Guide Lines Interview with Jeremy Lee
Capt. Jeremy Lee was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. His passion for fishing started at a very early age while fishing with his Grandfather and Father on the shallow flats of west central Florida. After college he became a licensed full-time charter captain and hasn’t looked back since. Some of his favorite fish to target are Redfish, Snook, Seatrout, with the almighty Tarpon topping the list. On any given day you can find him doing what he does best, searching, stalking, and catching Florida’s elusive game-fish.
When did you first start fishing?
Before I could remember for sure. Probably when I was around 2 or 3.
When did you realize that fishing was your passion?
Probably in middle school. That’s when my family moved out to an area that had some golf course ponds. I would spend all day after school walking those ponds fishing. I could see the bass, which just ruined me, I couldn’t leave until I caught them. If I could see them I had to find a way to catch them, and I wasn’t going to leave until I did. Many a times my parents had to come hunt me down in the dark
What about fishing hooked you?
The nature aspect of it I think, and the anticipation of the bite. Everyone gets their kicks from different things and I get mine from fishing.
You played baseball in college and played minor league for awhile. How has that translated into your career as a guide?
It’s just the competition factor. The competition factor of being an ex “athlete”, but I played independent ball after sitting the bench in college for a year. I was by no means Derek Jeter. Regardless of whatever level you competed at, however, the competitiveness translates into anything that you do in real life. You want to be the best. Right now my life revolves around my family and fishing, and I try to be the best at what I do that way.
Also, I think I might have cut myself short back then, maybe not tried as hard as I could have to succeed, so that’s definitely translated into my life and career now.
How did you first get started as a guide?
I almost did it straight out of high school, but a family member talked me out of it, which I’m glad they did actually. I ultimately ended up working for a company, and during the mid 2000’s the company went under and my position was eliminated. After that I was sitting there with no job and a captain’s license. I decided to take the plunge and see where I landed. Thanks to a good network, a good group of guys around me, and a good family I somehow succeeded.
What was your family’s reaction when you told them that you’d be fishing for a living?
I think they were a little skeptical of it. A lot of people look at guiding as something fun, not as something that you can do for a job or to make a living. They don’t know that there are lots of different aspects to guiding, it’s not just catching fish. To be a guide you need to be able to capitalize on these different aspects.
Now, years later, my family is thrilled for me. They see what I’m doing and how much I love it and they’re happy for me.
Which MBG boat is your favorite?
Well I have two favorites. The Pathfinder 2300 HPS and the 17 HPX-s, both newer models. They’re incredible boats. You can do stuff in them that just doesn’t make sense.
Why did you decide to join the MBG family?
Alright so I had 3 maverick products before y’all even know who I was. Coming up in the industry they were always the boats that I wanted. They were always the best built boat that I had been on. The performance was incredible…for me really there wasn’t another option. If there was I probably wouldn’t have taken it. I would have wanted to work with MBG anyway.
If the conditions are right where would you fish and what would you fish for?
Lately I have been venturing off shore quite a bit. I’ve kind of caught the offshore bug, and my Pathfinder 2300 HPS allows me to do that. But primarily I think Louisiana is my favorite place to go. The redfish are really REALLY dumb there, and there’s a lot of them.
Who has been your favorite person to fish with and why?
I think my favorite person to fish with is a client of mine…. Let’s call him John. His excitement level is second to none. If it’s bad he’s loving it and having fun, if it’s great he’s loving it and having fun. It’s just a release for him, and it’s a release from his real life.
What is your favorite fishing memory?
Probably with my grandfather down in Placida catching trout and redfish at a young age. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was catching those fish consistently. Obviously looking back on it I realize how much that man really knew about the fish in that area.
What are 3 items that you can’t leave the dock without?
- Definitely sunscreen. I have a nice shaved head and going out without sunscreen doesn’t really end well for me
- Electronics, I rely on electronics a lot, they are the backbone of what I do
- My bibs, I love my bibs
Advice to other anglers?
Slow down. Slow down a little bit. The fishery has changed. There are more boats and more people on the water. The fish have adapted, they’re still catchable and there are still plenty of them but you need to slow down if you want to catch them. Slow down and try to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. It’s not a fast process anymore it takes a long time to learn it. Also I would say to do yourself a favor and hire a guide. It will shave 5 years off of your learning curve, you’d be surprised what you’ll learn
What do you think makes you a good guide?
This is an entertainment business. There’s entertainment as far as catching fish, but there’s also entertainment as far as having fun and making sure your client has fun. I think I’m a very good combination of both of those aspects of entertainment. There are a lot of guys out there who can do one or the other, but maybe not both. I think I fall into the category where I’m fun to fish with, I work hard, and I’ll put you on the fish.
What’s your most embarrassing fishing story or memory?
Well this question is actually a no brainer for me. My first charter ever was a tough one…a REALLY tough one. It was in a Maverick HPX-v, a 2003 if I’m not mistaken. We got to the dock at the end of the day and had 2 barely 15 ½” trout, barely legal to clean. The guy was obviously unhappy, he thought that we would have more fish for dinner. When I pulled one of the trout out of the livewell it slipped out of my hand and right into the water. I swear to you I almost jumped in after the thing. Once the fish was gone we were sitting on the boat, now with only 1 trout to clean. It was an awkward situation, but the guy rehired me. We ended up fishing together for a couple of years.
Anything you’d like to say before we end the interview?
I would just like to thank everyone who has helped me get here. This career is something that I have by no means done on my own. I’ve had a lot of support from family, from old-school guides in my area who walked me through and taught me the business, from MBG. Everyone needs help and I’ve had the opportunity to capitalize on the help given to me throughout the years.
To book your own charter with Captain Jeremy:
Call: (941) 993-3977
Or check out his Website