What makes a good fishing guide?

Published 1:13 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2022

A guided fishing trip is a lot like a blind date. At the end of the date you are either excited because you had a great time, or you are researching time machines to try to get those wasted hours back. 


I’ve had both types of trips and have found a few characteristics of a great guide. 

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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 is tough, a guide will let you know what to expect. 


Captain Leroy Suggs, who guides out of Blacks Camp in Cross, South Carolina met me and a friend at the dock to explain the situation. The Striped Bass that are usually schooling this time of year had not read the game plan. 


Leroy was honest and said we could find some fish though. By “we” he really meant Leroy. As primarily a small stream trout fisherman, I find comfort in the fact that the trout are confined to water I am able to cast across. 


Lake Marion is a huge lake with very little landmarks for my upcountry eyes. Captain Leroy knew where to go and had rods bending with feisty stripers in no time. 


Secondly, a good fishing guide will also teach a willing client. Captain Leroy instructed us on his technique of “jigging spoons.” In fact, the first time he dropped a spoon down to 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 flutters in the water like a wounded baitfish) because for some reason, the fish he saw on the electronics were not biting live bait. 


Captain Leroy could have said, “Well they are here but they aren’t biting. There’s nothing I can do about that.” Instead he worked hard and changed tactics to find us fish. 


A guide that works hard to ensure his clients success is the third characteristic of a good guide. I have literally had to wake up a hunting guide to tell him that ducks were working out decoys. 


When not instructing us or watching his fish finder, Captain Leroy would be scanning the skies with his binoculars for birds that signal a school of fish on the horizon. There was no need to check if he was sleeping. Captain Leroy was constantly engaged in finding fish for his clients to catch. 


By the end of the trip we had landed around twenty fish without ever finding an active school for which October on Lake Moultrie is famous.


If you want to look for a fishing trip close by, check out Blacks Camp on Lake Moultrie. There you can find honest, hard working guides that will teach their clients to catch fish. Captain Leroy Suggs is a fine example of a great guide and I can’t wait to fish with him again.


Give them a shout and set up a “blind date” fishing trip that won’t have you researching time machines.