Tue07222014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

Guide turns chaotic and rough start into great day

 

Imagine having what some of you would consider a dream job of fishing every day for a living. If this is recreational fishing you are working as a fishing guide taking clients out for fish to make their dreams come true while you live out your dream as well.
Being a guide is not all good times and fun in my opinion.  I came to that conclusion a few years ago when I agreed to take a few people out fishing as a favor for someone else. First of all, strangers are not your friends or at least they don’t start out to be your friends. When someone else comes on your boat to fish and they step on a rod, drop the bait in the water or drop the anchor in the bottom of the boat effectively driving all the fish up the river, patience suddenly becomes scarce. The problem gets compounded when those you are taking fishing don’t seem to know better nor do they care that your favorite rod has a broken tip or the bait you spent the wee hours of the morning catching is now gone. I digress…
Fishing or hunting guides have all sorts of variables they must face and overcome such as weather, tide, stubborn fish or game, inept outdoorsmen (or city people without a clue), and yet they are still expected to pull the rabbit, err…the fish or game out of their hat to keep their clients happy. In fact, if they don’t pull the trip off successfully they risk having the client go home and badmouth their guiding business, effectively putting a damper on calls from future clients.
However, if the guide is able to overcome the variables and inexperience of the clients and send them home happy not only will those people come back for another trip but they are going to tell their friends who will tell their friends and business can suddenly be quite good. It takes a great attitude, fortitude and determination along with a serious dose of patience to pull it off and my hat is off to those that can do that day in and day out.
The Monday after Christmas I wanted to take my father in law fishing as he does not get a chance to go very often. Being the middle of winter I knew that unless I wanted to book a striper trip on the ocean fishing was going to be tough. However, I also knew that many guides plied the James River successfully in the winter for trophy catfish. So, I decided that was closer and a bit less expensive than driving to Virginia Beach.
After digging through some of my old contacts I found Captain Mike Ostrander’s phone number. Capt. Mike fishes on the James just below Richmond and he specializes in trophy catfish that has made the James River nationally famous. My initial contact with Capt. Mike was promising as he agreed to put off his vacation to visit his parents and take us fishing instead. What a guy! I felt bad and told him we could rebook it later but he wanted to take us out. Then all the variables a guide must face kicked in and things began to look quite bleak for a successful trip.
My first warning to this fact was the frontal system that blew through on Sunday. While in church I could hear the wind howling and knew that was going to make the weather nice the following day while we were fishing but the sharp change and passing of the front was also likely to shut down the fishing for a day or two.
To be continued next week….

 

Mark Fike, Outdoor Writer

 



 

 

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