Captain Ray Markham, a native Floridian, was born in 1950 in St. Petersburg, Florida, and grew up in Gulfport, fishing with his father, "Bud", brother, Wayne, and grandfather, Ed, on a daily or weekly basis in both fresh and saltwater on Florida's West Coast from Boca Grande to the Withlacoochee River. The Markham family had cabins on the Chassahowitzka and Withlacoochee Rivers with family ties also on the Homosassa River. Hunting and fishing were part of the weekly rigors of the Markham family, learning the habits of both fresh and saltwater fish, and the small game they hunted.
His grandfather, an avid outdoorsman, a Real Estate broker, inventor, originator of the first golf driving range in the U.S, and holder of thousands of patents for outdoor products sold worldwide, had ties in the hunting and fishing industries to nearly every major manufacturer of rods, reels, and fishing lures, creating reel handles, rod blanks, fishing lures, tackle boxes, and related outdoor equipment, field-testing nearly every product that came down the pike. Father, "Bud" Markham, a permit record holder on 10-pound class line in the now defunct National Spin Fishing Association back in the 50's and 60's, was also a Real Estate and Mortgage Broker, and was considered by local anglers and guides as one of the top anglers in the state.
The quest for the perfect line, lure, rod, reel, gun, boat, etc., was shared by the Markham clan, and rubbed off on Capt. Ray. For over 40-years he has helped research, test, and develop fishing lures, rods, reels, outdoor clothing, mosquito repellent products, boats, and an array of camping, hunting, and fishing equipment through many top manufacturers of outdoor gear and fishing tackle today. Capt. Ray has won dozens of fishing tournaments over the years, casting competitions, and awards in the fishing industry.
Growing up, Capt. Ray had an open-minded approach to catching fish, fishing all forms of baits--dead, live, and artificial with spin, plug, and fly tackle from about the age of two. This exposure continued to his twenties when he became strictly an artificial lure angler. His experience in the inshore, offshore, and nearshore arenas gave him vast exposure to fishing from the Bahamas, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, and dozens of rivers around the country. He has been a seminar speaker for Florida Sportsman Fishing shows for approximately 11 years, and is an active guest speaker to dozens of fishing clubs around the state. He has filmed TV shows for Florida Sportsman TV and Shallow Water Angler TV, and written articles and columns that have been published in Sport Fishing Magazine, Florida Sportsman Magazine, Shallow Water Angler Magazine, Woods and Waters Magazine, Saltwater Angler Magazine, and dozens more publications. He is a past contributor to the St. Petersburg Times (Currently called the Tampa Bay Times) Captain's Corner, and the "On the Waterfront" online column for the Tampa Tribune newspaper and the "Go Fishing" column for TBO.com (purchased by the Tampa Bay Times) in addition to the "Weekend Fishing 4Cast" for the West Central Region on www.floridasportsman.com and the "Action Spotter" for the West Central Region in Florida Sportsman magazine. His freelance columns and fishing reports have also appeared in The Florida Mariner and Woods and Waters magazines.
For more than 13 years, Capt. Ray has been an active member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and has served for two terms as a board member for the organization. He is a Life Member of the Coastal Conservation Association and is a CCA board member. He is a member of the Old Salt Fishing Foundation and past board member of the organization, and a current member of the Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers, Suncoast Fly Fishers, Fat Cat Tavern Fishing Club, the International Game Fish Association, Federation of Fly Fishers, and past member of the Sarasota Sport Fishing Angler’s Club, and Hurricane Pass Angler’s Club. Capt. Ray has been a board member of the Florida Guide’s Association for over 20 years that he’s held a US Coast Guard Captain’s License. He is the owner/ operator of Backwater Promotions, offering, field-testing, instruction, and inshore charter fishing, specializing in fly and light tackle spin and plug fishing with artificial lures, and runs a custom 1820 Action Craft Flatsmaster SE Hybrid, powered by Yamaha and Minn Kota.
For over 30-years, Capt. Ray has provided invaluable assistance to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute for manatees, snook, redfish, and tarpon research, as well as assistance and input to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for fisheries rules and regulations.
Some of Capt. Ray's affiliations and interests include:
Board member Florida Outdoor Writer's Association www.fowa.org
Contributor for Tampa Tribune www2.tbo.com/sports/outdoors
West Central Field Editor for Florida Sportsman Magazine www.floridasportsman.com
Online West Central Field Editor, www.floridasportsman.com
Board member CCA Manatee County chapter www.ccaflorida.org
Board member Florida Guide's Association
Member Old Salt Fishing Foundation www.oldsaltfishing.org
Member Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers www.mangrovecoastflyfishers.com
Member Suncoast Fly Fishers www.suncoastflyfishers.com
Past member Sarasota Sportfishing Angler's Club
Member Hurricane Pass Angler's Club
Member Federation of Fly Fishers www.fedflyfishers.org
Member International Game Fish Association www.igfa.org
Past co-host Florida Sportsman Magazine Radio Live
A partial list of Capt. Ray's current Pro-Staff and affiliations:
DOA Lures www.doalures.com
Cannons Marina www.cannonsmarina.com
Yamaha Outboards www.yamahaoutboards.com
Power Pro www.powerpro.com
Ande Monofilament www.andemonofilament.com
Star Rods www.starrod.com
Ocean Kayaks www.oceankayak.com