I didn't know Eric Workman personally, but I wish I had. Before he was killed carrying out his duties as a West Virginia State Police officer, Workman was a widely respected fisherman, hunter and conservationist.
I knew of Workman through the WVAngler.com website, where he went by the nickname "Eworkman." Eric posted frequently to the site's message board, mostly in its forum dedicated to warmwater fishing.
Eric was a muskie fisherman, and a fine one. He spent a great deal of his spare time casting for muskies in the Elk River between Sutton and Charleston, and he enjoyed enviable success catching and releasing the big, toothy fish.
He chronicled his successes by posting photos and brief after-action reports to the WVAngler site. It wasn't long before he was considered one of the forum's muskie 'gurus.'
His ability to catch those notoriously fickle fish caught the attention of fisheries biologists studying how muskies migrate up and down the Elk. They asked Eric to help, and he happily said yes.
They gave him a scanner that allowed him to detect electronic tags injected near the muskies' dorsal fins. He logged the location and size of every muskie he caught, and whether or not the fish bore a tag. Eric caught a lot of fish, and his catches provided researchers with tons of data.
Biologists aren't the only ones who thought highly of the slain trooper. Administrators of the WVAngler message board renamed the site's warmwater forum "Workman's Warmwater Corner." Several threads have been dedicated to Eric's memory, including one titled "Remembering the good times with Eric Workman."
In it, sportsmen who knew or had fished with Eric reminisced about their fallen friend.
"People you meet come and go, but when I met Eric, and the more time that I spent with him, I knew that I had made a friend for life," wrote one man. "I could see us chucking muskie baits and flies on the Elk while we were in our 70s. Even today, I have a tough time putting how I feel into words."