I got a question from a listener named Nick asking about how to be a better guide. This is a topic that I have mentioned or talked about certain aspects of, but never just full on addressed. So here goes, quick overview on how to be a better guide. You need to be on the water a lot, you need to be keeping a journal, have a plan A, B, C, D and so on, be dedicated to professionalism, be the best communicator possible, be there early, keep your gear in perfect condition, watch your dress and language, maintain your health and find time to read.
I brought Dr. Max Baumgartner into the studio to go over some things he carries in his First Aid Kit. Dr. Baumgartner is an Emergency Room Doctor and he has seen a lot of common injuries that occur on the boat. He goes over some common things you should have in your kit as well as some things that he added in that he thinks are important.
I got a question recently about how to best book a guide for a fishing trip, so I called up my friend Hunter Leavine to have him come talk about some tips for booking guides. Hunter runs a podcast called Captains Collective and he goes around interviewing guides all the time so he has some awesome insights in this podcast.
Fishing for sharks can be like fishing for any other kind of fish, it can be easy if you know what to do, but at first glance it might not be as easy as you’d expect. Sharks have an incredible sense of smell that means if you use fresh chum you can attract a lot of them. I highly recommend fresh chum for sharks because sharks aren’t like vultures. They might eat something that has been dead for a while but they are far more likely to be attracted to fresh meat.
Catch and Release has been a great thing for conservation, few would argue that. However, some people mishandle fish before release which could be killing them and cancelling out all good intentions of release. A listener asked if I would do this show on how to properly handle fish intended for release. I was a little hesitant at the time because each fish that we fish for requires a slightly different technique. I wasn’t sure if I could effectively communicate, through audio only, the proper way to handle fish. I gave it a whirl anyway and hope it is helpful, if you want to know more please email me and I would be happy to provide any details that were missed in the podcast.
On the How 2 Tuesday I spoke about how to get your anchor set up for pretty much any boat you fish out of. Personally, I fish out of 3 boats - I fish out of a 17-Yellowfin Skiff, 24-Bay-Boat and the 36-Yellowfin-Offshore. The 3 boats, obviously, have different anchoring requirements, different types of bottom, different lengths of line, different amounts of chain and even different types of anchors… The one thing that hold true with any of these is that when I put my anchor down I want it to hold, I don’t want it to slip. When I put my anchor down I also want to be able to get off of the anchor and go chase down a fish.
I was just down with my friends Captain Steve Rodger and Captain Scott Walker filming Into The Blue. One of the things we did was go out in the Gulf and look for permit in the wrecks. Typically we catch permit in the Florida Keys a lot - the flats fishermen catch them on the flats and also in the channels, there are certain times of there year where they collect out on the reef and then we like to catch them on the wrecks. However, on this particular day we had some rain and it was cloudy which provided a problem because we normally like to be able to see them first and then throw over there. But even with problems like bad weather you can still go get these permit offshore.
Right now it is tarpon season, and something you might notice is a lot of guides out there with a push pole that they are using to direct the boat towards the fish and also using to stop the boat. This is called “staking out” and it is very effective and very easy to mess up and break your push pole. These poles are made of high-end graphite and can break easily if there is too much strain put on them, and they are expensive so you really don’t want to break them. Also, since I use Power Poles for anchoring in shallow water, it is important to know that there are some cases when I will still stake out with a push pole because there are areas where I can’t use the Power Poles.
I got a question on the firstname.lastname@example.org email about seasickness and I was going to start a How 2 Tuesday on this subject and then I remembered a podcast I did with expert photographer Jason Stemple. Jason is a phenomenal photographer and I have never seen him get so seasick that he is down for the count. He seems to have some pretty solid ideas on how to take photos inshore and offshore and avoid the sickness that is pretty common for that kind of work.
Pompano has exploded in the past few years, the price has skyrocketed, there is a high demand for them. Because of this, I thought I would feature Captain Matt Budd on the podcast to teach us all how to catch pompano. Captain Matt Budd may know as much about pompano fishing as anyone I have ever talked to. This is a guy who is not just doing this recreationally but doing it commercially. When fishing commercially you may learn some things that a recreational angler doesn’t have to learn.
Chris Bush is an angler from Louisiana, and I got to sit down with him to talk about his expertise; giant speckled trout. I had him come on the podcast to share some of his fishing tips and experience as he has once recorded catching 13,000 trout. Chris takes after his father, Charlie, who was a trout purist and quite a famous angler.
Today we are going to talk about something that every guide has discussions with their clients about. I am even willing to say that this is the single most important thing to success in fly fishing. Believe it or not, I do not believe that your ability to cast is the most important thing in fly fishing for these fish. I say that, because I will see someone who has a really good cast but has a bad skill set in fly line management in a skiff. What does that mean?
I know there are a lot of fly fishermen who listen to this podcast and fly fishing is what started my career in fishing. But a lot of people that haven’t fly fished before have a hard time starting and might even be intimidated by the whole thing (the equipment is expensive and what if you don’t like it? Or buy the wrong equipment?). But also a lot of people who fly fish have a tendency to make it something that it’s not, and make it seem super difficult. It’s not. Its just another way to fish and it’s another tool in your tool box.
St. Croix Spinning Rod (Avid VIS70MHF Series) medium action 7ft rod - this one I feel like I can cast the most accurately with. I’ll pair that rod with the Daiwa 3000 Ballistic which can hold 20 pound J-Braid 320 yards of it. It is a very small and light reel with great drag, you can actually go down with it because it has good line capacity. I will tie 1.5 feet of fluorocarbon leader on the end of it which allows me to cast accurately so that the connection between the braid and the fluorocarbon is outside of the tip of the rod when I go to cast. If you have too much then you have to cast the knot (which is a Double Uni or J-Knot).
So one of the questions I got when I went live on Instagram was how to catch snappers offshore. Of course, I am an inshore guy but I have had some chances to learn from some very talented offshore fishermen. I've gotten to fish with Captains Scott Walker and Steven Rodger from Into The Blue TV and learn how they catch really big snappers. One of the key factors you need to pay attention to is the chum.
One of my favorite things is sight casting - it’s all I did when I was first guiding. I never learned how to chum, it was not something I did when I was just starting out. However, eventually with fishing there are days where you just can’t sight fish (rainy or cloudy days). If you are a professional fishing guide you get put in this situation a lot, of days when you wouldn’t normally go fishing but because people have booked the trip you have to go and make the most of it. Chumming for bonefish is excellent for this situation.
When you go down to the Florida Keys it is common to want to go into the Everglades. Sometimes when there is a cold front and the weather isn’t ideal it can be a fantastic option to go back up into the Everglades and explore the No-Motor-Zone. Over the years Rich and I have tried many different crafts for the area but none have compared to the paddle board. With the shallow waters and the dynamics of the area you are trying to fish, a paddle board is the perfect craft for the job.
Today I wanted to talk about boat ramp etiquette - things like how to back your boat in, how to get ready and how to avoid altercations or frustrating other people. The boat ramp is a place where everybody is pretty excited, you have professional fishing guides there who have their system down and can get their boat in and out pretty quickly.
That is exactly the way you want to do it whether you’re a professional fishing guide or a rank amateur. Here is a way for you to start your day at the boat ramp in the best way. So here are some bullet points from this How 2 Tuesday.
It’s not the biggest or the most - success as a fishing guide is not that you catch the biggest or the most fish. The most important thing you can do is showing your customers a good time. Give them a great experience, this means that they will return to you. That is then how you have a successful business. Have happy customers.
The first thing you need to keep in mind when you’re out fishing with your kids is that it’s their day, and not yours. Their fishing trip should consist of the things they want to do, even if that isn’t fishing. Think of this as a learning opportunity to expand their knowledge on marine life and what the ocean has to offer. This can include going to the sandbar, looking for critters under rocks, etc.
Start by navigating in your marina, or dock, in small, consistent circles. When you are first starting this step, make sure to bring your boat back to the dock before 2 pm., as there will be a glare forming when the sun starts to set. After about a week of continuing this technique. see if you are completely comfortable with doing small circles in the glare, and in the dark. Once you are familiarized with this step, expand your circle, and repeat the same process as before.
In this How 2 Tuesday episode, I discuss managing expectations for fishing and hunting. As a guide, it is important to set the expectations to my client and letting them know the realistic outcomes for when they’re out on the water. Because there are so many factors that are out of your control, like the weather, it’s best to have little to no expectations.
Cooking snapper on the Half Shell 1. one stick butter 2. one large onion, chopped 3. two cups Italian salad dressing 4. one tsp. garlic powder 5. three tsp. worchestershire 6. one tsp. Tabasco or Tiger Sauce
While my kids were growing up, we had a canal in our backyard and would play the Ring Game. As a fisherman, this is a great activity to reinforce my kids’ interest in fishing, but also I get to share one of my favorite hobbies with them. Though we had a canal, this game can be played in a pool, lake, or anywhere with water access. The Ring Game not only teaches kids how to cast their line, but is also a way to progress their skills, so they’re able to start catching fish on the flats.
When choosing a bonefish fly, it is important to keep in mind the shape, size, and sink rates. Depending where you are fishing, you will need to have a heavier or lighter weight bonefish fly. For instance, if you are fishing in shallow water, you don’t want to throw a heavier weight bonefish fly in, as it will scare the fish away. Instead, you will want to have a lighter fly that will sink towards the bottom without having a strong, heavy impact.