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Feltsoul

Making a living on the water

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I grew up on my dads charter boat and have since "grown up", moved away and now work in corporate America. Every day I sit staring at the 3 walls of my gray padded cubicle and plot my escape. I'm not nieve...I know when ever you HAVE to get up and do something, it kind of sucks the fun out of it. I know the moneys not good. Some days I see my self as a guide, pushing a 17 ft skiff over skinny pale blue water. Some days I imagine owning a niech fly shop... within walking distance of a beach. Like everyone with a dream, I want to go back. I want to enjoy what I do.

So, do you guys with the dream jobs LOVE what you do? What's the worst part of that gig?

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I worked in a Steel Mill in SE PA for 30 years. I retired and did some mate jobs for a year or so. I really did like it in the beginning. When the real work started it sucked. The real work is to try to please some people who are either stupid or think they knows more then anyone. I would have kept it up but "People" suck. It made me really like my steel mill time more. It reminder me of the management that ran some of the Dept. of the mill. I now would not want to guide anyone but myself for a living. I will take anyone out with me but if I find them "treating my like they hired me" home we go.

Rick

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I teach Genetics & Biotechnology. Also marine research, do collaborative work w/ DEP, EPA, NMFS, and several local universities and colleges. Acoustic tagging and tracking of horseshoe crabs and blackfish, shoreline seine studies, hatching and releasing Atlantic salmon...etc. Also teach kids fishing, fly tying, rod building. The worst part on some days is that the work day isn't longer.

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Don't forget - in the North East - it's seasonal. The 2 gentlemen I hire as guides must supplement their incomes by working at other jobs. Generally construction. But, that sucks now.

 

 

One of the guides was telling me about a husband and wife charter that when they heard that lunch would be part of the fare wanted chicken salad on pumpernickle for him and tuna salad on rye for her - they got bologna.

 

Down here in FL it's not that much better. The summer is sweltering and the winter has cold fronts coming through every few days.

I wanted to fish the no-motor-zone in the Indian River System last winter with a guide in his canoe. Couldn't put it together between the fronts. meanwhile he earns nothing. When the "bluebird" day finally arrived Nasa was going to launch a missile and they close down the area for 3 days prior to the launch for security reasons. Then they go and cancel it and start the clock again. security reasons.

Never did get to go and the guide earned nothing on me

It is a tough existence.

Herb

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Felt,

I push that 17 foot skiff in the Keys and run an Outfitting business in Wyoming. The key is to successfully link one season to another.

Seasonal work and guiding is a single mans job, not one that's good for the family man IMO. (I have tried it twice and failed) Moving from one season to another guiding can be tough single or not. Guiding is and should always be an unselfish job. You must be able to watch and help others catch and harvest, otherwise you won't last long. And don't plan on getting rich!cwm27.gif

Sure, switching it up, working outside, traveling, meeting new people, teaching someone the things you love, are all great parts of the job. I feel very fortunate to have experienced all that I have.

Do I love it......yes. Would I trade it for a job that keeps me home, pays more, and offers more stability? Never. Is it tough....? Yes.

Just my 0.2. Go for it if you think you'll be happy....life to short not to be.

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Flat Addicted has it about right. Can be tough on a relationship and family life. I watch my buddies who have families and do not know how they make it. They are looking for a way out.

 

I am lucky my wife guides also---we live very simply--very small house and low over head and it is still tough to make it. We both have to find something to do in the winter as our winter and early spring striper fishing has died. I have commercial fished for the last 4 winters and at 55 yrs old --getting a little old.

 

It is a good life style but i urge people to think long term---health insurance, retirement etc and you are only as good as your next phone call--no security ---would i change anything--hell no.

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Some really good advice up top. I thought about guiding as a career to. I still am to a degree. Problem for me is that I have lived the corpoarte life to and in the main over here your customer base is going to come from that group of society. The kind of Guys who believe that paying money to a Guide ensures they will catch fish and be very seriously grumpy if they don't irrespective of what conditipons are encountered on their day.Too many of todays peaople do not relate to nature and her moods. I just cant synergise with people like that. My friend is a very successful Guide in Southern Ireland. Shore based offering Bass Pollock Sea Trout and occasional Salmon. He has a life style but little money. He would work more hours for each Client than the Client can stand. Too many of them are extreemly lazy. They will not get up early enough for the dawn bite and then moan like hell that they only caught a few fish or that they thought the fish would be bigger. They want it on a plate. You are the silver bullet. John has an amazing temprement and copes. I am told I am good with people but I am afraid I would find it difficult to get along with customers who blamed me when they just will not fish at the required time of day or night. Many of the Guys over here who hire guides are not the most skilled of Fishers which is why they hire in the first instance. If they are open and willing to engage then they are as much a pleasure to work with as the good Fisher John tells me.

There is also the pressure on the Guide to deliver. Does this sound familiar at all. I occasionaly take a charter to Tope fish we have skunked twice but we all still had a great day because we know the crack and our skipper is top notch and works hard all day. Then the relationship with guide and customer is fantastic and it endures over many years. As society changes and it's must have attitude and must have it now pervades then guiding can only get tougher.

Good Guides I have the greatest of respect for, some I have seen are pretty disfunctional and should not be anywhere near another human.

For those that are good at their craft and have the gift and are also good businessmen to it must be a great life style. If you think you can deliver in all aspects required in this demanding role well taking into account the knowledge and experinces of the Guides who have responded above why not. Your call you will know what is at stake.

 

Best of luck

Mike

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Thank you for all the comments.

As I said, I grew up on my dad's boat. I know the money is not good. We lived very modestly. My father worked a day job, some times two, and ran the boat on the weekends. He got laid off and ran the boat full time. Those years after the layoff were tough but I can't remember him being happier.

You know that old phrase "nothing is more expensive than regret"... I don't want to look back and regret I never tried to make a go of it.

Thinking I might post on a regular basis on the progress of a dream made real.

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View PostThank you for all the comments.

As I said, I grew up on my dad's boat. I know the money is not good. We lived very modestly. My father worked a day job, some times two, and ran the boat on the weekends. He got laid off and ran the boat full time. Those years after the layoff were tough but I can't remember him being happier.

You know that old phrase "nothing is more expensive than regret"... I don't want to look back and regret I never tried to make a go of it.

Thinking I might post on a regular basis on the progress of a dream made real.

 

Good luck Feltsoul! Feel free to PM me If I can be of any help along your journey.

Don

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