A Glimpse at Today’s Fishing Guide
By: Captain Tim Wilson
Sitting with Jot Owens is always an experience. I love to look back at my days as a charter captain in the mid-90’s when Captain Jot was then known as Little Jot and served as the mate on the iconic “Fortune Hunter” charter boat operated by Captain Jimmy Vass. It was my early days as a fishing guide and I would always try to sneak a peak at Jot’s knots and take notice of the length of his leaders and check out most everything he did in the way of rigging and fishing. Around 2000, I had the opportunity to write an article about Jot titled “The Next Generation of Fishing Guides”. It was an article about the fishing “changing of the guard” and Jot was the subject. The best part is, I got to fish with Jot all day and learned even more from this guide that was more than 20 years my junior. Now, in May of 2014 I had another opportunity to get Jot’s perspective on Bonito fishing. As a matter of fact this article was supposed to be about Bonito fishing, but think I had rather make it about Jot.
Over the years I watch and been amazed at the contribution that Jot has made to the charter fishing profession. He has lead the way to taking charter fishing to the next level with his constant commitment to new techniques and products that he is constantly experimenting with. While an all too large number of charter captains slowly lumber out the inlet for a day of Spanish Mackerel fishing, Jot and many of the more recent additions to the charter fleet make it a point to provide their customers with more than a slow boat ride and few fish. Jot and his generation have moved to areas of fishing that was rare 10 years ago with the growing popularity of light tackle fishing, expanded use of artificial baits and fishing techniques. As a result of his passionate approach, he has secured a large number of well known sponsors with names like Penn and Berkley at the top of the list. It’s always good to see the positive involvement of someone in their profession and that’s what I’ve seen with Jot. He is not alone in level of passion and professionalism. He shares the Cape Fear fishing stage with others like Captains Ricky Croson, Jim Sabella and Jamie Rushing, just to name a few. These guys not only work hard to improve the charter fishing profession, but also to keep the stream fisherman/tourist coming back for more.
So when I think of Jot Owens, I not only think for the days when he was Little Jot and the days when he starting his own guide service. I now think the Jot of today that has evolved to a skilled fishing professional with great people and marketing skills. He markets himself and the entire Cape Fear fishing industry like the pro he has become. I’m interested to see what’s next for him and the other guides and charter captains of today’s generation. I’m sure will be both pleasantly surprised and impressed.