Ron Blair discovered the joys of bass fishing long before professional bass fishermen starting going head-to-head in televised competitors where the winner takes as much as a quarter of a million dollars in one weekend.

For Blair, bass fishing isn't about money, glory or landing the big one. It's about getting some fresh sunshine and decompressing from everyday life.

"I get away from the normal, the everyday routine," says Blair, a newspaper platemaker who has worked at the Daily Press for three decades.

Admittedly a solitary soul, Blair usually fishes alone in his Ranger bass boat at nearby Silverwood Lake. Typically, he'll launch his boat from the marina around 1 p.m. and stay past sunset.

"I do a lot of it by myself."

But it didn't start as a solo experience. Blair, who has five other siblings, began fishing traveling to area lakes with his father and their aluminum boat when he was about 9 or 10 years old.

"Most of the time it was just me and my dad."

His love of fishing never waned, and so he bought his own vessel about 20 years ago. That Runabout was a small multi-purpose boat.

"It wasn't really designed for bass fishing," however, he says.

So he upgraded to a true fisherman's boat, a Ranger bass boat with a trolling motor and live wells, which allow an outdoorsman to keep his catch alive. But he never fills the wells.

"I only catch and release. I enjoy letting the fish go. That's just a thing with me."

Blair has hauled his trusty boat to Castaic, Pyramid, Perris and other popular lakes, but he enjoys the accessibility of Silverwood.

"It's just a quick jaunt. There's really no other bass fishing lakes that are close."

Sometimes he'll turn on the radio in his boat and listen to John & Ken on KFI. Or he'll simply enjoy the peace and quiet. And in his 20-plus years at Silverwood, he's seen his share of flora and fauna.

"I've seen deer. I've seen bobcat, bald eagles and ospreys. I've even seen a baby rattlesnake swimming in the middle of the lake."

While on most weeks Blair is there alone with his rod and reel on Silverwood Lake, occasionally he'll take a half-day trip to visit his parents. And it's no surprise where his fishing mentor chose to live when he retired.

"They moved to Lake Havasu," Blair says.