Making dreams come true - all in a day's work for Captain Jim Teeter
Thank you, Captain, for taking time out of your busy schedule. We know the fishing is great in your area. Tell us, how did you get into this business? What made you decide to become a fishing guide?
I've fished all my life, but the turning point for me was 20 years ago when I hired a guide in Oregon to go salmon fishing. I spent the day with him. Just talking to him gave me the inspiration and direction I needed.
At the time, I had a lucrative corporate job, and it wasn't necessarily easily to give it up. But I knew I wanted to spend my life doing something I truly enjoyed. I wanted to be a fishing guide!
Later, I ran into yet another guide who had previously worked for a Fortune 500 company. He told me what he did to make the transition. Long story short... I traded in my PowerPoint presentations for a boat! The rest is history.
That's wonderful, and very inspiring! Tell us, where do you take your customers/clients to fish?
West Central Florida, Sarasota, Tampa Bay, basically the St. Petersburg area. I do plenty of Inshore, Nearshore and Offshore trips.
What fish do your clients primarily ask to fish for?
I'd say that 50% of my clients want to fish Inshore for Sea Trout, Snook, Redfish, and Snapper. For Offshore fishing, they typically request Snapper, Grouper, Flounder, and Cobia. We do Tarpon fishing Spring and Fall. We catch numerous varieties of fish any given day.
Is there a particularly exciting or memorable fishing adventure you'd care to relate to our readers?
Three years ago, I was contacted by a fellow in Montana. He was 69 years old. After talking to him awhile, he said his "bucket list" had a few fish missing, one of which was a tarpon, and could I help him? He wanted to catch a tarpon before he turned 70 years old.
I explained that there is no guarantee as these fish are hard to hook. Tarpon fishing can take hours and hours, and there is no guarantee. Nevertheless, he booked a trip. Within the first hour on a very hot June day (over 95 degrees F.), he hooked a 140 lb. tarpon!
He refused to give up, though he was obviously exhausted. We poured water over his head and into his mouth to keep him hydrated. He managed to get the monster fish to the boat. We took photos to commemorate the occasion.
The most rewarding part of the entire experience, for me, was witnessing this man's tenacity. I've never seen anything like it!
That is fantastic, Captain. Thank you for relaying this story. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Just this: when customers are choosing charters, please don't be afraid to ask questions! There are a lot of guides who do not necessarily have all the requirements and, admittedly, it's a continuous problem in the industry.
For example, ask:
Just because someone has an advertisement doesn’t mean they have all the legal requirements. In Florida, there is only one agency that qualifies fishing guides: The Florida Guides Association. You must prove on a yearly basis that you have all the proper licensing, documents, etc.
Beware: If you go out with a guide who doesn’t have all the proper registration and licensing, you might get pulled over and have your fish confiscated by fish and game association. Not a fun way to end the day!
What do others say?