Personal Space

Story Slim Smith | Photograph Matt Garner

Photographed by Matt Garner.

Photographed by Matt Garner.

Richard Fleming Jr. is a really good fisherman.

In fact, he’s so good at fishing, it’s almost boring.

“To be honest, it’s more fun for me to watch someone who hasn’t fished before catch a fish than for me to catch one,” he says. Maybe so, but Fleming’s thoughts never seem to stray far from the subject of fish and how to catch them.

The evidence of that can be found in a small room attached to his home. Originally, it may have been designed to be a utility room or laundry room. Instead, it is basically a walk-in tackle box.

Aside from a gun rack (a man has to have some diversions), the room is filled with fishing supplies —

rods, reels, waders, fishing line and lures. Hundreds of lures, in fact — spoons, spinners, jugs, plugs and plastic worms — some of which he helped design, others of which he has improved upon. He is not a collector, he insists, and has no idea of how many he has or what they might be worth.

Fleming lives on farmland a couple of miles south of the Highway 82/Highway 45 South exit, a property that includes a well-stocked 15-acre lake.

Even with a room full of tackle, Fleming, 65, confesses that he’s still adding to his inventory. “Every now and then, I’ll see something new and I’ll have to get it, just to see if it will catch a fish.”