Monday, August 8, 2005

Bait for the fish, snacks for the fishermen

From Daily Republic // Aug. 8, 2005

By Brad Stanhope
SUISUN CITY - Howlin Davis, 3, enjoys the entire experience at Virgil's Bait Shop.

"We like snacks," he says. "And we like fishing. That's what we like to do - to eat snacks and go fishing. That's what we do."

Howlin is at Virgil's on a warm summer day with his father, Justin Davis, and 6-year-old brother, Cyrus Davis. They're getting some bait for a trip later in the day to Grizzly Island, where father and sons will try to catch stripers or sturgeon.

But they're also picking up some snacks.

Cyrus and Howlin each sneak a bag of nuts onto the counter while Davis talks to Virgil's owner Bill Mitchell. There already are two bottles of water to go with the bait.

Justin Davis, who grew up in Fairfield, moved to Oregon two years ago, but is preparing to move back to Suisun City with his wife, Jill Davis, and the boys.

"Bill knows what's good," he says, referring to the store owner. "We usually get blood worms."

Today, they're getting grass shrimp. Davis explains the grass shrimp will help later in the day because "sturgeons love it and stripers don't mind," he says.

Cyrus says when it comes time to put the bait on the hook, his dad does the job - because mom wants it that way.

"I never get hurt or stabbed," he says.

For Davis, who graduated from Fairfield High in 1992, fishing is a lifelong hobby.

"We used to love to fish here," he says. "My wife and I lived down the street."

Today, his wife is at work and he and the boys are preparing for an afternoon or evening with lines in the water.

"I try to get them out as much as possible," Davis says - a thought echoed by 6-year-old Cyrus.

He says he began fishing "when I was just a little guy." When asked how often he goes out, he thinks. "Probably every one or two . . . years," he says as dad laughs. "I like catching fish."

Howlin, as befits a 3-year-old, is a little less articulate about his fishing experience.

"I like to use things to go fishing," he says. "I catch them with hooks."

Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6925 or

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