SOUTH PADRES ISLAND, Texas – Business is starting to pick up again for fishing guides in the Rio Grande Valley despite restrictions.
For fishing guides, business slowed down once the shelter in place order was issued in March.
“It was tough down here for the whole month of April,” said Captain Dave Edwards, owner of Always A Catch SPI Fishing Trips.
“Primarily our customers are from out of town, so anybody who didn’t have residency couldn’t get to the Island,” said Captain Hector Torres Jr., a fishing guide at Parrot Eyes. “They get checked at Port Isabel and they get checked coming out the bridge, so pretty much anyone who lived here probably could fish, but as far as taking people from out of town it wasn’t allowed.”
However, the guides found ways to survive.
“I did have my local clientele that I’d call,” said Captain Mark Guillot, who is also a fishing guide at Parrot Eyes. “They supported me, that’s how I got through.”
“I had savings being a guide down here. We do have some slow seasons, but usually November going into December is a little slower for me. I kind of saved up a little bit of money to get me through the summer and the rest of the year,” said Edwards.
While they couldn’t fish at the peak of the pandemic, things are different now.
But even with restrictions as Texas reopens, business is finally picking up.
“Business is booming, everything is back to almost normal now, we’re fishing everyday sometimes twice a day,” said Guillot.
“Around May 1 the island just picked up as soon as rentals started, it was like an early start of the summer for us down here and it’s been fantastic,” said Edwards.