Fishing’s Finest Hour

Waxahachie NOW Magazine
July 2009
By Sandra McIntosh


Reggie Stewart started fishing at the age of 5. His memories of going out on the area lake with his father are vivid, and will most likely never fade. “The time I spent as a boy fishing with my dad was quality time,” Reggi commented. “He started the fire in my heart, and it’s grown over the years. I just love to fish.”


While his father, Neely Stewart, got the passion started at a young age, Reggi’s brother, Tommy Stewart, introduced him to the sport of competitive bass fishing in the early ’80s. “I became a true angler in 1980,” Reggi said. “That’s when I got heavily involved in tournament bass fishing.” When Reggi started in the competitive circuit, he did not leave his father behind. “I got him into bass fishing, too,” he said.


Just like in any other sport, preparation is very important. Fishing outside competitions during the week served as preparation for the weekend tournaments. “Keeping a personal log book is a great teaching tool that helped prepare me for the big fish,” he said. “I would log what I caught, where I caught it and how big it was, while also making sure to document the water temperature and weather conditions.”


In fact, Reggi fished with his dad and his dad’s cousin one day a week for an entire year before his father was diagnosed with cancer. The recovery time following his dad’s surgery was lengthy, but it did not keep the father and son team from sharing one more day trip to Richland Chambers Creek in Navarro County. “We both caught lots of fish that day,” Reggi said, with the emotion that comes from fond memories apparent in his voice. “It was a great day!”


Fishing to some is as simple as putting a worm on a hook and casting their line into the backyard pond. For others, it is all about the notoriety the sport of competitive bass fishing can provide every weekend if the angler desires to be gone from his family that often. Before his father’s illness, Reggi used to fall into the latter category of fishermen. Looking back now, Reggi recalls the weekends spent away from family. “I was pretty much gone every weekend,” he confessed. “I did it for the challenge it offered. Bass are so smart. You have to learn their ways if you ever want to be successful in the sport.”


Changes in the way Reggi fished came almost immediately after his father’s untimely passing. Brother Gary Morgan of the Cowboy Church of Ellis County handled his father’s service. “I was so touched by his words,” Reggi confessed, “that I was in attendance at the Cowboy Church the very next Sunday.”


Not long after that first visit, Reggi attended a leadership meeting where the idea of the Bass Club Ministry was born. If Reggi leaves for a weekend of fishing these days, you can be sure that he will have his wife, Teri, in the cab of the truck beside him. In the past five years, his view on fishing has taken two separate roads defined only by years. “There’s the years before church” he said, “and the years after church.”


Life for Reggi did not get exciting until the Bass Club Ministry got started. The group is comprised of no fewer than 200 members. Fifty percent are active members of the Cowboy Church. Another 30 percent are members of other churches in the Ellis County area and the remaining 20 percent do not attend church. “Once a month, we all go out on a fishing trip that’s no more than an hour’s drive from Waxahachie,” Reggi said. “Teri and I set up our motor home at the lake.”


Reggie enjoys sharing tales from the group’s monthly trips, but he gives extra credit to his wife. “Teri makes me look good. She’s always at the boat ramp at 4:30 in the morning to get all those fishing signed up,” he said, further explaining that Teri takes care of all the paperwork involved in these club tournaments. “All participants are required to attend prayer at 5:30 a.m. and then they begin fishing from 6:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. All the fish caught are weighed by 4:00.” At the end of the tournament, before payments are handed out to the winners, Reggi will come out of his angler comfort zone and share a 15-minute devotional. “It’s no longer just about fishing,” he said. “It’s also about the friendships we’ve made and the fellowship we all share.”


In the coming months, Teri has scheduled four fishing events that will be held at Cedar Hill State Park. The booths that will be set up will teach something different about the sport of fishing. These events promise to be educational and enlightening, as well as fun. Even though he is very busy leading his church ministry, Reggi still finds time to go out on the lake by himself every once in a while. “The time in the early morning when everything around you is waking up is the best time,” Reggi claimed. “It’s God’s finest hour.”





On the Cover: Angler Reggi Stewart enjoys the fishing and fellowship provided by the Bass Club Ministry at the Cowboy Church of Ellis County.

Photo by Terri Ozymy.


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cowboy-Church-Bass-Club/331982723480750 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cowboy-Church-Bass-Club/331982723480750

Home|Web Author