The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 8 - November 24, 2010

reel time

Guiding principles from the pros

From the November 17Guiding principles from the pros, 2010 Issue
Reel time

Kimberly Ross holds a black grouper she caught
while fishing Tampa Bay with Captain Mike Greig.

I've mentioned fishing guides on many occasions in these articles. If it weren't for the graciousness of guides, much of what I write about wouldn't be possible. Over the years I've learned invaluable lessons from fishing guides and been taken to places where I've had the opportunity to get stories and images that have become lasting memories and won me awards. My number one admonition to anglers that have the good sense and good fortune to spend a day on the water with a guide has always been, "Listen to the guide." I don't care how experienced an angler you are, you will never have the local knowledge of a professional that spends up to 250 days a year on the water.

You might have the illusion that fishing for a living is an easy and enviable profession, but experience has shown me that it's one of the most demanding jobs you could imagine. It also happens to be one of the most rewarding. This past week my friends Kim Ross and Michael Riter, of Ross Riter Marketing (, called me to tell me about their experiences with an Anna Maria guide, Captain Mike Greig. They were excited about a morning experience that they found exhilarating and one that left them with a great fish dinner.

The two self-avowed rookie anglers fished with Greig in Tampa Bay just east of Egmont Key. The plan had been to search for grouper in the Gulf, where action has been hot this winter. When they left the Kingfish Boat Ramp on Manatee Avenue and headed to the Gulf, it looked flat and calm. Experience told the guide that while the beach was calm, the offshore waters where the grouper thrived would be bumpy and uncomfortable for inexperienced anglers. The conditions didn't deter Greig because local knowledge made him aware that they could have good action and a much more comfortable day fishing structure in Tampa Bay. Leaving the ramp, Greig turned the Sally D. north towards Egmont Key. In Riter's own words, the suggestion to fish Tampa Bay was "good advice." The anglers landed 30 grouper in four hours, releasing 29 and bringing one home for dinner.

Greig has 35 years experience fishing the waters surrounding Longboat Key, Anna Maria Island and Tampa Bay.

According to Riter, "He’s a big guy with a warm, friendly smile, a firm, weathered handshake, a quick sense of humor and an infectious laugh. He also has the patience of a saint, which quickly became obvious as we lost an untold number of hooks, leader and weights." Greig started his day well before he met Ross and Riter and had filled his live well with pilchards and pinfish.

The run from the ramp to the structure in the middle of Tampa Bay on a cool and breezy morning was comfortable in Greig's 24-foot Robin. The nine-foot beam made for a stable ride, while a bimini kept his clients dry and out of the chilling breeze. Both Riter and Ross commented on how they could see in his eyes that Greig loved his job and how astute he was watching for telltale signs of a nibble.

"He knows before his anglers when a strike is imminent" says Ross. “Get ready,” he warns with an encouraging smile, “big one down there.” Then the bite and he booms, “Tip up, reel down! Tip up, reel down. Keep him out of the rocks.” The couple agreed that fishing with Greig was, " a pleasure and money well spent. We're glad we hired a professional fishing guide who really knows his business."

Greig can be reached at 941-778-1404 or online at

Anna Maria is blessed with some of the best guides in Florida. I've fished both coasts and abroad and can honestly say that our local guides are among the finest anywhere. Check the internet or local tackle shops to get matched up with a professional that can take you to the kind of fishing you've only dreamed about.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper