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Daytona Beach News Journal Q & A With Capt. Chris Herrera


Chris Herrera, 35, has spent most of his life fishing the waters of Flagler County and Palm Coast. He has been a licensed guide and captain for eight years and co-owns Captain’s BBQ, Bait & Tackle at Bings Landing in Palm Coast. We asked him five questions about his profession.

I have never seen the combination of a tackle shop and barbecue restaurant. Was that your idea?

‘‘No, it wasn’t. In order to be in this building, we had to have a tackle shop and we can’t compete with the big box stores on tackle prices. We compromised with Flagler County.

We said, ‘Let us run a restaurant and a tackle shop, so you get a two-for­one deal.’ Selling tackle does not pay bills. Without the restaurant, I would be on the street.’’ So, you are three-in-one. You own a tackle shop, a restaurant and you’re also a guide. The question is, do you ever sleep?

‘‘I’m up by 4:45 a.m. and on the water by 6:30 a.m. and home by noon and get the boat cleaned up for the next charter, shower then come to work at the restaurant until 9 p.m.

That’s my schedule every day.’’ Have you always enjoyed fishing?

‘‘Oh yeah, from Day 1, that’s one of my first memories as a child, was fishing when I was four years old. I lived in New Jersey then. We’d fish for brim and catfish in lakes around the house. When I moved to Florida, the first thing I did was grab my fishing pole and went fishing. We did an 18-hour drive and I had to get out and stretch my legs. What a better way than to go fishing.’’ What is the secret to catching a nice fish in the Matanzas River?

‘‘The secret is you got to put your time out on the water. Once you figure out fish patterns, it’s easy. You will know where the fish are at 90 percent of the time. That 10 percent involves the variables, such as low tides, high tides, weather, rain.

Those can throw the bite off. We know the seasons, the holes they like, the baits they like; it just comes from experience. I’ve been a guide for eight years, but I have fished from St. Augustine to Tomoka for the last 22 years.’’ OK, you are not digging holes, pounding nails or pouring concrete, so being a fishing guide must be a glamour job, right?

‘‘If you do this, you can’t do it as a part-time job. You’re doing this as a professional and putting people on fish day in and day out. There is pressure involved, but the longer you do it, the less pressure you feel, because you get to be 100 percent confident in yourself. I guess it is a glamorous job, but there’s pressure if you’re not on your ‘A’ game 24/7.

People don’t like paying $350 for a boat ride.’’

— Godwin Kelly