That is exactly what is on my mind lately. While right now the fishing is very, very good (just two days ago we put 30+ Trout in the boat in 45 minutes) I am just ready for the return of warm weather, happy fish, calm seas, and old friends and clients.
Every year fishing guides go through phases and I am no exception. Winter brings a time when we simply don’t have a lot of business even though the fishing is stellar. It is a real bummer to not have more opportunities to share this with our customers. It’s completely understandable with holidays, hunting season, football, and the fact that it’s just plain cold.
We quickly run out of reels to spool, tackle to organize, and the laundry list of neglected things left over from a long season. At first, it seems like a well deserved rest. Then it turns to restlessness, and then claustrophobia. We start to call each other and talk about how broke we are, plans for the coming season, and no matter what, we complain about the weather.
Around the first of the year it seems that our customers begin to have the same thoughts we do. The phone starts to ring as people daydream about warm days and beautiful views of our island paradise from the water. Some can’t stand to wait and come right away. Many are rewarded with those days that the temperature reaches the upper 60s and the ocean lays down flat as a board. Others are met with wind and cold and brave the elements for a chance of a great day.
When Spring comes the anticipation turns into exhaustion as we re-adjust to our new schedule of running nearly every day. But we aren’t quite at the target zone. That comes in the summer.
When it finally gets here we are in “the zone”. Running every day is the expectation and we have become used to it once again. The fishing is hot, the weather is hot, and we are loving every minute of it. Tourist are everywhere, the calendar is full, and life is good. Everyone is busy and that beer that was left in the cooler all day never tasted sweeter than it does after a long successful day on the water as you sip it with a few other fishing guides and swap stories on the dock.
Old friends and clients return and spend a few hours at a time with you catching fish and catching up. Some clients have been with you so long that they remember your kid being born, bad days, good days, and so many stories that you have collected over time. These are good times that keep us in the game year after year. We watch their kids get taller and taller each year. They begin to grow out of the easy stuff and start setting their eyes on more challenging targets. It’s a rewarding feeling when we get to be there for so many “firsts”. First fish, first shark, first time on a boat, first time beating Dad.
As the summer winds down and Fall approaches we are beat down once again. The tackle needs help, the boat needs help, and we need rest. But, there are so many things that we have to take advantage of. Huge Redfish are coming in and we are still busy. Our community of guides are collectively looking forward to the end of the season when life starts to return to a pace more suited for human beings.
The thing is, we’re not normal human beings. We’re fishing guides and that makes us the type of people that don’t feel alive if we are living at a normal pace. We live for one more cast. One more fish. One more trip. We live for warm weather, happy fish, calms seas, and old friends.
Here’s to another year!
Capt. TJ Cheek