A Guiding Light: Enhancing Your Experience on the Water - The Bend Magazine

A Guiding Light: Enhancing Your Experience on the Water

Why you should book a guide or charter service for your next fishing adventure.

Photo: Laurie Lyng, featuring Dirty 3rd Fishing

If you’re looking for a first-class fishing experience, the Coastal Bend offers hundreds of fishing guides with various specialties. No matter your expertise, fishing guides are an added advantage to any fishing experience if you want to learn about the fish you catch, tactics and much more. All you need is a fishing license, sun protection and a good pair of polarized sunglasses, leaving the rest to the guides. Depending on the type of fishing you’re looking to do, guides tailor the experience so you can maximize the enjoyment of your time on the water. 

Captain Marcus “Doc” Haralson is the owner and operator of Doc’s Fishing Clinic and Guide Service. He serves as a full-time professional fishing guide specializing in year-round fly and light tackle fishing trips in Corpus Christi and Port Aransas. 

Doc describes fly fishing as a tranquil and intimate experience that requires patience. However, fly fishing in the Coastal Bend is slightly different than most places. With the added factor of wind, fly fishing can be challenging and intimidating to anglers as it requires a certain technique. That’s where the benefit of a guide comes in. 

“It cuts down the learning curve a substantial amount. We’re able to help you with your casting, critique you and work with you to get you dialed in better and more efficiently that way. I’d say it’s more technique. It’s like golf,” said Haralson. Whether it’s a family-friendly fishing adventure, slow-paced fishing immersed in an appreciation of nature or an adrenaline rush while reeling in a big catch, considering which type of fishing you’d like can narrow your guide or charter search. 

One fast-growing popular type is shark fishing. Texas is known for big shark fishing, and while the practice has been iconic in Texas since the ’60s, the mentality of shark anglers has evolved to a conservation mindset. Eric Ozolins of Ocean Epics Fishing Charters has been shark fishing for more than 20 years. As the only licensed shark fishing guide in South Texas, Ozolins focuses his charter experience on education when taking people fishing. 

“I’m a guide in the surf, the vast majority of my fishing is from the surf, and it’s all land-based,” he said. “Most of my [guiding] is done at Padre Island National Seashore. I mainly target sharks and big game. I do a lot of cooperative research with the Harte Research Institute, so I do a lot of tagging and releasing of all the various sharks I catch. My charters display more of an educational aspect, whether it’s kids or people who do it all the time; I do more teaching, educating [about] the resources, what we have around here and just the general fishery.”

While every guide service is unique to a fishing specialty, an excellent fishing experience leaves you with new things learned, laughs and stories to share. Whichever type of adventure you choose, using a fishing guide will leave you with an enriched experience.