Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Legendary Friend

My great friend Keith "Catfish" Sutton is seldom without words, but last night, at the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association awards banquet, that was exactly the case. You see, the one thing Keith is not inclined to talk about is himself in the context of accomplishments, and last night he became the center of attention as a new inductee into the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame as a Legendary Communicator and was the recipient of several other well-deserved awards.

Keith knew about the Hall of Fame induction, but he didn't know that his long-time friend Jim Spencer would offer the accolades and present the award with a great personal tribute, and he had no idea that he would be the inaugural recipient of the Bass Pro Shops Pass it On award. He also didn't know that he had won about half a dozen SEOPA Excellence in Craft awards for his writing and photography and that he would be called to the front of the banquet hall time and time again to collect awards.

It was an honor and a thrill for me to sit are the same table as Keith and his wife Theresa. I'm proud to list Keith among my closest friends in the outdoors industry. We first met at a SEOPA board of directors meeting more than 15 years ago, and since that time we've fished together for everything from bluegills to Amazon catfish, having spent time in boats together in four different countries.

I cannot think of another outdoor writer more deserving than Keith for either of the special awards he received last night. He's been stomping through Arkansas forests, creeks and backwater sloughs since he was a boy and he loves to talk with old-timers and hear their stories and to share them in writing. Keith has an amazing eye and ear for the details that bring life to a story and a gift for choosing just the right words to convey those details. I'm very odd among writers in the sense that I'm not much of a recreational reader. I read for information but rarely read for sheer enjoyment. However, I thoroughly enjoy reading Keith's writing.

To the hunting and fishing world, Keith Sutton is a legendary communicator. To me, he's a legendary friend.

1 comment:

  1. Jeff, your friendship means more than words can ever truly express. Thanks for words I will always treasure!