Musky Guide Services - page 2

Guides and Guiding
From: Len Hartman © 2000 - All Rights Reserved
A guide can be the margin of success and sometimes failure of your success when you fish new
waters. Especially in Muskie fishing. Why invest in a Muskie fishing trip laying out all that money
on a once in a lifetime trip and when you get to the fishing waters you wouldn't know where the
Muskie fishing is from good to better. Some guides just guide for money and couldn't care less if
you caught a Muskie or not.
The first time I fished the Florida Keys it was with the sole purpose of catching a tarpon on a fly
rod. Arriving at Marathon Key, I went to the first local tackle store and inquired on who was the
best tarpon guide in the area. Stu Abt was the name given by the store owner and a customer
who was buying a bucket of live shrimp.
I hired Stu for the next 3 days. He took one look my outfit and said; "you are trout fly rod
fisherman." So I apologized for the inadequate equipment and told him this was a different kind
of guiding in that he would have to catch the first tarpon. My theory was by watching him I could
learn better than stumbling from one mistake to another.
After four hours of stalking the flats watching in all directions for feeding tarpon, Stu poled the
boat to within casting distance in the line of travel he figured the tarpon would take. He was
right; this tarpon came right toward the boat. His knowledge of the tarpon paid off. He was a
super guide.
He hooked the tarpon and within fifteen minutes the tarpon unhooked and the fight was over. In
tarpon fishing, he said you can expect to land one in six that you hook because of the bony
mouth and he showed me how to super sharpen a hook to cut this loss down. I think it was with
Stu that I first learned the importance of an extra sharp hook.
Soon, Stu had landed a 67 pound tarpon and it was my turn. Being a fairly good fresh water fly
rod fisherman, I felt like this was my first day in school many years ago. The fly rod had more
backbone than my limber buggy whip and the extra foot in length made me start fly rodding all
over again.
The first tarpon sighted was a good six footer and he seemed to be making a fool of me as he
circled the boat and I made four casts and never in the right place. He took off and I looked at
Stu, he just said better luck next time.
Finally, I hooked my first tarpon the second day. It was an 82 pound fish and fought like a
demon. After the tarpon was boated, tagged released, I was a tired as the tarpon because he
stayed near the boat for 10 minutes before taking off. I was really hooked with fly rod fishing for
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