The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 15, 2013

Fishing family with Tarboro history suffers on-water tragedy

Tight Lines
Rick Goines

ROCKY MOUNT — Twenty-eight year old Graham Patrick Hoard’s young, promising life ended Jan. 12, as he was fishing from his kayak in the waters of Queens Creek near his home in Swansboro.

Graham. a highly skilled fisherman, experienced waterman, and probably the last individual most would associate with a water-related mishap. His cause of death was listed as drowning with hypothermia contributing.

Graham was fishing alone, and, for some reason he removed his vest. This is a tragedy for all fishermen, as Graham was an accomplished outdoorsman and environmentalist who gave back much to the sport he enjoyed.

Graham’s father, Tom Hoard said, “Graham's loss has left a huge hole in my world. He was my best friend, my teacher, and my inspiration. He was the best fisherman I've ever known; meticulous... even relentless in his approach. I will miss him all of my days.”

Tom spent much of his youth in Tarboro and Edgecombe County, fishing and exploring the Tar River. His parents, Tom and Jibby Hoard, now deceased, and sister, Deena, lived on West Saint James Street. As Hoard is a familiar Edgecombe County name, Graham left a large extended family to mourn his passing.

Tom is a regular Tight Lines reader online and a contributor of fishing info and intel for outings in the Wilmington area where he resides, fishes, and practices emergency medicine at three Vidant Medical Group hospitals.

The Tackle Box in Southport is honoring Graham by naming its annual speckled trout event after him.

March 2, family and friends will gather at Snows Cut Boat Ramp at Carolina Beach to return the remains of Graham Patrick Hoard to the water he revered and loved so much. The Hoard family extends an open invitation to all that wish to attend.

Facebook readers are encouraged to “Like” Graham’s tribute page that has numerous stories, photos, and comments about the exciting fishing life he led.

Tom hopes this unfortunate tragedy will make all anglers more alert and aware of the dangers of fishing alone, and of the consequences of not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). Tom gave his son the life vest that inflates upon contact with water, and even sets an unconscious man face up. That PFD has not yet been found.

If you are so inclined, you may make a donation in Graham’s memory to the N.C.

Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach, N.C. 28449, Attention: Angie Leary

A man of faith, Tom looks forward to seeing his fishing buddy and soul mate once again in Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hoard family.

Rick’s Hotspot — As I prepare this article in mid-week, recent rains have the Tar River at flood stage levels and highly unfishable. The good news is that experienced shadsters tell me that when the waters recede, it is likely that shad fishing will significantly improve.

I can’t explain how or why, but the excess water flow usually brings the fish upriver seeking their habitual spawning grounds, and providing rod-bending action for shad anglers.

Rick’s Soapbox – Call me crazy, but even in these flooded, unfishable conditions, I sling my Custom Jimmy D Shad Rigs at the shad hole on River Road in Tarboro. Fish or no fish, the act of fishing makes me happy as a lark. I know that my chances of catching a fish in that swollen river are slim to none, and slim just left town; but I can’t help myself.

However, I did manage to catch and release a big, healthy hickory shad Wednesday afternoon at Swift Creek, casting between the rain drops.

Care to share? Tight Lines welcomes your stories, fish snaps, tall tales, and even your outrageous lies at CarolinaAngler@Gmail.com.

See you on the water, my friend!