He was known simply as Catfish Ed by most but his name was Ed Nassarre.
I had the honor of meeting Ed shortly after I moved here in 1997. I pulled up to the mouth of Holiday Harbor in Nice in my car. A man I thought to be 60 or 70 was standing at the mouth of it casting a rattle trap diagonally across the opening. I yelled out, "Are they biting?"
Ed's head snapped around and he reeled in the line and walked over to my car. He said, "Oh, I see the wheelchair there. I wondered why you didn't get out. Yeah they're biting. I'm catching one about every other cast. They're all cookie-cutter bass about 3 pounds. Here, I'll show you," and he walked back to the water's edge.
Ed made one cast and the rod doubled over. He fought the fish for little while, grabbed his line, and walked the bass over to the car.
He said, "I'm guessing this one to be about 3.2 pounds." Then he whipped a scale out of his pocket and stuck it in the fish's mouth and showed me the scale. It weighed 3.3 pounds.
He said, "Hey, I'm getting pretty good at this. Hey, I even caught a shopping cart a little while ago."
We talked a while and I told him about coming from Minnesota and how I'd lived in Sonoma for 14 years before moving up here to buy a home.
Ed was a very friendly and helpful guy and told me that while he liked fish for bass once in a while he really considered it a waste of time as there were big carp and catfish in Clear Lake that fought much harder than the bass.
After I bought a pontoon boat, I had the honor of fishing with Ed one Saturday.
As we were fishing at the mouth of Rodman Slough with shrimp for bait, a local fisherman and now friend of mine Cameron Cole pulled up about 100 feet away in a bass boat and started casting to the shore. Ed yelled, "You fishing a tournament?"
Cameron yelled, "Yes we are," and told the name of the tournament.
Ed yelled, "I don't know why you bass fisherman waste your time with that stuff. You spend all that gas money tearing across the lake at 70 miles an hour from here to there looking for fish that hardly put up a fight when you could be relaxing in a boat fishing for fish twice as big that fight twice as hard at 1/10 the cost."
I got kind of nervous thinking that Ed might be offending them. But Cameron looked at his partner, threw his head back and laughed and yelled, "You know what? You just may be onto something there."
After a little friendly banter back and forth Cameron buzzed off for the next promising spot. Ed was always good for a laugh.
I ran into Ed at breakfast a lot and we became good friends. Ed used to make a fishing report and distribute it to local tackle shops and restaurants every Friday before he became familiar with the Internet.
He started asking me about computers and soon told me that he had taken the plunge and got a PC and was learning HTML to make a Web site. He had reserved the name www.catfished.com .
Knowing I built Web sites, Ed was full of questions for a couple of weeks and not long after I started asking him questions as he was a quick learner.
Ed's Web site grew like crazy as people from around the country heard about the huge catfish in Clear Lake.
Ed started promoting the Catfish Derby at the south end of the lake on his Web site and soon all the cat fisherman started looking up his Web site for advice.
Ed was outspoken and you had no trouble hearing him across the room. He acknowledged that it got him into trouble sometimes but I told him that he was in very good company.
For a while I kept my pontoon boat in the harbor and most times when I left or when I returned Ed would be standing on his lawn leaning over the bordering fence with a line in the water.
He would be yelling at everyone around him, "They are biting over here," and they were biting on whatever bait that Ed was catching them on.
As a joke when I went by him I would put my my finger to my pursed lips and make the "Shhhh." He would laugh at me and yell, "We don't own the lake. It belongs to everybody." Ed was not one for keeping secrets about fishing.
Ed was helpful to everyone and had many people coming up to his little piece of heaven which was the trailer at the mouth of Holiday Harbor to fish for mainly carp.
I never did figure out which species Ed liked to fish for most, be it carp, catfish or crappie. He was an expert at all of them although that's something he would never admit to.
Ed loved Lake County like no one else could love Lake County. He called it his paradise. He was a former postal employee who moved up here after visiting on weekends.
Ed would probably scold me if I forgot to remind everybody about the Catfish Derby taking place this weekend.
Ed's Web site will continue on so if you ever needed any advice on catching catfish, bass, carp or crappie,
sign up and there will be plenty of helpful fishermen to guide you on your way.
Everyone knew you Ed. We'll miss you. You will become legendary.
Ed is survived by his wife Mary.