A Fishing Guides Perspective

Being in the guiding business for the last twenty-nine years I have a pretty good handle on what this business is about. You work your butt off in the hot sun, cold wind and rain, with all kinds of people, deal with a lot of adversities such as, lack of bait, tackle malfunctions, engine failures, flat tires, just to mention a few things off the top of my head, then you go broke and look for something else to make a living at. It helps if your spouse has a job, but ultimately, most all guides end up at the same place, just at different times.

Don't get me wrong though, I love what I do and don't know what else I would do if I could. But to me this business is a great one to be in. I love people and fishing and the two just seem to go together. Seeing a person catch a big fish and the expression on their glowing face is priceless, even if my insurance has gone up to $1100 this year. This life gets into your blood after a while and you really do look forward to going to the office most every day. But what about the behind the scenes that people don't ever see?

Well let me tell you it's a lot of work. I get up everyday at 4am, start my day with a cup of coffee and start thinking about the plan for the day. Let's see, I need to stop and get gas, bait, ice, and waters. I need to make sure the oil tank is full. Is all my tackle up for the day that is planned, Are my anglers accomplished or are they seasoned, will they be able to cast or will I need to teach them.

I trailer my boat, so out the door I go. Check the tires and the coupling at the hitch, everything looks good. So I'm off to the ramp and the meeting place to launch the boat, picking up my supplies as I go. It's now 4:45 am. I arrive at the ramp at about 5:15 and launch. After the boat is off of the trailer, I need to find a place to park. Then I check the springs and axles, oh I'm going to need to replace those as soon as I can come up with and extra $800. This may be hard to do since my average net of a single trip is $187.00. When you consider the engine replacement, maintenance, propellers, insurance, license fees, tackle, bait, gas ice, advertising, it comes pretty close.

So, when it's all said and done I make about $7.00 per hour. It seems a little ludicrous to go through all that for so little, but that's what I mean about getting into your blood. So when you arrive at the dock and your charter is late because they're still partying from the night before, it makes you want to go back home and get back in bed and forget that $7.00 per hour that you were going to make. The expense of the charter goes up because they have no since of value with the tackle you're providing. The percentages go up also on someone getting hurt as well, so I would rather miss the day than take the chance.

Most people that book a guide usually have a fair idea of what they expect from a guide. But there are those that have booked for the first time and have no clue. A good guide is going to do his level best to conform his fishing techniques to fit his people. Sometimes it's a wading type of day with artificials, or it may be an anchor up and bottom fish with cut bait kind of day, depending on the abilities of the anglers and the pattern that the fish are in. So if you think you know more than the guide does then you probably don't need to hire one. The old saying," When in Rome do as the Romans do" applies here as well. Let him know what you would like to catch and then listen when he tells you what he has been catching, most of the time he will try and fill your wishes if he can, but it may be difficult.

Then we come back in to the dock, get the fish cleaned, packaged and pull the boat out, wash it, do any tackle or engine repairs, answer phone calls and emails from other clients, then crash in front of your supper and try to eat it after the sun has cooked you all day long. Then I thank GOD for getting me through another day and sponsors like Quantum and New Water Boatworks.

Then all of a sudden here comes hurricane Dolly, all the work you put into advertizing and booking trips and then have to cancel most of the week along with the weeks after to clean up and get accommodations back in line after the damages. What am I doing hereJ I love it that's what..

Skipper Ray is a freelance writer and fishing guide in South Padre Island, Texas
where he owns and operate Island Outfitters. Call: 956-943-2798 or Email

Fishing Articles by Skipper Ray

Blind Casting the Flats
Catching and Handling Numbers of Trout
Fishing Guides Perspective
Effective Blind Casting on the Fly
Line Management Techniques
Lures of Choice for the Fall Season
More Tec Tips - King Mackerel
New Trout Techniques
Ready at the Rod
Spring is in the Air
Tarpon Techniques
Tech Tips - "Donít Give Up"
Tech Tips - Itís a Drag
The Ladies Have More Fun
The Chosen One
The "Ibis" Built by Newwater Boatworks
The Old Gold Spoon
Time to Fish Free
It's Red Fishing Time in South Padre
Trout Fishing the Lower Laguna Madre
Trout on Topwater Flies
Wading the Lower Laguna Madre

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