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Carroll Outdoors: A good guide will never let you down

I strongly urge most casual anglers to make use of a professional fishing guide at every opportunity.

This thought was brought sharply back into focus when I received a nice email from a long-time friend and pro guide, Dale Knupp, who I have bass fished with on the tidal Potomac for close to 20 years.

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Prior to finding Dale, I fished the same areas with Richie Gaines, who now specializes in light tackle striped bass fishing on the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding areas.

A good guide will put you onto fish and is a source of incredible amounts of useful, "hands-on" information. I'm currently retired, but for a great many years I juggled a full-time job with one to four weekly newspaper columns. In short, my time became very valuable and when I went fishing (or hunting), I needed current information about where to go and what methods were working at the time.

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The guides never let me down. Regrettably, some of them have passed away or moved on. The late Duke Nohe, in my experiences was the single best choice for learning the local reservoirs, especially Prettyboy. Dale is looking forward to retiring and is planning on moving to South Carolina. I trust him so much that I will gladly invest the time and driving distance when he gets settled just to spend another day on the water with him.

When Dale does move out of the area, I'll be lining up trips with his friend, Andy Andrzejewski, who just might know the tidal Potomac better than all of the current guides. Andy, for instance, introduced me to Senko worming before they became popular while Dale put me onto the effectiveness of the Mann Minus 1 crankbaits for the often shallow, weed-choked brackish Potomac, along with dozens of other gold nuggets of information that I have passed on to you in my columns.

I also enjoyed a number of days on the Pennsylvania portions of the Susquehanna when sharing a boat with Steve King, who has also moved out of the area. One morning when fishing with him and my son-in-law, David Navarre, we caught and released close to 200 smallmouth bass - more than many catch in a lifetime.

A couple of weeks later we fished another area, farther up river, and repeated the experience!

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There are lots of great chartboat captains who work the Chesapeake, but when I really need a great "Bay story" I call Captain Gordon Haegerich, who fishes out of Kentmoor Marina, on Kent Island. He is also just super with youngsters.Finding a great guide on your own is not difficult. Inquire at any local tackle shop located in the area you want to fish and you can get a couple of good leads.

I know a well-known writer who claims marginal luck when using a guide, but I happen to know that this same fellow considers himself to be the know-all; end all authority on all types of fishing and refuses to follow the advice of his guides.

When I climb into one of their boats I make it clear that I'm there to learn all I can from them and that though I may be the "sport," they are the boss in all matters pertaining to the day's fishing, including when it's time to get off the water.

My system works because I would not have been on these pages for close to 25 years if my columns read, "I went fishing this week, but didn't catch a thing and didn't have a clue as to the area I was in!"

Try one of these fellows this summer and turn over a new chapter in your outdoor experiences:

-Andy Andrejewski 301-839-2858 (tidal Potomac largemouth bass in the Charles County area)

-Karl Bunch 410-459-7445 (Upper Bay bass and Conwingo Lake)

-Capt. Sean Crawford 410-490-5942 (fly fishing and light tackle on the Bay and its tributaries out of Kent Narrows)

-Capt. Eddie Davis 301-872-5971 (lower Bay out of Pt Lookout area)

-Capt. Alan Faulkner 410-745-3160 (middle Bay out of Tilghman Island)

-Capt. Richie Gaines 410-827-7210 (Bay area light tackle and fly fishing out of Kent Narrows)

-Capt. Gordon Haegerich 410-255-5792 (middle Bay out of Kent Isl.)

-Harrison's Country Inn 410-886-2121 (middle Bay out of Tilghman Island

-Dale Knupp 301-653-5520 (tidal Potomac bass in Charles County area)

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