What a Long, Strange Trip it’s been…
Memories of David Hall
The day I met Dave Hall is a day that won’t be forgotten. I’m not trying to be dramatic, simply stating the truth. In March of 2008 while at the Tampa Bay Outdoor Expo looking for products to review, I saw the HallEmInLures booth and headed over to take a look. This was my first time networking in a somewhat conservative fishing industry setting, so being a young writer at the time with no credibility or credentials, I was a little intimidated. The tattoos covering my legs didn’t help either.
Immediately approached by Dave, I introduced myself. Instantly feeling more comfortable by his laid back nature, a long conversation took place, starting the beginning of our friendship. I have a very fond memory of that day; with Dave’s father turning his back, before I know it, a bag of lures is in my hand, a bit secretly. To me, this was a very funny moment, almost like a kid reaching in the cookie jar before dinner. Dave became my first unofficial sponsor. His sister Mindy and I had a laugh about the fact that being judged by Dave was even on my mind that day. Reflecting on our first meeting, besides a good friend, the fact remains that I was to gain more than ever imagined. Dave has forever changed my outlook on life.
Regularly staying in touch with Dave, our discussions were pretty long, as we always had catching up to do. There was always a new product to talk about, discussions of family, fishing stories, plans for fishing trips and concerts we should see, life, and people. Conversations anyone would have with a good friend. Dave was always more interested in what I had to ramble on about than what he had to say. We were never business partners; simply friends with like minds.
On February 2nd, 2011, the world lost David Everett Hall at forty one years young. Having just spoken to him a day before, I was in shock to say the least. Dave was taken from us too quickly, but left an unmatched legacy; not of just lure making, but as an example of compassion and positive energy for people to follow.
The main thought when reflecting on Dave is kindness. His smile was contagious, and he has literally given people the shirt off his back. Dave loved people and had a passion for life and happiness. Not one to judge, he found a unique quality in everyone and it was obvious he cared about you when speaking to him. Everyone got the same treatment from Dave Hall.
After his passing, I went to speak to his father, Fred Hall. I heard numerous stories about Dave’s love of people, life, Faith, family, surfing, and of course, fishing.
David Everett Hall was born on November 21, 1969 in Orlando, Florida, residing there in his younger years when not in school or out experiencing life like all should. While growing up, Dave had a passion for surfing and fishing, even hand making a surfboard for his sister Mindy, showing his creative nature at an early age.
While on youth group trips as a child, Dave would disconnect engine components for the group bus to prolong the trips, simply to surf a few more hours in the rollers of the east coast. He didn’t care much about authority figures, as Dave would cross the line drawn in the sand while looking you right in the eye.
While still young, along with surfing and fishing, a love of woodworking grew, and Dave was very good at the skill. Being taught by his grandfather, many nice pieces were created; Dave probably didn’t know how much this talent would have impacted his and others lives, but all anglers that use his lures have benefitted from it.
Dave was an educated man, obtaining Bachelors Degrees from Florida State University in Urban Planning and International Studies; he took his time getting those degrees, but for good reason. Having such enthusiasm for life, any invite to travel or experience something new would postpone the school work for a few months, sometimes years. He didn’t care. Life and people were too important to Dave, as they should be.
Dave travelled with the Grateful Dead on and off for years without working a “normal” job. Most would think of this as a bad thing, but it’s a life experience I’m sure he never would regret. Money wasn’t an issue for travel expenses; Dave would go to the local stores and buy bulk toiletries, food, and water to sell to the “Deadheads” for gas and general expenses. One more example of his free spirited nature.
Time wasn’t a major factor in Dave’s life. Most instances we talked he was running late for this or that, had deadlines to meet, orders to ship; these things never bothered Dave. Everything always fell into place. He marched to the beat of his own drum. His father said the only time Dave saw the sunrise was when fishing or surfing and I know that to be true.
His main stomping grounds were the waters of Chokoloskee, an area he knew like the back of his hand, and caught numerous fish in. During the majority of his fishing trips, Dave always wanted to fish “just one more day”, not worried about life’s stresses, enjoying the freedom of the waters we all covet.
Over time, Dave became an extremely talented wooden plug maker, arguably the best in the country still spinning plugs by hand, old school style; a total purist when it came to woodworking and fishing. HallEmInLures was hoping to move to a new facility and business was going very well. Dave hoped to eventually hire someone from the Florida jobs Partnership program, a faith based group he was very involved in, training participants in life and employment skills.
Having taken Dave’s death harder than expected, I needed not to forget, but try to move on, so I hit the waters of Tampa Bay to fish. My mood was excellent, feeling very carefree, spending the day alone to reflect on life, and unfortunately, death. While letting the wind drift me through the shallow waters, wherever it took me there was a feeling I would get over every sandbar, and eventually to some fish.
Finally, a day of peace, listening to my iPod full of the Grateful Dead, casting only one of Dave’s lures; fishing for him. I went deep into the backcountry exploring places never seen, loving the fact that finally closure was in sight, while reeling in trout after trout, enjoying life.
By the end of the day, my mood turned somber. While idling to the ramp, I cut my frayed leader and put the lure in my pocket, never to be used again, and erased his number from my phone; a very hard thing to do, knowing I would never hear him say, “Hey Brad man, what’s up?” in his positive tone. Having so many things planned with Dave there are many regrets; mainly letting life get in the way of enjoying people and my passions. Being lucky enough to know Dave, I now know not to let life’s problems and stresses get in the way of experiencing life anymore; our time is just way too short. David Hall will be missed dearly by myself, and all who knew him for who he was, what he stood for, and of course his wonderful lures.
“Sometimes the lights all shining on me; other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me…What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
The Grateful Dead- “Truckin”