CTF name: fishbag61
Real name: Craig Vincent
Age: 46
Current city: Waterbury, CT
Hometown: Bridgeport, CT
Family members: 2 brothers, 4 sisters, 4 nephews, 7 nieces, and one wife
Occupation: Church Administrator/Director of music

1. Where did the name "fishbag61" come from?
It's my email address. I just happened to use it as my sign in name when I joined the site. It originates from when I first took up trout fishing. I had friends and family members who were always requesting that I bring them some fish, so to keep the fish fresh, I always brought along a canvas creel or “fishbag.” 61 is the year of my birth.

2. You've been awfully quiet on the board in the last year. What have you been up to?
For the last year, up until recently, I had been literally working seven days a week. Prior to that I had not worked full-time for six years, and I had been my own boss for almost twenty. But suddenly, and through no fault of my own, I became extremely motivated (which is an Olde English word for angry wife) to re-enter the workforce. So I had to begrudgingly shelve my carefree angling existence and replace it with an existence of toil and dumb anguish ….I took a job selling cars at a Mazda dealership. Auto sales wasn’t a bad gig and I became quite good at it, but the hours were long. There were things I enjoyed about it, such as working with people. There were things I hated about it, such as working with people…. During this time, I had also been on staff part time as music director for a church, which I really enjoyed. Between the two jobs….. the one I loved to do which couldn’t pay the bills by itself, and the one I took to reestablish myself as a productive member of society ( and get Broom Hilda off my back…just kidding my wife is awesome!) …I didn’t have much time to fish or spend on the board.

But not too long ago, the church offered me a fulltime job and I jumped at the offer and zoom zoomed out of the dealership. Now I am in the land of balance and leisure again….working 3-4 days a week! I don’t see this as a permanent situation but it provides me with some breathing room to explore my long-term prospects….and get back to fishing.

3. You're known for your very colorful and well written posts.

Here's a Fishbag classic:
"Don't fire Till....."

Here's a look back at more of fishbag61's posts:

How did you develop your writing skills?
Hey…I just write em as I see em! As far as developing any writing skills goes ….It’s just my natural proclivity to be a blabbermouth coming out in typeface. Honestly, I had never written a thing or even posted on a forum before I joined this website. Heck, I ‘m certain I made it through high school without ever even writing a paper. However, when I accidentally found CTF looking for fishing info one night, I was psyched that there was an entire community to glean fishing info from, but I also realized that a forum is a give and take concept so I would have to get over myself and contribute. I think in the beginning it was the anonymity which the internet provides that helped me to step out and write the first report, but at some point it was the responses of the members that encouraged me. You friggin people created me!

4. Besides your posts on CTF, do you have an outlet for your writing, such as in your line of work? Have you had any of your writing published?
Nope. I’ve posted on a couple of other sites here and there…other than that …CTF remains my only outlet for any kind of writing…Oh…and I now write the church bulletin every week……Boy…has that thing changed!

5. You enjoy a good cigar. What is the most expensive cigar you ever smoked? What is the most memorable reason you smoked a cigar?
It’s true…I love a good smoke… I routinely spend 20.00-25.00 for a good cigar, but I’m no means a cigar snob. I’ll also smoke an 80 cent Muniemaker, and I’ll enjoy either one. In fact, I love finding good cigars at a bargain. There are some very good internet cigar auction sites where you can practically steal premium cigars if you know what to look for.

The most expensive cigars I have ever smoked were probably the ones given to me from the chief of maintenance of a flight dept. According to him, the owner of the aircraft was a Cuban cigar industry official and they kept it stocked with private label cigars. I have no idea what they would cost as they were not for sale but only given to the passengers who flew on the aircraft.

I certainly have done my share of lighting up over the years, and I certainly have had memorable moments, but truth is, for me, any reason is good enough fire up a cigar… Examples… “Hey! I got a new job… Hey! I finally quit my job…Hey! I’m going fishing…Hey! I had a great time at the grocery store”…Etc. But smoking a stogie goes best when fishing with friends. You know what?... I don’t think I have ever fished without packing a cigar. Cigars and fishing go together so well that even though I don’t have proof, I know in my heart the first person to ever roll a cigar must have been a fisherman. I don’t know with certainty where the cigar was actually invented, perhaps it was in Spain or even Cuba itself, but wherever it was, I like to think it was just a couple of pals hitting the river to tighten a few lines and was conceived of to better the angling experience…. In my mind it went something like this:

Several hundred years ago in Spain …..at a local trout stream:

Luis…“Los pescados de Rolando…the estan mordiendo pero los horseflies maldditos estan matando a mi culo….hacen algo!” “( Rolando...the fish are biting but the damn horseflies are killing my butt…do something!)”
Rolando…..caída en Luis apenas junto algo que debe tomar cuidado de ese problema... que lo llamo un intento del cigarro... él hacia fuera. “(Hang on Luis… I just put something together that should take care of that problem...I call it a cigar...try it out)”

Luis…"(Refresqúese! Gracias mi amigo. Esto es impresionante; es dulce y ricos en el carácter, lleno de medio bodied los sabores del caramelo y del cacao que construyen a un final de nuez que se rezague de largo en el paladar. Pienso que usted apenas puede tener algo aquí!) “(Cool!... Thank you my friend. This is awesome; it’s sweet and rich in character, full of medium bodied caramel and cocoa flavors that build to a nutty finish which lingers long on the palate. I think you just may have something here!)”

The rest, so they say… is history!

6. You have an interesting van. Tell us about it.
My van is no more. I finally retired that ol’ storage unit on wheels. The interesting thing about my van was the fact that anything you could possibly think of could be found in it. I have never traveled lightly. I drove around with so much stuff (some of the site members can attest to this) that it often functioned as an instant outing machine. Along with the fishing gear, there were grills and stoves and tables and canopies etc. You could survive for a long time in that vehicle. When I finally traded it in for a new truck ……we found a buddy of mine who had been missing for 3 years…. living in the back!

7. You’ve been through carpal tunnel and shoulder surgeries. What activities do you think led to your problems? How are you doing now with your body?
I have had a few surgeries the last several years… 12 total. Carpal tunnel both hands, elbow surgery on both extremities and multiple bilateral shoulder surgeries. The repetitive motion of my former profession is what led to my becoming guaranteed income for Orthopedic Associates of Hartford. I traveled around for almost twenty years polishing and waxing aircraft, boats, and other forms of transportation. My partner in the business and several of my employees also ended up in surgery. We loved what we did, but it was physically demanding. A few of the surgeries were successful, some others weren’t. Here’s a tip: You can’t go around rubbing large objects like Boeing 737s forever without it taking its toll on your body. . I still have some lingering problems, and my injuries are the reason for the career change, but I do just fine. I don’t let it stop me from doing the things I love to do.

CTF Hammy 2005.

8. What is your most memorable fishing experience?
I have two… Number one was as a kid when I first actually caught a fish on my own. I didn’t fish much as a child, but one day when I was about nine, I was fishing the pier at Savin Rock and I pulled in a huge lump of seaweed. At first glance it was just seaweed…. but clinging to it were three green crabs and a squirmy 24’ eel. I couldn’t care less what kind of fish it was because it was like a wet, wiggling, treasure to me… I had gone out, threw a line into water and came up with a prize….all on my own. Even though I didn’t take up fishing for about twenty years, I never forgot that feeling of excitement and accomplishment.

The next one was as an adult … a couple of years after I started fishing regularly…Late one afternoon a friend and I set out to fish a stream we had never fished before. It was a in a part of the state that we weren’t familiar with, so we were pretty excited about fishing new water. We had a longer drive than we were used to, but we finally arrived at our destination, and after hiking a half mile or better through the woods we came upon the stream. Then we separated, he went downstream, I went upstream. I had to cover a lot of ground before I started getting hits, and it was just before dark when it started to get good. Once I started catching fish, I was totally absorbed in the moment and wasn’t paying attention to anything else. But after landing about a dozen trout, I realized it was getting too hard to see to on keep fishing. In fact it was pitch black and I could barely see my hand in front of my face because I had forgotten to grab my light. It was then I took stock of my situation… I’m standing up to my chest in a river that I’m unfamiliar with…in total darkness….no idea where I am …no idea how to find the road to get back to my truck….my is buddy nowhere to seen …and……. I’m having a great time! That’s probably the first time it really, truly, dawned on me …. That settles it…I’m hooked…I love fishing!

"There's fish in there, I tell ya!"

9. What is the most ” Beyond Addicted, Just Plain Sick, thing you’ve done in pursuit of fish?
That topic can cover a lot of ground….but I’ll try…

Two summers ago, on 4th of July weekend, I put my waders on and met up with a few site members along with a few other guys. We started out around 4:00pm at Silver Sands to do some salt water fly fishing at the Charles Island sand bar…we fished until they kicked us out at about 8:00. I Left my waders on and hopped into my car…. Then we headed down to Short Beach in Stratford to fish that sand bar as well…We fished till about 11:00pm then we headed to a diner for a snack….I kept my waders on…We decided we weren’t done with fishing yet so we headed over to the West Haven sandbar and fished till about 3:00am… but then we saw lightning coming our way so we headed back to the cars to wait it out. We ended up in the parking lot for about an hour while we drank beer and waited to see what the weather would do. I kept my waders on.

The weather cleared and at that point someone said, (probably as a joke,) “You know guys, if we left right now…. we could make first light on the Farmy.” Well, some of the guys were having none of it….but some people you just can’t joke around with about a subject like an all night all day fishing binge. The next thing you know…. four of us were at the Farmy, standing in the church pool just as the sun was coming up.

We ended up fishing the Farmy till about 4:00 in the afternoon, and were so tired that one of the guys (Fishkid) later admitted to falling asleep standing up in the river. When all was said and done, I had spent 24 hours in my waders…The best thing about it was when I got home and finally took them off I didn’t have to put them away… They were so funky they just stood up….and walked away….. to go hang themselves to dry.

10. Tell us a funny story about your wife’s reaction to your fishing addiction.
The funniest thing about my wife’s reaction to my fishing addiction is her non reaction…She doesn’t hinder me and she doesn’t get fazed in the least… Someone once called looking for me….She hadn’t seen me for four days… but after all, it was the beginning of trout season…the person asked her where I was and she said “I haven’t a clue but I know he’s alive cause someone is making coffee in the morning….he’s probably fishing” But don’t let her fool you! She may not partake in angling activities too often, but she certainly likes the gear and the apparel. We spent 6 hours in the Hamburg Cabelas because she refused to leave….She was so mad at me for pulling her out of there that see didn’t speak to me till we got back to CT.

11. Did you have any heroes when you were growing up?
I had lots of heroes …I had my cartoon heroes…Superman, Spidey, Gigantor, Tobor, Hulk, F4, Space Ghost, Underdog, Courageous Cat, and of course Bugs. I had my big screen heroes…The Duke…Clint….I had my heroes from history….Washington, Lincoln, Grant, Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket, Ike, and Patton. Then I had my sports heroes …The Babe, Jim Thorpe, Joe Willie, Roger the Dodger, Willie Mays, and Dr J.

12. How long have you been fishing and what got you interested?
I have been fishing for 15 or 16 years…When I was about thirty, a couple of the guys that worked for me mentioned that they wanted to go fishing but didn’t know much about it and they had no gear. My partner and I had both fished as kid, he more so than me, but neither of us had fished in years. That didn’t stop us though, the guys looked to us as the experts and we weren’t about to disappoint them. We agreed that we should go fishing and take our employees with us. I worked it out so that we could finish a job early one Friday and we headed down to gulf beach in Milford. Virtually all of the gear we used was broke down and old, dug out from my partners garage…which looked like the set from “Sanford and Son” But we had everything we needed, and of course it didn’t dawn on us at the time that 9 ft surf rods with 20 lb test were a little overkill for snapper blues. Two things happened…. We caught a ton of snappers…..and we had a great time in the process. I went back and fished more that week, and finally went out to buy some gear of my own. The following spring I went out on opening day to try my hand at trout fishing, caught a few trout and that was it…I had a new hobby.

13. Is there a dream fishing trip you would like to take?
Yes… A guided trip to Labrador for monster brook trout.

14. What is your favorite species to pursue in CT and your top three tips for catching a big one?

Although I enjoy pursuing many types of fish…Without a doubt, I’m partial to trout! (Hey…I just rhymed…awesome!) Tips….I’m no expert, but to me it really comes down to basics:

1. Where’s Waldo?… Learn how and where to find the fish.You can’t ketch em if you can’t find em. Learn to read the water…with few exceptions, the fish will be where they’re supposed to be…when I began to learn the structure of streams and how it relates to where the fish position themselves, I began to dramatically catch more fish…. In fact, for me, that’s when angling ceased to be a proposition based on dumb luck and blind chance, and entered the realm of a reasonable expectation of success. Still to this day, the most appealing aspect of fishing for me is probably the prospect of fishing in a new place. When armed with the skill that knowledge brings, there’s nothing better than trying to figure it out and watch it unfold like a good story. I believe to be successful you need to trust the knowledge imparted to you by others who have gone before you and put that good info into use. Sure, you’ll develop your own experience to add to it, but in the beginning ….trust the sum of the dues that others have paid.. Example….One day, I was fishing a new section of one of my favorite trout streams. I came across a hole that looked to be the perfect place for trout to be holding….but caught nothing. Everything I read or learned by experience screamed out that there should trout in there. I kept coming back time and again to no avail. I wouldn’t give up on it because I knew that it was good water and If the stuff I had learned was accurate, well… then good water is like … truth…it will eventually prevail. Sure enough, I tried hitting that ol hole at a different time and it paid off…. with an 18 inch brown trout. I merely needed to hit that hole at the right time…which brings me to number two:

2. What are those #$%^*&%# fish eating? . Learn how, what, when, and even the why fish feed. If you take the time to learn the feeding habits of fish and add it to your knowledge of where to find the find the fish, you will find that they are linked. If the food is there, the fish will be there… now find what they are feeding on…then maybe…just maybe….you‘ll find out why they won’t take you up on your offering.

3. Be prepared!...like a good little eagle scout.There’s no shorter path to angling heartbreak then having catastrophic gear failure….or not having what you need when you need it….or not having the skill required to make that tough cast….or wade that particular section of stream to get to the good lies…or better yet… you can see the friggin fish but you don’t know how to get a good, natural drift going to perfectly present your bait to that finicky trout…. To sum it up… Develop skills and...Mind your gear!

4. Here’s a bonus tip…probably the most important…NEVER STOP HAVING FUN!

15. What kind of music do you enjoy?
I love music. Music is a very powerful medium for expression. It can convey ideas, thoughts, emotions, and even spiritual awareness….or it can be just fun. It’s no coincidence that all of the world’s religions utilize music in their worship. I play a few instruments and I’m the music director at a church, but truth is I like just about every kind of music. I grew up in the late 60s 70s 80s and 90s (can you tell I’m still tryin to grow up) because of this I tend to gravitate toward classic rock, blues and pop….this is seen even in the music that is heard at my church….although the lyrics and themes may be different … musically speaking….any Baby Boomer or Gen Xer would feel right at home.

16. What one thing would you really like to do before you die?
Learn how to type more than 8 words per minute.

From the CTF Winter Banquet. Left to right: Tackleman, Slacktide, fuzzy2u, Mitch P., mikek06511 aka "Zippy", GM Partsguy (now Trooper Bri), Frank and fishbag61.

17. What do you think of the private ctfisherman.com?
I love it. I would have still loved it if it had never changed. On the one hand, I miss some of the people who didn’t come aboard; on the other hand, I just can’t seem to identify with the mentality that took offense to you trying to make the site better. I just don’t see how 15 bucks or so “sticks it to me” and changes everything. Especially considering how valuable this site can be to an angler.

18. What advice do you have for single guys looking to land a wife?
I have no answer…I was 38 when I got married. I’m still trying to figure out how it happened to me. One day I minding my own business, next thing you know I got 200 guests at Chucky Cheese’s eating pizza, drinking beer, and playing skeeball at my wedding reception. The worst part was all those kids tugging at my tux sleeve looking for tokens.

Alright…. here’s my one tip…my only pearl of wisdom. If you’re looking for a wife…Stop…Don’t look for a wife and eventually your wife will find you!

19. What is the best piece of fishing advice you ever received? Watch first...then act…Before you do anything at all…Take a good look. Mike Roman (mydogsnap)…one of the best fishermen I have ever known taught me that…and he didn’t say it to me…he modeled it for me.

20. Where is the craziest place you’ve ever woken up?
That would be the time I awoke one afternoon 3 stories up on the horizontal stabilizer of a Gulfstream IV. Hey…it was a hot, humid day and I had a big lunch!