CLEWISTON, Fla. — Ed Singleton was fishing as a guest of his buddy Tom Brown in a Bass Rattlers Association club tournament on Lake Okeechobee, June 8, when they noticed a storm approaching.
“As soon as the first bit of lightning showed, I was on the front of the boat and he was on the back and we put our rods down,” recalled Brown. “We said we were out of here.”
Brown had been driving Singleton’s boat all day because they were fishing in Brown’s club tournament, but this time Brown suggested Singleton drive them back to the boat ramp. “He cranked up and about 30 seconds later, that was it,” Brown said.
Carli Segelson, public information officer at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), reported on Newszap.com that lightning struck Singleton's boat and knocked both men unconscious. When Brown awoke, he tried to perform CPR on his friend.
"That was the hardest time I have ever had to do CPR in my whole career,” said Brown, who has served 27 years as a fireman. The FWC reported that Singleton, 55, was transported to Hendry County Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
“Ed was an extremely quiet person when it came to personal stuff,” said Brown, who remembered Singleton liked to call him early in the morning to talk fishing. “Fishing was the only thing he lived for.”
Retired from the U.S. Army, Singleton moved from Kentucky to West Palm Beach, Fla., where he joined the Royal Palm Bassmasters five years ago and served as the club’s treasurer.
“He was very quick to figure out these quirky Florida-strain largemouth and became the top angler in our club,” said Mike O’Connor, Royal Palm Bassmasters president. “He was always the one to beat, not only in total weight, but for big fish honors, too. Ed will be greatly missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him.”