What makes a good fishing guide?
Posted at 1:13 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, 2022
A guided fishing trip is a lot like a blind date. At the end of the date, you’re either excited because you had a great time, or you’re looking for time machines to try and recoup those lost hours.
I’ve had both types of trips and found a few characteristics of a great guide.
First, a great guide will be honest with you. Sometimes fishing is easy. Anyone with a boat and a basic knowledge of fishing can catch fish when it’s good. When it gets tough, a guide will tell you what to expect.
Captain Leroy Suggs, who guides out of Blacks Camp in Cross, SC, met me and a friend at the dock to explain the situation. The striped bass that are usually in school at this time of year hadn’t read the game plan.
Leroy was honest and said we could find fish. By “we,” he really meant Leroy. As a brook trout angler, I find it comforting that the trout are confined to water that I can cross.
Lake Marion is a huge lake with very few landmarks for my backcountry eyes. Captain Leroy knew where to go and had rods to bend with fiery stripers in no time.
Second, a good fishing guide will also teach a willing client. Captain Leroy taught us his “spoon jigging” technique. In fact, the first time he dropped a spoon on the bottom for demonstration, he caught a fish.
After his instruction, I managed to catch a few fish using a technique I had never tried. Captain Leroy switched to spoons (an artificial lure that floats in the water like a wounded baitfish) because for some reason the fish he saw on the electronics weren’t taking live bait.
Captain Leroy could have said, “Well, they’re there, but they don’t bite. There’s nothing I can do about it. Instead he worked hard and changed tactics to find us fish.
A guide who works hard to ensure the success of his clients is the third characteristic of a good guide. I literally had to wake up a hunting guide to tell him that ducks were preparing decoys.
When he wasn’t instructing us or looking at his fish finder, Captain Leroy scanned the sky with his binoculars for birds reporting a school of fish on the horizon. There was no need to check if he was sleeping. Captain Leroy was constantly busy finding fish to catch for his clients.
By the end of the trip, we had landed about 20 fish and never found an active shoal that October on Moultrie Lake is famous for.
If you want to look for a nearby fishing trip, check out Blacks Camp on Moultrie Lake. Here you will find honest and hardworking guides who will teach their clients how to catch fish. Captain Leroy Suggs is a fine example of a great guide and I look forward to fishing with him again.
Call them up and arrange a “blind” fishing trip that won’t require you to research time machines.