Lakecaster Online

"What is a Fishing Guide"
By Ed Snyder

Ed Snyder

With Winter in full bloom and with most everyone tending to their normal winterization's, not a whole lot of people are really in tune with fishing yet as they're saving that outdoor interest for the upcoming Spring season. "But, in betwixt those Blue Bird blasts of arctic chills are little windows of calm and sunshine which can provide some lake friendly weather for enjoying a day of bass fishin'. "Which is where I'm at right now as I'm sandwiched between two of our top fishing guides as we cruise the basslands of Lake Toledo Bend. The Guide duo invited me to join them on one of their "rare" days of leisure as they decided to spend some time together to share in some of their fishing secrets and expertise.

"I don't know nothin' about this creek, nor do I have any idea of what they're hitting Noe, quips Don, as he sets the troll-motor for strollin' the edges of an Indian Mounds creek channel. "Ahhh, thats OK amigo, snipes Noe as he unstraps the rods and prepares to make the first cast, "I didn't figure you knew anything about anything no-how and I sure ain't gonna' be tellin' you nothin' either!?"................"Welp"......so much for secrets and sharing!!!

"Im spending my early Winter fishing adventure with Louisiana/Toledo guide, Noe Garcia, of Zwollie, and Texas/Toledo guide, Don Iles, of Hemphill, as both professional anglers are about to give me an inside view of what being a fishing guide is all about.

Noe, a retired U.S. Airforce Veteran, has accumulated over 10 years of fishing experience on Big "T". Presently living with his wife, Norma, in Zwollie LA, Noe has been an active asset to the lake, spending time with the Louisiana Lake Assn; as a former CEO, as well as being an active supporter/volunteer for the Florida bass restocking programs which have inserted over 10 million bass fry into the vast 187,000 acre expanses of Lake Toledo Bend. "This "IS" the Sportsman's Paradise, Noe begins to educate my notes as he flips out a plum colored wacky worm to start working it back along the hydrilla edges.

Don, an active lake community business leader, as well as owner/operator of Lowe's Creek Park Marina & Campground, located on the Hemphill TX, side of the lake, has managed to survive over 5 years worth of guiding, as he resides at the Marina with his wife, Angela, and family. Heavily involved with the politics of the lake, as well as being Regional Director for the Southeast Texas B.A.S.S. Federation, Don chooses a 1/4 oz white/chartreuse spinner bait to "Blitz" his early morning bass with. "I don't know, Don searches for, "I guess you'd have to say that "It just doesn't get any better", he attempts to evaluate, as he tries to explain his personal feelings about being able to make a living at what he really enjoys doing, teaching people how to catch fish on Lake Toledo Bend.

And that's really the gist of it all as both guides are in tune with what it is to be a fishing guide on one of the finest recreational fishing lakes in the nation. Toledo Bend, a 97 mile long freshwater reservoir with its 187,000 acres of surface water and over 1,200 miles of shoreline can become a very intimidating factor for the fishing interests of its visitors. "The where to go and what to use" can be an awesome thought which can befuddle even the most seasoned anglers.

"This is why its so important for the visitor to hire their first trip out with a fishing guide, states Don, "as the sheer vastness of this huge lake system can deter that angler from ever returning to fish if they have a negative fishing trip. "Rule of thumb, for fishing any part of Big "T" would be to start from the bank first and to slowly fish your way out until you've connected with what you're looking for, Don advises, adding, "but if you spend most of your vacation time looking for fish, "instead of catching fish", you'll usually go home thinking that the lake doesn't have any fish in it. "Which is a mistake, interjects Noe, "since Lake Toledo Bend is absolutley full of fish with such popular species as Bream, Crappie, Catfish, White bass, Striper, and Black bass, which includes both the Florida largemouth and the Kentucky spotted. "We also have plenty of brush bass, right Ed, Don chides in my direction after I "expertly" set my hooks into a "bush-bite", "yeah, sure-nuff, I stutter-mumble before shakin' off my embarrasment.

"Toledo Bend is really on a strong up-grade right now, continued Don, "as we've got a lot of major tournaments coming to the lake and a lot of major dollars being spent for quality facillities on the Louisiana side as they've got some great plans for developing our lake into a major outdoor recreational facility. "Being here, in Sabine County, Don informs, "is a very rewarding experience as I can make a living at doing exactly what I want to do, which is to raise a family in this enviornment as well as meet some really great customers who choose to hire my services for catching fish on Lake Toledo Bend.

"Right on with that, remarks Noe, as he supports the comments made by Don, "those of us who make our living at "teaching" our clients the how to's and with what's of fishing Big T's waters for whatever they prefer to fish for, "must" enjoy what we've chosen to do for a living as we also "must" enjoy being with our treasured customers. "The bass fishery on this beautiful lake is fantastic right now, Noe expresses, "as we are now catching a lot of small bass right now, but I fully expect to see a lot of really good bass to start being caught during the primetime months of February, March, and April, when the "Big Boys" come out ot play. "Hiring a guide at this time of year, advises Noe, "would be the best thing to do for those who're visiting our lake for the first time, as they can take advantage of our years of fishing experience and lake area knowledge to get a "jump start" in the right direction for learning the lake. "I echo that, Don includes, as he explains that the expense of hiring a fishing guide can actually be considered a very inexpensive investment, if you look at it from the vantage of how much time and money it would take to out of your life to learn what took years of fishing and tons of money for them to learn. "Just one day with us, explains Don, "can be appraised as a 15 year/$150,000 value as that is what it probably cost us to obtain the level of fishing expertise that we've developed between us. "So, adds Noe, " figure your full/day or half/day trip expenses into that figure and you'll see the great value that your fishing guide expense dollars can provide for your investment returns.

A rather "wallstreet" way of looking at it, but both guides are right-on as to the value of hiring a fishing guide for a day, or a half day, as that time spent with them on a lake system that is so huge, can, and does, "compute".

For those of you who wish to "enjoy" the years of expertise and fishing savvy that both of these pro-fishing guides have to offer (which also includes extensive bass tournament experiences) can do so by calling Don Iles at 1-800-290-9489 -or- Noe Garcia at (318)-645-4029- ask for the "$150,000 experience" by splitting your day with both guides. 

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