by Captain Terry Fisher
I remember many years ago hiring guides to take me fishing and put me on fish and I did nothing but sit on the boat or in a ‘fighting’ chair, only to have the 1st or 2nd mate hand me a rod after a fish was on. To my dismay, after only a few ‘cranks’ on the reel, the equipment was taken away from me for the crew to land and gaff the fish. No explanation as to what I might expect when I hired the guide. That was many years ago and I committed that if I ever had an opportunity to be a professional guide none of my clients would endure the same.
Ironically, may years later and today, for both offshore and inshore charters, there are fishing guides that DO NOT ALLOW their clients to make their own presentations to enjoy the experience of ‘FISHING’. I understand that their philosophies (especially for inshore fishing) are that the client will cast into the mangroves or other structures, that may require the ‘guide’ to dislodge or re-tie the line and hook as a result. ‘UNACCEPTABLE IN MY BOOK’! People expect to experience catching their own fish from ‘start to finish’. At least all of mine do. Moreover, many fishing guides (Charter Captains) want to keep clients who want to learn to fish, ‘in the dark’ and not share effective fishing techniques, locations, or what to look for in regards to estuary ‘make up’.
This brings me to my ‘story’ of the REWARDS OF A PROFESSIONAL GUIDE. As ‘Captain for Hire’ on other vessels (inshore and offshore), I have dedicated myself to teach anglers and ‘wanna-be-anglers’ to improve and to become good fishermen and fisher-ladies by showing them first-hand techniques that I use on a daily basis to ensure success on fishing adventures. Following is just one of my many rewarding experiences from those I have assisted over the years.
Recently, my 1st Mate, Vicki and I were invited to join clients (turned friends), Dan and Laurie Kubal from Newton, Iowa aboard their new 26ft. offshore Key West boat for a day of grouper fishing. I met Dan and Laurie a number of years ago when they hired me aboard their first vessel, a 23ft. Key West, to show them how to safely navigate the area, as well as some simple fishing techniques and locations that would assure them of some great, memorable times together on the water. We initially started by fishing for seatrout, Spanish mackerel and pompano on the grass flats, then progressed to reef and pelagic species offshore. Dan is a full time ‘Professional Crop Duster’ (Pilot) who lives on the edge from June to September ensuring our nation’s crop growers a successful season for the marketplace. He is a natural outdoorsman. He and Laurie have a home in Cape Coral. They are hard workers and enjoy their winter months on the water fishing. Being from the Midwest, neither of them initially knew which type of fishing would best fit their lifestyle. Nonetheless, after a couple of different vessels, they settled on offshore and acquired the new Key West boat, powered by two 300 Yamaha engines. Dan is a navigator and is a natural at studying topography maps and assessing areas using sonar that will most likely hold fish.
Dan and Laurie have spent the better part of two years striving to catch grouper and other species offshore. They are not unique in that regard, except for the recent success they have had on virtually every long range offshore adventure they have undertaken, backed by pictures for evidence. On our recent invite to spend a day with them on a run 40 miles offshore, we experienced ‘first-hand’ their success in catching porgies, snappers and big grouper. I must say, ‘BEST GROUPER DAY I HAVE EVER HAD’! We all caught our limit of red grouper, together with a number of porgies, vermillion and lane snappers. I learned some things from Dan and Laurie as a result of their tenacity, hard work and determination to find and catch their target fish—Big Grouper! The biggest reward for me is that they gave me the credit for their fishing successes. It is my goal, as a fishing guide and charter captain, to assist all anglers to become better, regardless of their current level of experience. I am available as ‘Captain for Hire’ (by the hour) on any vessel.