Jay Liu and Kevin Harada
Listen, testimonials can be hard to interpret sometimes. Of course, anything that goes up on a website will speak glowingly of whoever they are reviewing. I mean, what moron puts negative reviews up on their own website? Really, anyone with two brain cells to rub together will read testimonials with an ounce of skepticism.
And yet, somehow they work. For whatever reason, when my buddy Kevin and I (who are out of towners) were trolling (haha) for a good guide to take us fishing in the Galveston bay system, we came across Paul's website. We did read the testimonials with skepticism but some things still caught our eye: he teaches, he cares, he loves God and nature...things that go beyond the usual: he catches fish (which is a minimum requirement in our eyes).
So we booked with him in the hopes that some of those things were true.
Its now been 4 trips later and we think we are in a good place to provide some fairly specific feedback on our experiences with Capt Paul. You should know that we are enthusiastic fishermen, but aren't gonna win any fishing contests..... like ever. So keep that perspective in mind for what we will say next.
From what we can gather, just about any fool can catch specks and reds in the Galveston bay system when the conditions are right and the fish are biting. The proof is in the pudding when the conditions are tough and the fishermen doing the fishing suck. That is where we come from: Of our 4 trips, two of them occurred under optimal conditions and appropriately, we put 40 and 25 fish in the boat and missed many more (thus the fishermen who suck appellation). The next two trips, the conditions were tough, it was winter time, windy, choppy, the water was dirty in places and hardly anyone was on the water. Capt Paul still managed to put us on fish including a couple of actual trophy trout (7lb and 8lb, at least 25-27 inches each).
On all four trips he went out of his way to teach....actually teach us to better get at the fish. His advice was sound, specific, delivered in a non-threatening but definitive manner, and most importantly, it worked. The other thing that stood out about Capt Paul was that he seems genuinely enthusiastic when his clients catch fish. I'm pretty sure he was almost as excited as I was on that last 8 pound lunker. That's a tall order when you've run 270 trips a year for the last 30 years. In fact, when asked whether he fishes for himself anymore, he responded that at this point in his career, helping enthusiastic fishermen catch fish gives him more pleasure than catching them himself. That is certainly something you want out of a fishing guide.
Finally, you want dedication from the your guide. Our example of this was that despite a bad back that doesn't allow him to sit for very long and occasionally numbs his legs, he drove miles out of his way to find us live bait in order to help us have the best possible fishing experience.
You can't catch fish all the time (insert fishing/catching platitude here), but you can still make the fishing experience enjoyable. That is exactly what Capt Paul provides: the confidence that you are in the best possible position to catch fish if they want to be caught, the genuine enjoyment of nature, the enthusiasm for his clients, and the ability to teach even the worst of us how to catch fish.
Thanks Capt Paul, as always it was a memorable trip. We will be back as long you are on the water and possibly even after to try to lure you out of retirement.
Jay Liu and Kevin Harada