Open for Business March 20

Open for Business March 20

My new Yamaha is ready to push the Lund up River soon as the ice goes out. I need to run it slow for a couple of hours to break my new baby in. As of today pools 10 & 9 are still essentially locked up with ice, although some black ice is starting to show up. Long term forecast calls for highs in the mid-20s weekend of the 12th so open water options will be limited until probably the 15th.

Ice floes will make navigation truly dicey until probably the last week in the month given the way March is beginning to shake out. Traditionally, walleye spawn peaks about April 15-20 most years. 2021 was an outlier–females got serious about precreation around April Fool’s Day and SMB were on a crazy feeding rip less than 10 days later.

This year I expect more traditional progression, But the River herself will tell us what to expect when the time comes. The Miss is the epitome of a ‘dynamic’ ecosystem!

I’ll try to blog on at least a weekly basis once things start to open up. Right now in the process of getting all 3 boats rigged and ready. Good chance this will be my last year for guiding. True, it has been pretty much a dream job for the past 45+ yrs. Guiding is hard work for a young guy…and damned hard work for an old one. I fished 207 days last year, have been out 35 times so far in 2022–all but 7 of ’em in Alabama & Florida. 200 days on the water has been pretty much the average every year for the last 50 years, but I can’t see fishin’ that much going forward.

Seriously crunched the number on fixed expenses of the guide business last week. Based on 100 trips per year, it costs $105 every time I launch the boat–figuring nothing significant breaks.

With gas already up over 40% from last year–with no end in price increase in sight–I’ve had to bump the base rate to $275, holding the line at $50 per hour after that. The average crankbait has also doubled in price. The River and toothy critters will usually eat a couple every trip, But losing any more than that seriously diminishes an already skinny bottom line. Fortunately, most of my clients have been truly generous with tips. This validation for doing my best to put fish in the boat but MORE IMPORTANT helping a client become a better fisher is pretty much the only reason I’ve been able to hang in there for so long.

Guided sportfishing is under the hospitality industry tent. The boat is no place for a whining guide. My job is providing the client with the best possible fishing experience. This effort and my promise that you’ll end a day on the water with more knowledge than when we started are my only focus.

But this is MY blog. You don’t have to read it. Just know that in this space the first Amendment is sacred an unbridled. Enough rambling. gotta get ready to catch some perch tomorrow morning. tight lines.

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