school of Redfish where he left them the day before and the first redfish was on the line at 7: 10 am. Battling Redfish all day long and exhausted the last red was released at 5:20 pm. Fishing with the late Craig Satell, Tommy Gouger, and Mike Mount as witnesses , the 4 anglers each started counting redfish caught by each angler. Together they landed 126 redfish that day. Bill Blodgett of Majesty outdoors now owns Bill Sheka's Worlds largest stringer of Giant Speckled trout mounted by John Glenn. One of the 2 reds on the stringer is a perfect 28 inch red that was caught that July 15th' 1995 day setting the fly fishing record of 41 reds on a fly rod.
To put things into perspective concerning the stringer mount; 7 of the 10 trout on the stringer measure from 32 3/8 inches to 33 inches in length. There are only 3 trout under 32 3/8 inches and the smallest one is still 31 5/8 inches long and the other 2 are 31 3/4 inches and 31 7 /8 inches. Capt. Bill backed that record July 13th 1995 day of 41 redfish with another day documented with Jim Poole and his young son Jarrod Poole on July 7th , 1995 on the same monster school of redfish. Bill landed 31 redfish that day on his 9wt Sage with a Lampson reel using his Sheka Shrimp and Clouser minnows, while Jim Poole landed 52 reds and young Jarrod landed 3 5 reds added together with Bills 31 fly rod reds for a total of 118 redfish all on artificials.
On July 17th 1995 fishing the same school of fish , Bill landed 33 reds on a fly rod and with 2 other fisherman. They were Danny Middlebrooks, who landed his first redfish on a fly rod that day and added 10 more , for 11 reds with his brother Mark who also had a total of 12 reds on a fly and Danny later picking up a baitcaster landed another 7 reds for a total of 62 reds. Finally about July 21st the tide finally came up enough to allow the giant herd of redfish to escape . But what an incredible event it was. Every day Bill anchored the boat and him and his clients wading just 50 yards to the locked in school and standing in one spot, casting and catching , casting and catching and casting and catching. The largest Redfish that Capt. Bill was able to catch from that school was 3 8 Yi inches long on a fly.
Capt. Bill Sheka Jr., Ernie Easley, Steve Kimbreu & Capt. Bill Sheka Sr. with 34.5 inch trout. June 1983
There was also a nice number of beautiful speckled trout and some of these got up to 30 inches and slightly bigger also on a fly rod. Michael Buchler with Bryan Malloy and friend Brian Samko fished with Capt. Bill on July 15 , for a total of 115 reds, with 2 drums and several super trout over 28 inches making this another pure perfect catch and release day with double species. During the 70s and 80s , Capt. Bill was heavily involved into tagging of Large speckled trout and redfish for studying migration and travel pattern thru FishTrackers systems. In 1989 in less than 60 days Bill and clients tagged 499 redfish in the Laguna Madre system. His tagging data recovery program is spectacular. Hundreds of large Speckled trout were tagged and released over a 12 year period with almost all of the them over 24 inches and several measuring 30 to 31 Yi inches.
One of Bills trout was tagged in Baffin Bay at Starvation point and originally tagged and released there on June 6, 1992. The 27 inch trout was recovered at East Flats near Port Aransas by another angler named Rick Arvelo on July 12, 1992, after traveling over 70 miles in just 36 days from deep in Baffin Bay to near Port Aransas, Texas. One of his Redfish tagged in the Yarbourgh Pass area was recovered at an oil rig offshore South Padre Island 90 miles offshore from Port Isabel Texas. Capt. Bill had 2 individual clients that landed 3 previously tagged redfish in one day. Tommy Gouger of San Antonio , Texas landed and rereleased 3 tagged redfish in one day while Jim Laubach from Houston Texas repeated this rare feat also landing 3 tagged redfish in one day and re-released all 3 of them. His tagging study is a milestone of stories and study that we just cannot go into for times sake tonight.
Capt. Bill Sheka with a stringer of monster trout. Baffin Bay 1980's. Several trout around 31 to 32 inches.
Capt. Bill worked for many years with Dr. David McKee, Dr. Greg Stunz with Texas A and Mand their many studies together, such as length verses age, hookup ratios, mortality studies. Travel patterns studies etc. It is just hard to begin to understand the shear hours and years of training that Capt. Bill undertook to accomplish so much that we just cannot get it all mentioned here tonight. But it represents over 50 years of dedication. He started exploring the Upper and Lower Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay , Nine Mile hole area since the 60s and 70s. Exploring the systems and learning the Rocks and fish of those systems. Even the famous Sheka rocks on the North Shore of Baffin Bay have been recorded in several Fishing Videos. Including Lone Star Coastal Fishing Vol II , the lower coast. He was able to target these super trout due to his knowledge of their critical diet and unique system he learned and fished in. He traveled boat shows across the state and gave seminars for over 30 years.
Sharing his knowledge with so many people and the stories that have survived the decades by his peers and clients, are those that dreams and legends are made of. It was this same pioneering spirit that led Capt. Bill thru the Mountain passes and peaks of Alaska and exploring the massive Glaciers, Mountains and Rivers, bays and flats thru Alaska, the Yukon , the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Old Mexico. Not spending just a few weeks but spending sometimes 6 months at a time or longer, exploring his love for the outdoors. His photographic camera journals covering his guiding career are huge and putting so much down on Photographic record is mind boggling.
As you can see thru his many beautiful wildlife photographs that his ability to get in close with wild animals is reflected in his great skills as an outdoorsman, hunter and photographer. Capt. Bill quickly acknowledges that he was guided by The Lord thru these endeavors starting when he was a young person and he readily gives Christ the credit for opening these doors thru his life. And he is so thankful for what God has done in his life. Saving him, and even more, using him to show others who Jesus really is. He has said that he knew that he was going to be a guide when he was only 10 years old. Capt. Bill Sheka readily admits that he has had supernatural guidance from above and that included his training as well as Saving his soul.
Bill is so pleased that God protected him and guided him thru many harrowing and dangerous times during his guiding career. These incidents which included plane wrecks, injuries including a slit throat, being stranded for over 22 days in subzero temperatures. Facing charging Grizzly bears, Frozen Arctic Ocean break ups , racing his Corvette to from 170 mph to 190 mph, to being in an Armed Robbery Victim and car jacking victim capturing 2 of them. One might think that the word" colorful" might be a term one could choose to use to describe Capt. Bill Sheka , and maybe it is one for sure, but maybe another word better describes what comes to mind. And better describes him. Capt. Bill Sheka was truly BLESSED.
As many of you know , Capt. Bill has been battling , Agent Orange and Nuclear Radiation from his US Army days since 1997. He was forced to retire from his beloved Guiding career in 2014 due to the magnitude of these diseases and the aggressiveness of them and what they have done to him and his body. Numerous tumors and Aggressive Cancers, rare diseases like Pulmonary Hypertension , and Nerve damage, Lung and Heart disease including Congestive Heart Failure, which normally kill most people.
Yet Bill keeps on battling, helping other Veterans who have but all given up. Bill has been working with Veterans on their Benefits Claims process for over 10 years. Spreading the wonderful gift of Salvation to all Veterans that come into contact with him and how Jesus can perform the miracles that he has for Bill in his life. Showing people that its not about him, but about Jesus. Always happy that Christ called him not just to be a Guide, but that he choose Bill to be an Ambassador for Christ.