Guiding for Striped Bass and getting paid to do it. What a Fantastic way to make a living. But wait a minute, lets examine what your Striper Guide does behind the scene so you can create memories of a life time.
- The Fish: Striper guides keep detailed diaries of where, when and what catch fish from day to day. This helps the guide to keep track of fishing patterns and where fish prefer to be at any given time. The possibilities that guides have to deal with is amazing and with striped bass where they were yesterday and where they are today can be completely different.
- Equipment: – Trucks, Boats,Trailers, Rods, Reels, Electronics, Motors, Batteries.
- Striper Boats: after each trip must be cleaned and made ready for the next trip. Gasoline, ice, batteries, rods must be attended to. Bait and bait tanks inspected and restocked. Checks of tire pressure on trucks and especially trailers are necessary. Restocking of complimentary items (Soft drinks, water, coffee, candies etc.) must be done.
- Vehicles: The trucks must be maintained for reliability and safety.
- Rods: Guides have to maintain a lot of rods to use. Rods must be of top quality and some are custom made. They are used on a daily basis and have to stand up to all kinds of abuse, from the fishermen to the fish. Rods get stepped on, nicked, and damaged. (some get lost to the lake via the power of the striper.) After every trip the guide has to check the rods for damage to prevent the loss of a fish in the middle of a fight.
- Reels: Depending on the time of year guides use different types of reels. When bait fishing, many guides will have Bait Casters with bait clicker features to allow the fish to run with the bait before the hook is set. Spinning reels are used and maintained for fisherman who are not experienced with Bait casting reels. These reels require daily attention and maintenance to keep them ready for the battles.
- Fishing Line: Good fishing line is a must. The line is the only thing that stands between you and the trophy of a life time. It has to be inspected daily and changed often. Your fishing guide will have special equipment to strip and re-spool line quickly.
- Electronics: Depth finder and GPS units of top quality. These also require time and effort to maintain.
- Outboard Motors: These babies require a lot of attention when they are run day in and day out for 300 days a year.
- Trolling Motors: During certain times of the year these motors are in continuous use on the water and require quality units to be used as well as good batteries and chargers. The trolling motor can make or brake a fishing trip.
- Terminal Tackle: Hooks, weights, line, artificial lures, planer boards. Guides use a wide selection of tackle that produced Stripers. Having the right lure to use on a given day can mean a large inventory to have on hand. Losing them due to bad casts,big fish, misplayed fish, is a hazard guides deal with on a daily basis. Time must be spent acquiring or making new tackle.
- Batteries: If it is in a boat and makes noises, lights up, beeps, or starts their is a battery behind it. Five batteries in a boat are not uncommon. The shad tanks, the boat motor, the trolling motor, the depth finder and all other electronics. This means taking daily care of the batteries. If you have batteries you have to have battery chargers. All of which are used on a daily basis. Using quality batteries and chargers help prevent a heavy expense of frequent replacement.
- Live Bait: Live bait for stripers normally means using shad which are high maintenance critters. If your guide uses Shad, most likely he is catching them which means.
Another special boat just for catching the bait.
Casting / throw nets,
Tanks in the catch boat
Tanks to store and keep shad alive at the shop.
Chemicals to treat the water to get them back to the main tanks at the shop where pumps aerators and circulators are running 24 hours a day with back up generators in case of a power failure.
More Chemicals and daily monitoring to keep the bait healthy and frisky when being stored in the shop tanks.
- Weather: Guides are Amateur meteorologists, every guide has his clients best interests in mind. Guides must keep up with the weather. Not only because of hazardous weather, but because weather changes can make a serious change in the way fish are biting and where.
- Licenses:, Certifications & Insurance: Lets see there are boat, truck, trailer and fishing license, guide licenses, tax permits, occupation licenses, coast guard certifications, CPR training. Comprehensive & liability Insurance.
- Safety Equipment: Fire extinguishers, life jackets, throwing rings. Checked on a daily basis.
- Miscellaneous: Ice machines, dip nets, cameras, electric knives, cast nets, boat bait tanks, cell phones and marine radios, maps and charts, Gas, advertising, calling clients back, boat ramp fees.. All in a days work.
- Taxes: This seems out of place, but for your guide, it means a bookkeeping system to keep out of trouble with Uncle Sam who wants to take his part in the fishing trips.
- Why they choose this life.
The Striper Guides enjoyment is sharing and caring, they love it, and do all this for their clients.
When they see a smile and hear laughter from their customers their day is complete.
So the next time you think its a cushy job, remember for every fishing adventure, your guide has spent hours in preparation so you can enjoy your experience and create memories of a lifetime for you and your friends and families.