Arizona Fishing Guides – Ron Johnson
About 4 years ago I called the Arizona Fishing Guides to get out and try and get on some monster bass, the next week I was taking my first of many trips with Ron Johnson. Ron and I went to Saguaro pretty much every time and every time we caught fish and had a great time. After many trips with Ron, it was those experiences that made me pull the trigger on getting my own boat this past year and start to fish local tournaments. Ron has become a good friend and a great mentor and I give him a lot of credit for what I have learned over the past few years. I spoke with Ron to give you all some insight into his life as a professional fisherman and a guide for The Arizona Fishing Guides.
Q: How old were you when you started fishing and what got you hooked?
A: My father took me fishing when I was about 4 years old which I don’t remember but that’s when I started. When I was 6 years old my Dad and Uncle took me fishing for panfish. I am pretty sure they were really small by today’s standards, but at the time for me I thought they were huge. I was mesmerized by watching the bobber go under the water and reeling in these giant panfish. In between catching fish I would sit on the floor of the aluminum boat going through their tackle boxes playing with all the different lures. From that point on I was captivated and consumed by fishing and all I wanted to do was go fishing anytime someone would take me. Look what happened. haha
Q: When did you decide that fishing was going to be a career for you?
A: Fishing has always been a huge part of my life but deciding you want it to be a career and making it a career are 2 different things. It was 2008 when I knew I could make it a full time career and made the jump.
Q: How long did it take for you to develop the skill level you were comfortable competing/guiding and what do you attribute most of your success with?
A: Your skills and knowledge are always developing in this sport. The confidence has always been there to catch fish because it was something I have always done since I was a kid. When I was in my teens I entered into some Wisconsin tournaments and began to win which helped me not only see I could compete but also win against older guys who have been doing it for years. I started to Guide because I love the educational part of teaching other people how to fish, and I still get excited to this day watching people catch fish! Success comes from the true passion and love for the sport, and the constant pursuit of always trying to get better.
Q: You stay extremely busy with guiding and traveling across the country to fish the Bassmaster Opens. What is the one Open you look forward to the most and why?
A: There are so many Opens I look forward to fishing so it’s hard to pick one. You would think it would be the ones that I have most success on, but not the case. Lake Champlain and Oneida in New York are always favorites because I love to chase smallmouth…and they are pretty scenic too. With that being said, I can’t wait to get back to the fisheries where I didn’t place well because I want another opportunity to figure them out and do better. That’s the part that drives me in the first place and why I love this sport.
Q: What has been your most memorable experience fishing the Bassmaster opens?
A: To be surrounded by a fraternity of people who love the sport as much as you do is pretty cool. I have made some awesome friends along the way, and some of the most memorable experiences are just hanging with they guys off the water, or driving across the country seeing places most never have opportunity to see. I have learned to appreciate everyday and not take anything for granted.
Q: A lot of people say if you can figure out the bass in Arizona you can catch them anywhere, do you find that to be true?
A: First…Who are these people? I can tell you that if you learn to catch bass in Arizona it will no doubt make you a better angler, I know it has helped me. If you think because you can catch fish in Arizona your going to catch them everywhere, then you still have a lot to learn.
Q: What have you found to be the most rewarding part of your career fishing whether it be tournaments or guiding?
A: The fact that I get to do anything that enables me to have fishing in my daily life is the most rewarding. In order to have success in anything you must be all in 100% and have a passion for what it is your doing. The reality is a career in fishing will have its up and downs filled with hard work, but if you put everything into it because you love it things tend to work out.
Q: What has been the most difficult?
A: There are 2 things I find most difficult. 1) The business side of fishing and sponsorships. It’s a constant struggle and a lot of hard work to find or keep sponsors year to year. There is a lot to juggle each year in order to keep moving forward in fishing and this is probably the most stressful. The industry is always changing and companies are always changing their marketing strategies. 2) Winning at the Bassmaster Open Level is incredibly tough. These guys are so darn good and the field is stacked with the best of the best. There is such a small window for error, and one lost fish or bad decision can be the difference from taking home a check or finishing in 100th place. You have to learn from your mistakes, and get over them quickly but use it as a motivator to improve.
Q: How long have you been a guide for the Arizona Fishing Guides?
A: I have been guiding for the Arizona Fishing Guides now for 5 years.
Q: What is the best day you have had has a guide ?
A: There are so many days where I can think of big fish or numbers of fish being caught, but when somebody tells me they had the best time ever and look forward to coming back again…. those are the best days and that means I did my job as a guide.
Q: If you were to have one lake and one set up to throw all day what would it be?
A: In Arizona- has to be Saguaro Lake because I have caught so many trophy fish out of this lake. The drop shot would be my go to if I could only have one set up due to its versatility and you can use it all year long.
Q: What would your advice be to anyone wanting to get into the same field as you?
A: Do it because you love it and not because of any other reason. It is a very tough career choice to pursue which is why the success rate of those who break thru is not very high. Don’t get me wrong its very rewarding, but not for everyone. Most young kids or even adults think all you do is fish, which could not be further from the truth. Be prepared to put in more hours and work harder at this more than anything else you have ever done. It’s a 7 day a week career choice. There are no guaranteed paychecks, health benefits, or company retirement plans here. You will spend a lot of time on the road living out of hotels, campgrounds or truck stop in the back of your vehicle. There may be weeks or months you don’t see your family or friends due to a vigorous tournament or sponsor schedule. Lastly, I would encourage any young person who is looking to pursue a long term career in fishing to go get a good education which includes a marketing or business degree. This will help prepare you for the business side of fishing which you will need for long term success in this sport, and give you a head start when approaching sponsors.
Rons service inspired me to move forward with my vision of starting a fishing brand and a guide service with FishIn48. Thanks Ron, for always showing me a good time. If you would like to book a trip please check us out our Arizona Fishing Charters.