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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Bass regs, a tourney and trips in 2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Bay Bass braggin' rights

Marty Burch passes
Services Saturday for "El Grande Borracho" 


Angler and former owner of Burch Ford and longtime supporter of WON events and schools, suffers massive heart attack; his friends remember him for his many Baja trips and his club’s motto, “Fish, Party, Puke.” Services are this Saturday  at 2 p.m. in La Habra


The Baja fishing trips Marty Burch and his merry band of friends and family took several times a year were not always about drinking.  It just seemed that way. It was always about fishing and friendship. His family and friends mourned the loss of Burch  last week, who died at age 62 after a massive heart attack as he left Fairway Ford in Placentia on Monday evening, Jan. 14  after visiting his good friend Dick Landfield and others at the dealership.


He was discovered in the parking lot, and was taken to the hospital, where he was kept on a ventilator until late Tuesday.  With no hope of recovery her was taken off life support and passed soon after. It was a double slam for   family and friends. His wife Nita, had passed away two weeks earlier after a long illness. He is survived by his mother, Margaret, a sister Cathy, and four children, Eileen and Francine from Nita’s first marriage, and his two sons, John and Billy.  


Burch was the owner of Burch Ford in La Habra that closed four years ago in throes of the recession. When the dealership was thriving, he was a longtime supporter and sponsor of WON events, schools and tournaments directed by Kit McNear. As might be expected, McNear and his friends had some great stories.


The first one is shared by Don Southard, who started fishing with Burch in the 1970s, locally and then on annual trips to the East Cape.  Southard, now retired, was also the Burch Ford Fleet Manager for many years and Burch’s  longtime fishing, drinking and smoking buddy. They were joined at the hip for decades. Southard said he has been asked to say a few words at the service by the family.


“I can’t tell 80 percent of the stories of things we did, from way back in the 70s to now, because they wouldn’t be appropriate for a eulogy, but boy did we have fun, and I will be thinking of Marty every time I go fishing,” said Southard. He recalled how their loosely knit club of Team Borracho fishermen was formed.  He is not sure what came first, the club, the name or motto. Despite heavy drinking that one day in a cab when the idea was formed,  the mission soon became clear as silver Patron in a shot glass. 


“We were traveling on a shuttle to Hotel Palmas De Cortez,” said Southard.  “It was a group of us, and we went there every year to fish. One of our guys, Dick Harris, was pretty looped and the taxi driver turned back to us and said, ‘Su amigo es muy borracho!’ I know enough  Spanish to know what he said, and I looked at Marty and told him, ‘That sounds like a pretty good name for our club.’”


He added, “When we got home from the trip, we went to Marty’s house and played with it on the computer and came up with the logo and the motto in it, “Fish, Party and Puke.” A website, newsletters, trips, local saltwater charters, tournaments, sponsorships all followed, not to mention more excuses to go fishing -- and partying.


Kit McNear, longtime WON schools director and tournament director who now works with the Van Wormer Resorts in marketing and directing fishing events, said outrageous behavior and all in good fun was Burch’s trademark as the Team Borracho ringleader.


“Marty Burch was a very special and generous person who reached out to many people over the years. He will be missed by his many friends. I met Marty in 1995 at the first WON/AeroCal. Yellowtail Shoot Out in La Paz based at the Hotel Marina along with about 17 other Team Borracho members,” said McNear on Thursday after hearing of his friend’s abrupt passing. “This was a serious group of anglers who loved Baja, with several being excellent anglers, including Marty.


“The club had about 50 members then and was based at Marty’s Ford dealership in La Habra with the motto of Fish, Party and Puke! They certainly lived up to it. Marty really enjoyed going to Baja, especially La Paz and the East Cape, and also Waterfall Resort in Alaska. It was where he could really get away from his businesses and party with his good friends.”


McNear said remembers easily the number of times after partying all night that he and several Borrachos would always answer the bell and meet him  at the dock and board the pangas. They really could party hard! But they fished hard, too.”


It was in 1996 that Burch Ford become a WON fishing school and event sponsor, and Marty was present at just about every WON saltwater event for many years, said McNear.  


“He really liked to see other anglers have fun, and along  with his team Borracho members gave away many things over the  years, including free shots of tequila at the Ensenada.  He was a good sport, too. At one tourney, a cat in a palapa in La Paz was above him and peed on his head, and after realizing it, he just wiped his hair off and he stayed there with his friends, drinking.”


The next night, Burch was given a plastic cat and the Golden Pisser award at the awards ceremony. He laughed harder than anyone.   


McNear said that while he was an excellent fisherman, and liked to compete, but didn’t let the little details and ego stop him from having a good time.


“At a Yellowtail Shoot Out in La Paz, he came to the weigh-in area  and told me that he had the winning fish. I said ‘Great!’ and told him to have his guide Lamberto bring it up to the scale area. Well, it was a 60-pound amberjack. When I told him it wasn’t a yellowtail and it didn’t count, he simply said,  “What the hell! This calls for a cocktail!”


Finally, Burch was generous. In the usual -- and unique -- ways.  McNear’s wife Sue remembered the time at Palmas de Cortez about five years ago during one of the first Dorado Shootouts that Marty and Don had a hose at the top floor condo. “They would pour tequila down the hose to passing anglers," she said.”


As Southard would say simply a few days after his good friend’s passing, “He was a good guy and he’s going to be missed by many.”

Friends and family will gather this Saturday, the 26th, in La Habra at 2 p.m.  at the Garden Room, 801 N. Beach Blvd., La Habra.  There is no need for an RSVP. It is open to anyone who knew Marty, said Southard.   




KIT McNEAR, middle, and Marty Burch, left at a WON Fishing Schools event at the Burch Ford Dealership.  The other man at right was not identified.

FISH, PARTY, PUKE was the motto of Team Borracho members. The club had several hundred members in its heyday.









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