published Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Childhood dreams fulfilled


by Dan Cook
  • photo
    Contributed photo Northern Virginia teenager Taylor Turner holds a 5-pound, 7-ounce bass he caught on Lake Guntersville during his "50 states in 50 days" fishing tour last year with his father.

High school senior Taylor Turner likely will always remember Lake Guntersville, where he reeled in a 5-pound, 7-ounce largemouth bass last June. He will reflect on Kentucky Lake as the place where he hooked a 32-pound blue catfish.

His father, Jeff Turner, will vividly recall their stop at Lake Fork in Texas on their Wrangler-sponsored “50 states in 50 days” tour. There the two northern Virginia residents and their guide caught 40 bass that averaged 4 pounds on an outing that began in 100-degree heat.

The whirlwind tour ended July 29-30 in Alaska and Hawaii.

The elder Turner had thought about such an experience since childhood, and the idea was stirred in 2002 when he read John Ekdredge’s book “Wild at Heart.” When good friend J.R. Davison died of a heart attack in June 2008, Turner was driven to follow through on an ambitious adventure with his son.

“J.R. had a ministry known as the ‘Band of Brothers.’ It often focused on reaching the souls of men for Christ by men experiencing adventure together,” Jeff Turner wrote on his Web site, explaining his motivation.

The three-dimensional map creator for the U.S. Department of Defense and his son completed their “lower 48” tour by fishing for bluefish and striped bass near home on Chesapeake Bay. They ended the 15,000-mile driving phase in a recreational vehicle with 832 fish in 48 days, then flew to states 49 and 50 for silver salmon in the Yetna River and blue marlin in the Pacific Ocean.

“Guntersville (an early stop) was interesting with the vegetation, something new to us,” Jeff said. “And my son has been telling all over that Kentucky Lake was his favorite. We got on a big mound with lots of white and striped bass.”

Another great memory, the father added, was fly-fishing the Green River in Utah. Besides wonderful scenery, that trip featured “trout water flowing out of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir,” he said. “The water is gin clear. Everything is topwater: You see the fish coming from 10 feet away.”

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