Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Day In The Life Of A Fishing Guide

What it's like to go fishing for a living

I often get comments reminding me how easy I have it. And how my job must be the easiest and most enjoyable job in the world. Well, It just may be the best job in the world; that is if you love fishing, have tons of patience and love meeting people from all walks of life and helping them learn to catch fish: as I certainly do. But the simple truth is, it's far from being as easy as many people seem to think; and not always as fun. I also often get the question, "whats it like to guide fishing trips for a living?" Well I'm going to walk you through a typical day here.

I'm up at 4 am after working until 11:30 pm the night before to get all my tackle back in order from the previous day of fishing with 2 drunken stock brokers who wanted to go catch a bunch of bass; even though one of them had only been fishing once in his life 25 years ago. And the other never tried fishing but was sure that he would catch the new lake record and likely go straight to the bass masters classic after this trip, and win. Oh, and getting the beer cans full of pee out of the cooler and the chicken bones out of the livewell in my boat.

First thing I do is turn on the weather channel to see what the weather for the day is going to be. Chance of severe thunderstorms with a tornado watch in effect. Hmmm should I call off the trip for today? I mean my clients booked this trip 5 months ago and they're here on vacation and have to leave tomorrow. So I check the noa weather radar online. looks like most of the storms are moving to the south of here so I'm fishing.

6:am, Since I'm meeting my clients at the boat ramp, I swing by the tackle shop to gas up, pick up some jigs, get a cup of coffee and a chicken biscuit. As I'm pulling into the parking lot I hear a thumping noise coming from the boat trailer. So I ease on up to the gas pumps get out to check it and see that I have a flat tire on my trailer. Since it looks like a piece of shredded up black rag, the tire must have been flat for several miles. Luckily I have a spare. It lacks any sign of tread and looks more like a peeled onion than a tire but with some luck it'll get me to the water and back home. So I quickly get some gas pull to the side and change the tire. By this time I'm running late; so I skip the breakfast and head for the lake.

6:45 am, I'm back on the road. As I'm driving I think about what my game plan is for the day. My client is a first time customer who's bringing his 2 twin sons of 9 yrs old fishing. He told me that his sons had never actually been fishing but they have a bass fishing video game, think its cool and want to try the real thing. I have some good fish located from the day before but they're pretty finicky and I don't think these kids will be able to finesse a jig well enough catch them. So I'll just give it a try and play it by ear.

7:05 am, I pull into the boat ramp parking lot. One of those storms that were moving south of us is now over the lake and rain is pouring and thunder is rumbling. My clients are already there huddled in the car to stay dry while waiting for me. They see me pull in; the dad rings my cell and we agree that the storm should pass shortly and we'll just wait it out.

7: 45 am, The rain has stopped; so I go over to the car to meet my clients. As they get out of the car, I notice that there's a lady with them. The dad shakes my hand and informs me that the mom decided to come along if that's okay? 4 people plus me is a little crowded in my boat; but I agree, and back the boat down and unload. After managing to get the huge family cooler, the moms suit case / purse and what seems like the entire family wardrobe positioned and stowed in the boat and a 20 minute argument between the family over who is going to were which life jacket and who needs sunscreen and who is refusing, We are off for a 4 mile run up the lake to my first fishing spot.

8:15 am, We pull up on my spot. The storm is over and the sky has cleared. But the front is now starting to come in and there's a 15 mph wind out of the south. I have two 9 year olds in the boat who have never been fishing in there life, a mom and dad who are counting on me to help them catch these finicky bass that are tough for even an experienced fishermen. But I've been in this situation before. I know these fish are holding out on top of a point on fairly clean bottom. So I get out a couple rods with carolina rigs and 3/4 oz weights already tied on. I put a plastic craw on each, cast them out, stick them in the rod holders and begin slow trolling with my trolling motor. in no time twin A's rod begins to bounce, he grabs it and yells "should I reel"? I help him out and he lands a fat 2lb spotted bass. Twin B is pissed and starts to pout.

9:00 am Mom has to pee. The closest bathroom is at the park 4 miles down the lake. so we're off for the bathroom.

9:30 we're back on the fishing hole again and begin trolling. Twin A gets another good fish on twin B is now red faced, extremely pissed and insists on swapping sides and rods with twin A. After some words from Dad twin A agrees and proceeds to catch another fish on twin B's old side and rod. Twin B is irate and refuses to fish anymore. I neutralize the situation by telling twin B that he gets to catch the next one no matter which side it bites on.

10:45 we're still trolling and the fish have stopped biting. Twin B is starting to get more upset by the minute and Mom has to pee again. So we're off 4 miles back to the bathroom. While waiting for Mom at the bathrooms I remember a great spot just around the corner from the bathrooms that should be holding some fish. So Mom returns to the boat and I head for that spot.

11:30 am we begin trolling on the new fishing hole. Twin B finely catches a one! and it's a fat 4 .5 pounder. Bigger than any of twin A's fish. So now Dad wants to catch one. at this point Mom is grossed out by the fish smell and ready to leave but agrees to stay a while longer. This area is protected from the wind so we decide to try casting and let Dad fish. I work with the twins helping them learn to cast at the front of the boat while Dad fishes from the back. Dad lands a small fish and twin b manages to land another 1 pounder.

1:30 pm Mom is ready to leave and the twins are tired so we call it a day early and head in. Back at the ramp the twins are happy and excited about there new experience. Dad settles up with me and they head to the lodge.

2:15 pm I'm happy to get off the water early because I have to go by the tire store before going home as I'm driving I calculate my profit for the day. Lets see I'm up $250.00 for the trip - $60.00 for a new tire - $40.00 for gas - $5.00 boat launch fee. I should clear around $130.00 for the day. Oh but my liability insurance premium is due. Crap there goes my profit for today.

Oh well, on the other side of the coin, tomorrow will be better and today I helped give a couple kids an experience that they'll never forget and they'll likely be hooked on fishing for the rest of their life. Yaaa this is the best job in the world! without a doubt.

4:30 pm, I get home walk in the door and the Wife informs me that since she has a job and is tired, and all I do is fish all day, I will be cooking dinner. I smile, agree and head for the kitchen.

Until Next Time

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