Guide Chris Tetrick hardly remembers not fishing, since as a local Ozarks boy, his father started taking him at age three.
"He had me running the trolling motor and loading the boat by the time I was 9," he reports on his website, Mid L:akes Guide Service. "Until I got out on my own pretty much every weekend we'd be fishing somewhere and still do a lot of fishing together. Growing up I also spent a lot of time fishing with my Grandparents and Uncle when I'd go visit. They'd take me to Norfork or Bull Shoals Lake or floating down a river fishing for Smallmouth."
Tetrick, now 33, bought his first boat at age 18 -- a 16-foot Bass Cat with a 75 horsepower Mercury motor. "Nothing seemed greater in the world to me than being able to drive to a boat ramp, put my by boat in and fish where I wanted to."
Now his has found sharing those outdoor memories with clients the last decade has made fishing even more enjoyable.
Although most of his clients come from the Midwest, he has had a variety of clients, and even entertained some international anglers from as far away as New Zealand, plus some sports writers from Spain. Some of his returning clients include a group of Canadian bass fishermen.
"They tickle me because they think this is the deep south, and they love to hear me talk. We first met up for breakfast and I ordered biscuits and gravy. They had never seen it before and thought it was from another planet."
Now, Tetrick said, they are hooked on the country staple, as well as the great bass fishing on Table Rock.
Despite the heat ahead for July and August, Tetrick is not worried about putting his clients onto the fish. "It's up to the clients,' he said, "but I have been starting aboutto beat the heat (on Table Rock Lake.) Of course, I love fishing Lake Taneycomo this time of year, just getting out early and enjoying the cool lake air -- and great trout fishing."
Tetrick did landscape work for five or six years before acquiring his U.S. Coast Guard License in 2003. He had observed many of his guide friends manage successfully and still enjoys fishing with them on the side. Tetrick estimates he is on the lakes 200 days a year keeping up with the techniques, seasonal patterns, structure, depth, and lures required to catch fish from both Table Rock and Taneycomo.
"Coming from a fishing background has really helped me stay concentrated on and appreciate the sport," he said.
Although Tetrick fishes an occasional tournament in the off-season and sometimes writes articles on fishing techniques for online sites, most of his time is devoted to guiding. In the spring and fall, he generally takes more full-day trips with one to two clients (and occasionally a third), booking more guides for larger groups.
"This time of year, everyone want to do half days because most vacationers have other activites they want to get to." That means for a Table Rock trip, they end aboutor so for LakeTaneycomo.
"With more kids in the summertime, Lake Taneycomo works out great," Tetrick said, "because it's just more action with the trout to keep them entertained the whole trip -- and they can keep their fish if they want to."