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Bill Babler

Shell Knob Report-Question for the Group

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As you  see there is no "right" answer to your question. While I've never guided professionally, I have taken business clients fishing back up north. I tried to have plan A and plan B and ask them what they would prefer, casting, live bait or trolling.  Since moving to Rogers 5 years ago, and being blessed with fishing that mystery lake named Beaver, I've had many friends come down to fish.  I'm usually surprised when I ask them what they would like to do as fishing for stripers or crappies takes a whole different set of tackle, and is much more species specific that fishing a natural lake up north. Mostly the answer is to "just catch some fish". Good for you to "take the temperature" of folks on the forum but perhaps not a typical mindset of a vacation client.  I know I'm going to be in your boat one day to learn to fish off shore. (still hope to put some in the boat).  JMO Be well.

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Bill...out of curiosity, how would you split the people you take into 2 or 3 groups and what percentage makes up each group? Additionally could you put those groups ranked into difficulty of taking on a trip. 

Obviously individual personality of each person can make or break a trip but just generally speaking how does it break down?

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A bit of a disclaimer, I guide in NE Kansas so my answer is probably a bit biased. 

Yes, 0600 would be no issue if that's when the guide told me we needed to start. If I booked a guide it would be to learn, not so much to catch fish, although that's obviously a nice bonus, so I'd rather not fish the live bait. I'm okay with the idea of working harder for fewer fish though. I can go catch fish on my own if that's all I wanted to do, the point of hiring a guide to me, is to learn how to do something that I don't currently know how to do. I know from experience that a lot of people hiring a guide purely to get taken directly to the fish though, learning might happen but more than anything they just want to catch fish. Those often seem to be the hardest people to please. 

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With the cooler, pleasant weather we just went out leisurely " Crusin' " from Baxter up to the mouth of the Kings yesterday.  Bill's comment about summertime boaters is right on since we were, unknowingly, on the same water.  Man, it was a Tuesday and the boat traffic reminded us of 4th of July !  Tubing and more tubing, which is fine and fun for the younguns', but get the heck out of the middle of the lake with all the crazy turns it takes to bounce the tubers over the boat wakes....no one sharing the lake with you can anticipate when and where you're going to pull a sudden 180.   Then there's the 'toon pulling the skier that passed us close on our left which is sorta' OK but too close....the skier goes down and the dumbbutt 'toon driver makes a sharp turn to his right, right in front of us, to go back and retrieve the downed skier.   Hello !  Moron, do you not recall just passing us ?  

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10 minutes ago, Quillback said:

There's a kids summer camp deal up there by the mouth of the Kings and they always seem to have a boat or two out there pulling kids around.  Tough to fish that area unless you get out there at the crack of dawn.  

And they start early!!!!

All fun for those kids though, they seemingly have a blast getting the snot kicked out of them by the camp counselors on those tubes. its entertaining to watch for a bit while probing the points in that area.  I can usually take the entertainment and fish through it for a while then move on....they sure do like to start the singing early too!

They have have 6 boats or so out at a time this year.

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Yep!  The wife and I were drop shotting there one morning when the waves from their boat rocked ours and I went swimming while leaning over the boat to rinse my hands. That...... cost me a new boat!!!

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14 hours ago, Devan S. said:

Bill...out of curiosity, how would you split the people you take into 2 or 3 groups and what percentage makes up each group? Additionally could you put those groups ranked into difficulty of taking on a trip. 

Obviously individual personality of each person can make or break a trip but just generally speaking how does it break down?

Just in from Fishing Taney. 80 plus rainbows up to 3 pounds today.  Simply fantastic.

  The majority of fishermen and women that I take fish approx.  5 to 10 days a year and most either fish a pond or small stream near their homes.  For the most part they are there to feel the pull and to catch as many in 4 hrs. as possible.  Most of the time these are my favorite clients.  They are sponges and will just do anything to get a bite including this time of the year on the Rock using live bait.  Most times I have to tell them they have a fish on if its one pounder or a 5 pounder, but man do they have fun.  I do have a hard time getting this group out of bed as they just don't understand that the best bite is low light and low traffic early in the morning.  Very seldom do I lose trips over price, most times it is because they just don't want to get up early on vacation.

Second group are fishermen that fish some and have taken guide trips and over estimate their ability and really over estimate mine.  Most have fished in the ocean or fished Texoma and fished some on their own as well.  This is by far my hardest group.  They pretty much catch a fish when a guide hands them a rod with one on it or drops it to a school of vertical fish like Texoma and say reel it in.  They are always more challenging but I get huge satisfaction on teaching them techniques and how to use equipment properly.  I have had hundreds of folks say I wish someone else had told me this sooner or that I would have figured it out for myself.

Locals and everyday fishermen, I just love cause they are there to learn and the catching is usually not even secondary.  They love to learn seasonal patterns, baits and locations.  They want to know and learn about equipment and electronics.  They are most always my best fishermen and handle equipment extremely well.  I never really worry about showing a local a location as they seem to never go back, but search out their own similar places.  We have some great locals fishing this lake and I run into folks I have taken all the time and they most always stop me on the lake and say Howdy.

Tournament fishermen or people with an agenda ie Corporate clients are folks I just do not enjoy as much.  Anyone fishing for money or tournament results it seems does not enjoy even being  out there.  They just want to see how many spots they can look at and most times not even fish.  Corporate clients usually these people don't want to be there.  It is an activity that someone else has chosen for them and at times they can be a challenge.

For the most part I love them all, regardless how much they fish.  We both have a similar bond in just being out in God's creation and enjoying every minute and the catching is always the icing on the cake.

On another note, I am slowing down some, a lot at the request of my wife.  We have a 10,000 sq. foot log house with 5 guest rooms on 40 acres to manage, plus a guide business with one on Taney and one on Table Rock.  I'm Going on 66 now it is a big work load.  At times she will look at my book and mark out day,  as she may need the help or she just feels that I need to rest a bit.  At any rate I'm probably not going to be out there 300 plus days a year any longer.  She would like to see me hold my trips to around 200 a year and from this point on I'm probably going to try and stay around that number.  I have till May of 2021 on my current federal lic and then I will be retiring as I'm not going to renew it

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bill

i have been catching a bunch on the lower end.  i am sure that many of those same bass are there at first light and for a short time after.  the key is to find areas where there is abundant shad is 35 ft. or less.  of course, it would help if your clients can at least cast a spinning outfit.  3/4 oz. GrassJig, 1 oz. Elite Black Widow, and a 1 oz. Elite Mega Blade is about all that is needed to work on them.  we have been catching a lot of these bass before dark, but you have to just keep on the move looking for them.

my hat is off to you on guiding.  it is more than a very difficult job.  example, i fished a couple of fellers from louisiana that are friends with gary harlan, and they wanted to come up and catch smallmouth.  these two fish a lot, but while i caught a whole bunch of smallmouth, only one of the two caught one, and it was i nice 3 1/2.  i am sure that both were getting bites, but just were not recognizing what was happening as a bite.  people do not realize how hard your job is.  you can put the folks right on the bass, but you can not catch them for them.

i really do like to teach someone to fish, and i got to do that with my wife.  linda knew not one thing about fishing, but she wanted to learn and picks up things very quickly.  linda still has her moments casting, but most of the time, she will catch them even when it is a nothing bite.  i hope you get some of those along, that really want to learn how to fish.  it sure would make all of your guide trips much more enjoyable.

bo

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Glad to see that folks are willing to give back and share things with Bill, especially given all the fishing reports he's shared with us over the years.  Don't let one cranky butt hurt poster in this thread ruin it for ya Bill.  Everyone else on this forum appreciates everything you do.   Much respect!

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