SHOP FEATURED FISHING GUIDES SHOP By: wfn Capt. Will Burbach - New Port Richey, Florida Meet Capt. Will Burbach of Screamin' Reels Inshore Fishing Charters in New Port Richey, Florida How long have you been a guide? What species of fish do you primarily target? What led to you becoming a guide? I’ve been guiding for about 13 years now, and I’m mainly an inshore guide. I spend my spring and fall in New Port Richey – mainly targeting snook, redfish, and trout. In the summer I head down to Boca Grande and fish for tarpon. Ultimately, wherever the bite is good at a given time of year, that’s where I go. As for how I got into guiding - my grandfather took me fishing when I was younger, so it’s something that I’ve always loved to do. As I got older, I started fishing competitively in bass tournaments, which only increased my love for it. I came to Florida when I was 14 and started fishing saltwater, and I met some older guys who were guides, and I realized what an awesome job it would be. What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into guiding? Having a passion for fishing is definitely the most important thing. And at the beginning, when you’re first starting out, you’re gonna feel nervous about taking people out on the water – you’ll worry that you’re not meeting their expectations. You’re gonna have good days and bad days, but the important thing is to not be hard on yourself. Take your time, do your homework, and spend as much time on the water as you can. Also, I can’t stress this enough – advertising yourself is very important. You need to put yourself out there if you want to become known in your area. What’s your most memorable fishing story from your time as a guide? I actually have a story from a time when I was mating – it was just last year, in fact. We were tarpon fishing down in Boca Grande, taking part in the Wounded Warriors project, which gives veterans the opportunity to fish with pro anglers. And we had one angler who really, really wanted to catch a tarpon. So we had him set up with a rod – and he had a prosthetic arm, so the rod was tied to that. And he hooks up with a tarpon, and the next thing we know, his rod, and his prosthetic arm, go off the side of the boat! The amazing thing is, not long after he lost the arm, another angler was fighting a fish, and got his line tangled up with the rod, and the arm was still attached. So we managed to get the arm back. Have you ever fished with a celebrity or a high-profile person? Not a celebrity, but recently I took the CEO of Remington out on the water. I’m an avid hunter as well as an angler, so I thought that was pretty cool. Do you have a personal ‘bucket list’ of fishing trips or experiences? I’m absolutely dying to go to Costa Rica. When you fish down there, you tend to do more offshore fishing – targeting sailfish, marlin, roosterfish, stuff like that. A lot different from the type of fishing that I’m used to. That’s something I’d love to do. What’s your favorite species to catch? Well, I like to catch them all! But if I had to choose one, I’d say redfish. They tend to travel in schools, and when you throw a topwater out there, and you’ve got 50 to 60 fish all deciding that they want that topwater – I’ll tell you, there’s nothing quite like it. Where does the majority of your business come from? I get a lot of repeat clients. A lot of them find me through my Facebook page, or my website. I also write a monthly article in Coastal Angler Magazine, which has a circulation of about 500,000 copies here in Florida. I also get a lot of business through my restaurant, which is called Whiskey River Sports Bar & Grill. I’ve been running that for about three years now. Tell us about your boat and/or the equipment that you use. My boat is a specially-made inshore fishing boat that was custom-built in Texas. I wanted a boat that would let me navigate through the shallowest of flats – I’m talking six, seven inches of water. You’ll get holes in these flats that are about nine feet deep, and this is where fish like to go. And normally, you’ll have no way to get out to them unless you get out of the boat and walk along the flats. But my boat can navigate through the flats. What are the biggest challenges of being a guide? Mother Nature’s probably the biggest one. The weather is always unpredictable and you can never tell what it’s going to do. Maintenance of your boat and your equipment can also be a challenge. You tend to lose a lot of rods and reels when people accidentally drop them off the side of the boat. I probably lose 10-12 rods a year just from people breaking them or dropping them overboard.