CAPT. TIM WHITFIELD
Becoming a seasoned guide takes time. There are many situations and experiences that add to the seasoning of a guide. Good days, bad days and the days you ask yourself, is this really what I want to do with my life? For me the answer has been yes, even in the years before I got my license. I am, by nature an outdoorsman.
This industry has many avenues and with the advent of social media it has changed the public complexion of what a seasoned guide is. That leaves a guide like me not having many sponsors and/or pro-staff allocations by choice. Its just too easy to fake it all on social media in this era. Meanwhile the overly saturated market of part time guides eat up the spots for pro-staff opportunities that I feel guides like me have earned.
I have found more effective ways to get products noticed on social media and how I do it isn’t watered down, features the product and is effective.
I have done real time field testing of rods, reels, nets, and more for several companies over the years and currently work with Blazer Bay and West Coast Marine to constantly improve the Product I stand behind. For a company like yours the value of honest feedback ( not what you might want to hear ) of products tested can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
- Inshore fishing live / artificial baits
- Presentations and Public Speaking (Seminars)
- Radio show host (not currently)
- Product Design
- Get new business and retain clients for years and even decades through multiple generations
- Social Media (different but successful)
- Good with people in all walks of life
- Understanding of the industry
- Training and coaching
- Product testing Barracuda, Okuma, Deep South, Jensen Rods,
- Filmed segments with Mark Wilson of fox 13 news in the past and recently. links will be added as they become available Special Forces event covered by Fox 13
Full Time Charter Captain in Tampa Bay averaging 275-300 paid trips per year / Swift Fish Charters – Tampa, FL
07/2005 – Current
- A true full time fishing guide based in South Tampa. I’ve been effective at growing my business and over time I have become the go to inshore fishing guide in South Tampa. With currently 115 5 star reviews
- One of the very few guides in Tampa Bay offering live bait and artificial baits as options to my clients.
- Currently running a Blazer Bay 2420 GTS for live bait and a Ranger Banshee 17 for back country artificial trips (my passion)
- Worked with Barracuda Tackle co on the design on the “flats net” it has become their best selling cast net. Please Read
- Worked with 13 fishing on several rod concepts including the now defunct hellbent from no8 tackle CO
- Fished the Extreme Redfish Series Tampa division from 2006-2011 Several top 3 finishes, 4 wins, Tampa Division points leader and finshed 2nd in the team of the year fishing with y 14 year old son in 2010. Mike Blocker is the tournament director
- Tamco tournament 2012 largest slam 86 guided boats competed
- Largest snook in the Pediatric cancer foundation tournament in 2017 85 guided boats
- Currently networking with a small group of guides in South Tampa to keep our business’ thriving.
- Hosted Slot Limit Radio on 860 and 1380 am from 2009-2014
- Highly ranked in Maps and organically on google with 115 5 star reviews from real clients.
- Run an efficient profitable small business
Florida Fantasy Fishing Camp
I felt the camp deserved a place of its own here. I’ve been. guide at the FFFC since its inception 8 years ago. Camps are located at Hula Bay in south Tampa and USF campus in St Petersburg fl. The ages of the kids are 7-16 years old. The guides fish groups of 4 from 9-1 each day. Running the risk sounding egotistical here but these kids want and use what ever we have, clothes, gear, etc. Its really a great opportunity for a guide like myself to be able to tech the next generation not just how to fish but how to respect other boaters, guides and the environment, as well as respecting the fish we chase and how to work an area effectively. Parker Rabow is the camp owner/ director. I currently run 11 weeks straight with kids from very affluent families with disposable income.
Tampa times 11th and 18th of every month i write 200-300 words for the captains corner located in the sports section
Onshore Offshore Magazin – Tarpon Springs, FL
03/2006 – 12/2018
Monthly contributor consisting of writing how to articles, creative stories of past fishing adventures, non fictional stories
Before I go into pro staff i would like to give my perspective as a full time guide. I’ve been a part of pro-staff and guide programs in the past. Over the last 4-5 years I have slowly whittled down to a select few that i feel are mutually beneficial.
The current pro-staff/ guide programs are awash with anyone willing to hashtag the product and get 10-20% off and some give 40%. Many of these guides have little or nothing to offer in return. Personally I won’t work with any company l that I don’t feel has anything to offer my business or if I don’t have feel I have anything to offer their business. The following companies I consider pro staffed with some are unorthodox but it works.
West Coast Marine/ Blazer Bay
Tampa, FL 01/2019 – Current
Provide leads for service and sales. Drive boats on Demo Days. at Hula BayTransporting boats for Boat shows. Detailing boats for shows and delivery. Worked as a driver Blazer Bay and west cost marine for promotional video and photographs see blazerboats.com. Promote the dealership and their Brand Blazer Bay in a professional manner at all times.I have a great working relationship with these companies.
Ive been part of their program since 2005 and got my first one in 1999 when the company first opened. They have a great customers service department. Their dedication to their customers is what I strive for in all my business relationships. I prefer the business/personal feel when working with any company.
Gandy Bait and Tackle
while not a typical company to be pro staffed with I have. Great relationship with the owner Bill and his son Zack. I currently buy most all of my rod and reel combos from them and they refer charters my way. I am one of only a couple of guides they refer
again another non typical company to have a pro-staff but this company has a true family feel. They have helped me and floated me when I didn’t have the money to float myself as a guide trying to survive. I am grateful to have these guys on my side.
Being a full time guide it’s important to have these kinds of relationships. The guide community especially the full time established guides need these kinds of relationships to keep their business rolling.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Adams Marine Seminars – Tampa
High School diploma , some college
WEBSITES, Google page with reviews
- Google Page and reviews
- Mike Blocker Owner / Director Extreme Redfish series, extreme fishing series c 813-996-0601
- Parker Rabow Florida Fantasy Fishing Camp c 813-244-4682
- Mike Mahoney owner TA Mahoneys Shop: 813-241-6500 c 813-239-6001
- Bill Johnson Owner Gandy Bait and Tackle Shop 813-839-5551
- Justin Laforo Owner West Coast Marine office 813-373-6137 c 813-406-9722
- Branden Franklin Vice President Power Pole office 813-689-9932 c 813-625-4255
- Scott Scarboro Rep for Blazer Boats c 813-446-5199
- Keith Craft owner Blazer Boats shop
- Bret Gamrot former owner of Onshore Offshore magazine c 727-647-2524
- Jose Chavez former head of Pro-staff 13 fishing (currently with savage gear)c 813-508-2522
- Burton young owner Barracuda cast nets c 727-218-0172