Wrightsville Beach’s Fishing Icon…..Captain Lee Parsons
Not long after starting my charter fishing business in 1996, I met Captain Lee Parsons. His weathered face and long beard was somewhat intimidating to the newest fishing guide in Wrightsville Beach. He had a demeanor that was both serious, but also kind. Both his appearance and that demeanor told me he was a man that was passionate about his craft and his role as a fishing guide. Over the next few years Captain Lee without knowing it would teach me much about fishing. More importantly, Lee would teach me far more about my responsibility as a fisherman and a fishing guide. On an April day in particular I was fishing for Bonito just out of Masonboro Inlet when I spotted a pod of bait breaking the surface which could only mean Bonito were chasing them. I sped up and ran right up to the bait ball at high speed and began casting when a calm voice came over the VHF radio. It was Captain Lee instructing me to slow down and not to “run and gun” to the bait balls. It was a mistake of an inexperienced captain and one that I never made again. While it was somewhat embarrassing, it proved to be a lesson well learned and one that I never forgot. Most of all, I appreciated it. It was like many of the lessons I learned from Lee. Most were learned by the example he set as a professional and true lover and protector of the outdoors.
Lee Parsons was born in the summer of 1952 and started fishing at age 3 when he caught his first Flounder. At age 12 he cast his first fly into the saltwater. From then on he was hooked on fly fishing life! He was born on Wrightsville Beach and then his family moved to Hewlett’s Creek in Wilmington, NC. where he lives today. He received his Captains license in 1996 and started Gottafly Guide Service. He now guides about 150 to 200 days a year. When he is not guiding you will find him doing; seminars, lectures, tackle schools, fishing schools, boat shows or on the water finding or perfecting new fisheries. Along with all that, he is also an amateur photographer and writes for fishing magazines. His fishing wealth of knowledge is limitless and based on his many years with a rod in his hand.
Quote by Captain Lee: “I started Gottafly Guide Service because of my love for fishing and seeing the fun & pleasure that the people who are on my boat take with them, especially the kids. There is nothing better than to hear a kid scream and to take a picture of them when they have a fish on the other end of the line!”
Over the years Lee has been instrumental and has worked to give back to the Carolina fishing community in many ways. One of the most visible is seen by his participation and support of the Eddie Haneman Sailfish Tournament held every year in Wrightsville Beach, NC. The event honors the late Eddie Haneman, a well known charter captain that played a key role in the development of charter fishing in the Wrightsville Beach area. The tournament proceeds go to area families in need. A worthy cause that like Captain Lee, brings out the best in people.
Over the years I’ve made sure to keep in touch with Captain Lee with my many requests for fishing seminars, webinars and other favors. He’s never let me down. This again represents his continuous effort to give back to the fishing community. In closing, I just want to say thanks Lee for the contribution you’ve made to Coastal Carolina fishing. You’re Fisherman’s Fisherman.
Story By: Captain Tim Wilson, Editor and Chief