2013 Starts My 19th Season

By Steve Welch


I put 25 years in at a factory and then without reason it moved to Mexico, sound familiar. Along the way I started a fishing guide business and for several years I did it part time weekends and use most of my vacation. Then in 2009 I told (asked) my wife I am going to make this guide thing a full time gig. I think I have the customer base since I have turned away customers for years. I just didnÕt have the time off from my other jobs. That first year I went from doing about 75-100 trips part time to 193 fulltime or nearly doubled and since then I have been doing about 230 to 250 trips annually and have added two more part time guides as well. So I was right in that respect the work is there if you produce and give your customers a great adventure they will never forget.


We now offer tutorials on electronics given by my second guide boat Alan Corzine. He is by far the most knowledgeable Lowrance HDS instructor that I have seen anywhere. I know quite a bit as well but he blows me away. I do get to look at the best electronics on the market every day and I can show you some of the best screen shots you will ever see. I have four systems on my boat as does he and they are all networked with side imaging and down scan on both the front and rear of the boat along with GPS. Believe me they are a critical part of our fishing business.


After 18 years of guiding in a bass boat I made a huge change for 2013. I switched to a twenty-foot Yar-Craft 2095BTX tiller boat. This boat has a 200HP Mercury four-stroke tiller with power steering. I did this for my older clients and for all the young children I have in the boat every year. With the tiller and no console there is just so much more fishing room and a lot more space down in the boat to fish from.


I canÕt say enough nice things about the way the folks at Bass Cat/ Yar-Craft have treated me as well as Dupo Marine. I picked up my new boat early March from the factory and was met at the front door by none other than Rick Pierce owner of Bass Cat/ Yar-Craft. We talked for a good twenty minutes about how much he liked the back troller. The boat I got was actually his boat and he fished from it on Bull Shoals for the last few months when he had time and believe me this boat isnÕt hurt. Cool thing about this boat is for the 2013 catalog the picture of the 2095BTX is actually now my boat.


I have rigged it like I want it and for me that means Lowrance HDS units and plenty of them. I have two big Lowrance HDS ten-inch units side by side back at the command center for me the driver to see. That way I can use one for side imaging and down scan and the other for 2-d sonar and GPS split or since Lowrance HDS units all do the same thing I can configure them any way I want. On the front I have a Lowrance HDS eight and a Lowrance HDS seven mounted right under it. That way I can watch down scan and 2-d sonar split on one screen and GPS on my seven on a full screen.


While at the factory I was able to meet the rigging crew and spoke with them about my plans to add more pedestals up on my front deck to allow me to better crappie fish with my clients and to better rig it to tourney fish with my partner. Plus on how many wires I needed to run to get all these Lowrance units up and running. Rick Pierce even through in some valuable info on how to get the rigging done. Piece of cake to rig this boat.


Since I do some big tourneys and on my summer guide trips we use a ton of live bait. We put in an onboard aeration system for my minnow tank to run it through the boat batteries instead of using d-cell batteries. We also put in an onboard oxygen system equipped with a twenty-pound oxygen tank for my live well and minnow tank. If you give your bait and tourney fish a slow drip of oxygen along with aeration you can keep them indefinitely. This will allow me to stretch minnows life for several days. Since we go through about fifteen to twenty dozen a day during the summer months.


This boat will change some folks way of looking at tillers and will be a very comfortable way to fish and since this boat is used to four-foot waves and built for big water I canÕt wait to see how it will take a big cabin cruiser wave. You might even see me doing some trolling since the big Mercury has a smart gauge system that allows me to lower my idling RPMÕs so this boat will troll down to one MPH without the need for a kicker. I hope to be able to see more of this boat in Illinois. They donÕt need to ship all of them to Minnesota and I believe it is the best back troller on the market. So look for me setting way in the back and donÕt be afraid to ask for a demo ride and you will come away presently surprised as I was.