Chuck Naiser has been called the godfather of fly fishing guides on the Texas coast. His friend, David Sikes, has been the outdoor writer for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times for more than 20 years and has been chronicling Chuck’s efforts. Listen in on a conversation with these two experts on the Texas coast in our latest podcast.
What’s a day in the life of Chuck Naiser like?
I’ve been guiding on the Texas coast since 1992, and every day is different and is affected by whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. Here in Rockport, Hurricane Harvey has altered everyone’s schedule. I’ve spent a lot of time since the storm assisting folks around here who need a helping hand. I’ve also started an organization called FlatsWorthy to protect the precious natural resources we all cherish. Our goal is to influence coastal behavior without involving legislative change. It’s about coastal etiquette among fishermen and respect for the resource.
You must have thousands of stories to tell about your experiences. If you had to pick one story to tell that sums up your experience, what would it be?
This story dates back 23 years, and it is still with me. I had a longtime client with a wonderful wife who fished with me often. One day he called to tell me that his wife was dying. He wanted to take her on one last fishing trip. It was winter time, and there was just one day they could make the trip. We left the boat ramp, but the fog got so bad that I had to stop. I thought the day was going to be a bust. But finally, the fog lifted. And when we got to the spot I had in mind, there was bright, beautiful sunlight. It was right before a norther was due, and I’ve never seen speckled trout jump out of the water like that. It was a celebration! There’s no doubt in my mind that God sent that day for her. She died shortly after that, and I will never forget her or that wonderful day.
How has your lifelong experience as a fishing guide on the coast impacted your conservation ethic?
People who fish with you ask questions, and you want to give them the right answer. Initially when I started guiding, we never fished from a boat, we walked. I fished seven days a week back then, so that was a lot of walking in the environment. And as you walk, you transcend from a visitor to a resident and become part of the environment. You cannot do that without expanding your appreciation of the entire environment and everything that is part of it.
Why should Texans care about conserving Texas’ lands, waters and wildlife?
I think Texans need to understand that what they have access to on the coast is a paradise of outdoor life. Everyone’s presence has the potential to alter the environment, and while change is inevitable, man’s intrusion should not have a negative impact on it. It should be used in a manner that when you leave it, it looks just like it was. That’s the conservation ethic FlatsWorthy promotes.
What do you want Texans to know about how the region is recovering from Harvey?
Every day is getting better. The water has been cleared of debris, and the fishing is great. Rockport is recovering, too, and it is a great time to come fishing with us. We need you. No doubt, Harvey was a life-altering event, but Mother Nature will recover. She always does.