Steamboat Springs From the large windows of Lou Rabin's living room and kitchen, which fit the contours of the octagon-like architecture of his house, a steep ridge of the south valley can be seen as it rises like a wall to the west.
North, in the distance. is the Steamboat Ski Resort, flanked by rolling, wild mountains and hills antiqued by winter snow that patches of sage brush manage to scratch through.
This is the view of the Five Springs Ranch, which Rabin has owned since the late 1970s.
On Friday, he sits at his kitchen table and gently smiles through his long gray beard as he studies the room. The room, the whole house for that matter, is a museum of wild animal mounts, many with the finest taxidermy work that can be found.
"Most of this is what lives in these mountains," he says.
Moose, deer and elk are in the room, but above the table is a large fish. It's a marlin and it sticks out in the room and the mountainous view, along with a couple other salt water fish, like an ocean in the desert.
For Rabin, a 10-year licensed hunting guide and 20-year south Routt resident and sportsman, the fish on the wall symbolizes his other life. The fisherman.
After guiding for big-game hunting in the fall and skiing through the winter, Rabin makes an annual trek to Bimini, in the Bahamas, where for 25 years he has guided fishing tours.
Bimini is the western most island in a chain of islands which form the independent sovereign state of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. It is world famous for its sport of deep-sea fishing.
Rabin first went there in 1961, from his home state of Florida. His father had supplied many of the island shops and hotels in Bimini with dry goods from the family store in Miami.
"That's just a marlin," Rabin says mater-of-factly of the fish hanging above his head. "Those are easy. The bluefin tuna, that's the king of the ocean."
When it comes to angling, Rabin's passion is the bluefin, which can weigh more than 800 pounds. In his years of fishing in Bahamas he has landed many of the fish, and in Bimini, Rabin earned the reputation as one of the most serious and highly skilled tuna fisherman.
In 1993, at the helm of his yacht, Bewitched, Captain Rabin said his knowledge of the tuna made it possible for angler Bill Tweedle to land a 971-pound fish, the largest tuna ever caught in the Bahamas.
On July 28, 2000, Rabin's reputation as a master angler was solidified when he was named to the Bimini Fishing Hall of Fame.
The hall of fame was established in 1993 to celebrate the great anglers who fish or have fished in Bimini.
Rabin joins a respected list of 13 foreign members, including Ernest Hemingway, who in 1935 landed Bimini's first unmutilated tuna. Hemingway first went to Bimini in the early 1930s and fishing in the area supplied him background for the books "Old Man and the Sea" and "Islands in the Stream."
"It's really nice to be recognized by my peers," Rabin said of the honor.
At first, after he was inducted, Rabin said he laughed off the honor. But now it has sunk in and Rabin is humbly flattered by the induction, ranking him among the best anglers in a place where some of the worlds greatest fishermen have come to fish.
"My name is up on the wall with people who make me feel small," he said.
Rabin, who is approaching 65, doesn't show any sign of ceasing his trips to the Bahamas and settling into the Yampa Valley for a summer.
He still is looking to fill up tours for the summer, where he provides a deep-sea fishing, along with diving and other ocean activities on the Bewitched.
"I love it and I do it because it's fun," he said. "It gives me great satisfaction."
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