Last week I embarked on a new chapter of the outdoors, I stepped into the world of a fishing guide. I really had no intentions of being a guide, it just kind of happened and I have to say it has been a pretty fun time, (So far)
Over the years I have met many guides and many people who’s whole dream in life is to have a life of fishing and being a guide is usually the easiest way to get to that lifestyle. I have to admit that I have never had that burning desire to be a full time fishing guide or tournament pro for that matter. My story begins a lot different than that.
When I was first learning how to catfish I met a gentleman named Kent Hollands. Kent had just come off a huge tournament win the fall before and was considering the idea of starting up a guide service on the Red River. The next two summers Kent practiced his guiding skills to get his business started. Lucky for me I was one of the people that he practiced on during those two years. In the process I was given the basic skills of the Red to catch fish consistently.
About the same time I was being Kent’s guinea pig so to speak I met Jim Stinson, a guide in Lockport, Manitoba. Jim taught me the finer points of keeping the boat in order and moving on cue to stay on the fish.
When Kent completed his state and federal licensing requirements to begin guiding, I found myself without a fishing partner many days while he was working. I started taking my friends with more to keep me company than to fish with me and was always set back at how much fun they were having while experiencing their first catfish fight. As the years passed I found myself taking friends out and was beginning operate the boat more and more like a guide would. I loved the look on their faces when they got that first fish on. I always told people I took out for the first time that I have never had anyone come in from the river and say they had a bad time.
The past five years have seen catfishing and the Red River gain popularity and Kent’s business during the pre-spawn period of May and June has just gone crazy. One night last year after turning down numerous bookings because he was already scheduled he called me and begged for me to start the process of getting my captains license from the Coast Guard and making arrangements with North Dakota for the permits required.
Fast-forward one year, all the paperwork done and here I am, Captain Brad Durick, Red River Fishing Guide. This past week was the beginning of my professional guiding career. Like I stated earlier I did not wait all my life to be a fishing guide. I simply fell into a job that I enjoy because it makes people happy. With three trips under my belt so far I have had four people tell me their trip with me was the best fishing experience they have ever had in terms of number of fish, big fish and just excitement on the water. I have to admit hearing that is a real rush for me and really has me excited to stay on the water.
Two of the groups I had were fathers and sons. The kids had an absolute blast reeling in the ill-tempered fighters. There was hooting and hollering, even some screaming with excitement. Each time I was able to get photos of the kids and dads with fish and dad’s faces tell the whole story of the trip, gleaming ear to ear to see the boy with his trophy.
I’ve stepped into an unexpected profession. It is a lot of fun and very rewarding to show off the body of water that is known for mostly bad things (floods) while showing people how great it really is.
For more information about the river and the fishing, visit www.redriverfishingguide.com
Until next time get outside and make some memories.