What a week! One thing is for sure; every day on the water is very different. For guides, it can vary even more! Most of my clients now are either repeat customers or people who have been reading my articles or have attended my seminars.
Such was the case this week, except Monday. I fished with a professor in physiology from Canada. I always test my clients out before I decide where we are going, so we made a few casts around the marina to see what he had. He was a very good angler. He could cast so away we went. He was good enough to keep up, so we went to my best spot. We started catching them early on lipless crankbaits. He asked a ton of questions, why we fished there and why then. How did the tides affect this spot and what changes we would be making. Then we started tossing spinnerbaits as the tide was falling and it was easier to get the spinnerbait through the grass. Next we took a trip to the docks and started catching nice fish on the dock pilings. I decided to hit in between the pilings and we got the biggest fish of the day this way. My theory is that it was a Monday and the bigger fish were wary of boat activity from the weekend and moved from the pilings.
My next client was one who attended many of my seminars and read a lot of my reports and articles. He had been trying to book a trip for a while and after the nasty spring weather, we finally hooked up. He was pretty good, but needed a bit of tweaking on casting a bait caster, but soon was fairly proficient. He told me he had been fishing several times this year and had not caught even one fish. That changed right away and he was reeling in lots of bass. Again, asking questions. I feel that I have many roles…with most clients. Catching fish is right up there, but teaching and having fun is a close second. My trips are like 8-hour seminars. I can TALK! And, I will! With rare exception, I can keep it going. My background as a salesman and a radio talk show host makes this a piece of cake for me! I am genuinely interested in what my clients do for a living and in seeing them catch fish.
I then had a trip with an older guy and he was a hoot! He had nice gear, but needed to really learn how to use it. As he ended up saying to me that he learned more in 8 hours than he had in the previous 50 years of fishing. I responded that I hope he would just forget what he had learned in those 50 years. He books trips with guides all over the country and he never catches anything. He didn’t get a lot of fish, but he broke the ice and was able to learn how to make changes not for the sake of change, but for the purpose based on changing conditions! As the sun came up and produced more light penetration, it changed not only the color of our lures, but also the speed and depth we worked. The ultimate compliment for a guide is not just a big tip, but also an immediate booking for the next trip. We’ll be fishing again in a few weeks.
Friday was a blast for me. I have fished with this 39-year-old lady for a few years. She is severely handicapped. Her mind is wonderful and her spirit is awesome! She really enjoys fishing. I lift her from her wheel chair and carry her into my boat. When we arrive to our fishing spot, I carry her to my front deck…I put the big seat up there for her and I strap her to the seat. She has limited use of her hands and arms too. I cast for her and she works the bait. She was fishing a shallow drop shot rig and I used the boat to assist her in moving the bait. She caught two very nice fish in that 4-hour trip. The first was over 3 pounds and she handled it very well. It was a tough day and very windy. I made her last cast. As the boat drifted, I bent down to start picking up gear and she yelled out, “I’ve got one!”. From my vantage point, I was certain she was snagged, but I saw the rod pumping and she asked me for help. I just grabbed the rod and she reeled. When it got close, I shot my hand into this fish’s mouth and landed a 4-½ pound largemouth! She was thrilled…as was I! Nice way to end the week. A day off for me on Saturday, due to huge storms, but back on the water Sunday with a regular client, a retired American military officer working in Saudi Arabia. The lawn will get cut sometime???? Until next time, I’m gone fishing!
Capt. Steve Chaconas
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