Ramblings of a Half-Baked Guide

Ramblings of a Half-Baked Guide
By the time this issue makes it into your hands, I will have been guiding fly and light-tackle anglers full time for over sixteen years. Wow, it is really hard to believe, especially considering that, when I was younger, I swore I would never be a dumb ol' fishing guide. And, once I caved on that, I swore that I would only guide for ten years. I guess I ought to quit swearing.

Back when I was coerced into becoming a guide by friends and family, I went into it not so much as a business but as a 'lifestyle' choice. In short, I wanted to be free of all things corporate and most importantly, I wanted to get away from people and I wanted to stay as far away from the fast paced life of the city as I possibly could. In addition, I did not want to even have to wear shoes to the office, much less a suit and tie. Sounds like a good plan, huh? Well, it seems like the only part of that plan that worked out was that I do not have to wear a suit and tie.

You see, I sometimes have to do business with corporations that hire me to entertain their customers or I have to purchase equipment from businesses, both large and small, to support my business, oops, I mean lifestyle. Wanting to be free of the rat race did not work out either. Just come to Port O'Connor or Rockport on a weekend and you will see the city descend upon it as people race from spot to spot, short-cutting across and through almost every flat and marsh pond in boats that will run 40-70 mph, never stopping for more than ten minutes to fish. As for the shoes or, the not wearing of the shoes to be more specific, well twenty-two years of making a living on boats (guiding plus the Coast Guard) has taken its toll on my back and a quality pair of running shoes really does help while standing on the on the polling platform eight hours a day.

Do not get me wrong, I love what I do and thank God every chance I get for the opportunities he has given me and for the all of the great people that I have had the chance to get to know. However, I would be lying to you all to not tell you- guiding is a hard life. How hard could it really be one might ask. Well, I can assure you that there is a lot more damage to one's body to be done while banging around in a skiff and while baking in the sun than for the person who sits in an office chair all day.

Case in point- Just this summer I was experiencing some serious issues with fatigue along with some kidney issues. In fact, I was feeling so poorly that I went to the doctor more this summer than I probably have in the last ten years combined. Apparently, as I just learned, riding around in a bouncing boat all the time combined with the dehydration that goes along with pushing a boat around in the sun all day is not good for a person's kidneys. Add to that a touch of high blood pressure and well, it just is not good.

Well the doctor gave me some medication and told me that I need to get serious about eating healthy and needed to lay off the adult beverage. Yeah right. If he thinks that I am going to give up my hooch and then quit eating fried shrimp, oysters or crabs and then give up my chicken fried steak and pork chops well, it just is not going to happen. I know, enough with the tough guy talk. I was actually feeling so bad that I listened to him and here I am now, with more energy than I have had in probably over five years. Whooda thunk it?

So now, for the first time in my life, it occurs to me that I might just be getting old. I really do not have the first clue how it happened, considering the fact that I still have not figured out what I want to be when I grow up. Alas though it might just be happening. The signs are all there. Heck, in just the last couple of months I have had several young adults look me square in the eyes and say, "You're old." Add to that the fact that I routinely think to myself or say, "I sure do miss the good old days," and I think there is a remote chance that it just might be happening. Oh, and did I mention that the fortieth birthday is just a couple of months away. Not real happy about that either. I sure do miss being a kid.

So here I am, sixteen years into a career that should have never been, wondering what is next? While I am trying to figure it out, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving holiday and stuff like that.