- Last Updated on Sunday, 30 December 2012 19:40
- Published on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 17:20
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When I left church and turned on my cell phone I had a message from our guide, stating that we were still on but the steering on his boat was acting up and he was not sure what the problem was.
I called him back and offered to rebook but he wanted to get us out on the water. The following morning we hit the road by 7:00 a.m. and received yet another call half-way to Richmond from Capt. Mike, stating his steering cable had broke while he was out catching bait for us. He had managed to get his boat back to the dock, and was working on backup plans. I knew then that we had a great guide. He was not canceling despite my offer to turn the truck around and not be upset about it.
By the time we arrived at the dock, Capt. Mike had secured the use of another guide’s boat and had it all loaded up ready to go. The only thing he had left to do was get bait. I love catching bait so the slight delay in the fishing was not an issue.
It was obvious that our guide was well liked and respected because not only did he have the complete use of another man’s boat but also someone had set a gill net out for him to use to get bait. And another guide gave him a report on the fishing from a section of the river we were to fish.
Unfortunately the gill net was empty save for two eating size catfish, which he put back in the river. So, without a complaint Capt. Mike took us to some promising bait catching areas. More bad news here though and that was the fish finder which would have marked bait, was not working.
Good thing our guide was experienced enough to know where the shad like hanging out. Within a few throws of a cast net he had enough bait for us to go fishing. I watched all of this happen and considered the variables he faced when trying to get us hooked up with a trophy catfish and was very impressed.
First, most guides who had planned a vacation like our guide would likely not have booked the trip.
Second, when things began going wrong with the boat I know most people would have canceled the trip and hauled the boat to the mechanic to get it looked at and fixed.
Third, if they would have driven on and tried the trip, I guarantee that once the steering cable broke and there was no bait it would have been over.
Obviously we had a guide who was determined and had the fortitude to make it happen. By the way, he never appeared to be stressed, grumpy as I would have been, nor did he cut our trip short. In fact, he added extra time to be sure we were happy and despite the odds he had to overcome we boated not one but two citation catfish to boot!
The first fish was a gorgeously ugly flathead that tipped the scales at 28 pounds and the second trophy was a blue cat at nearly 31 pounds. Plus we caught some smaller cats that were fun to haul in.
Should you be looking for a great guide to help you hook up to a citation catfish or two I can definitely point you an hour and a half south of King George to Captain Mike Ostrander. He runs the James River Fishing School for kids.
He can be reached at 804-938-2350. Check out his website at www.jamesriverfishing.com.
While there you can also look at a complete tackle kit he has put together to market for new anglers. I examined it while on his boat and found it was truly all that you would need to get started freshwater fishing all in one box.