Hundreds pay tribute following death of beloved CNY fishing guide

(This story was written for by Tom Adessa, of Auburn, a friend and client of Capt. Kevin Davis. He gave the eulogy at his funeral service)

By Tom Adessa | Contributing writer

OSWEGO, N.Y. РOswego County lost a local fishing legend on Aug. 21. 

Kevin Davis, 47, captain of “Catch the Drift” and 1st mate on the “Hat Trick” charters, died following a 5-year battle with cancer. Services for Davis were held Sept. 20 at the Nelson Funeral Home in Oswego and his ashes were spread afterward on his beloved Oswego River.¬†

Kevin’s career as a guide started when he was 22, serving as first mate on “Hat Trick” charters on Lake Ontario with Capt. Jimmy “Gramps” Staves. It was on the lake that Kevin would initiate his prowess and hone his skills over many years. But, it was on the Oswego River where he really shined.

It was not only his knowledge of the river and fishing techniques that caught the attention of many, but the fact that he was a fixture on the river. No matter what the weather — and even after receiving chemo treatments — he was on the water nearly every day.¬†

After a trip with Kevin in December 2106, my son commented, “Dad, it’s as if he can read the water in 3D, he’s that good!” That particular day we hooked 19 steelhead and browns, landing 12, just another beautiful day at the office for Kevin.¬†

Kevin would post pictures of recent catches from the river and out on the lake almost daily on his Facebook page. 

His attitude, fiery passion, patience and love of people is a rare combination in today’s world. He guided fisherman from many countries, from numerous states and developed relationships with many of them.¬†

His longtime friend and fellow Capt. Andy Bliss said, “He was like a big brother to me.”¬†

Kevin loved Oswego like his hometown and advocated for the fishery in Oswego County. Following his death, the City of Oswego named the local drift boat launch on the river after him. 

At his calling hours on Sept. 19 at the Nelson Funeral Home, there were hundreds of individuals who showed to pay their last respects to the family. 

Following the Sept. 20 service, more than 100 people gathered at the Oswego River near the Kidde Pool. Capt. Bliss took Kevin’s parents and youngest daughter on the “Catch the Drift” boat to spread Kevin’s ashes in the river he so loved and advocated for.¬†

Several fisherman along the downtown wall offered their condolences. Bliss then proceeded to give several rides to mourners to several spots Kevin liked to fish. 

While many of us will continue to fish the Oswego and other tributaries for trout and salmon I think we will always be looking around for Kevin, wanting to hear his voice and see his smile. Kevin’s favorite words on the river were, “We’re locked!”¬†

Read the full obituary.

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