Steve on guiding

We all prefer to fly fish. That’s what we do most of the time. But not one person on the Indigo crew is above picking up a spinning rod. Hell, we’re not above trolling for kings in 600 feet of water from time to time. We just like to fish. A lot.

In the bad old days, so goes the story, Steve used to be a regular on some of the open water salmon tournament stops. Downriggers. Planer boards. Dipsy divers. Whack ‘em and stack ‘em son, that cooler ain’t gonna get full of fish on its own.

So when we get the call to do a gear trip, we’re more than happy to oblige. Aaron and D were up on Beaver Island and wanted to learn. They’ve been coming to the islands for a while now and never quite dialed the fish in. They like to cast for smallmouth and troll for salmon so they booked Steve for a half day of smallmouth and a half day of salmon, naturally enough.

It may be an understatement to say that guides can get jaded. After years and years and in some cases decades and decades of chasing fish, it takes a pretty serious specimen to get them excited. Aaron and D caught a lot of smallmouth in a few hours, most in the 3-5lb range. They were nice fish all of them, but these were fish Steve would run over if he was fishing on his own, hunting that 8 pounder, maybe that new state record 10 pounder. Aboard Aaron and D’s boat Steve got the guys hooked up on 5 salmon. They were all rather small fish, 16-18”, but they were salmon caught on the troll nonetheless.

Steve says he takes for granted the things he knows, the mess of 3-5lb smallmouth on Beaver Island when you’re hunting the 10 pounder, the 16” salmon when you’re trolling for 20 pounders, the rigging, the retrieve, reading water, reading charts, the eternal patience of mind.

But after taking Aaron and D out and seeing things click into place for them, to see them actually learning the fisheries, learning the rigging, attempting the patience of mind and being as happy as Steve has ever seen someone, Steve says he is humbled. Steve says he is humbled and proud and grateful that Aaron and D chose him to share in their excitement. Steve says thanks Aaron and D. Steve says he won’t be as jaded from now on. [editor’s note: Steve is really not jaded at all. One time I saw him catch a 14″ pike and say: “yeah, got you you little sumbitch!”]

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