Registered Maine Guides have been guiding clients since 1897. And this time of year, many of the more than 1,200 members of the Maine Professional Guides Association are leading fishermen on lakes, rivers and along the state’s coast.

Any will tell you that part of being a fishing guide means being an entertainer, a historian and a storyteller. And the crazy adventures they experience on fishing trips provide plenty of fodder.

Few in the Maine outdoors have as many nutty stories as guides. So we polled some of them and asked for their most unbelievable or bizarre stories.

This is what we got:


Scott Bartlett of Standish has been guiding for eight years on Sebago Lake but has fished the state’s second-biggest lake for three decades. So he’s familiar with the odd weather that happens there.


“I’ve seen 6-foot whitecaps out there. Been out in 60 mph winds and squalls,” said Bartlett, 65. “We were out last year and saw the water spout that went by.”

But the oddest thing Bartlett’s seen was last year with a group of Canadians.

The radar showed potential storms later in the day, but the Canadians wanted to go out because it was their only day in Maine.

The first two hours, the group was having fun but not catching any fish. Then they saw a black thunderhead in the distance, rolling right toward them.

“The wind picked up and you could see the rain coming down in sheets. But the sun was shining right on us,” Bartlett said.

The group put the cover up on the back of the boat and got ready for the downpour, when the oddest thing happened.


“About 100 yards from the boat, this wall of rain stopped and turned 90 degrees to the right of us, then passed us on the right,” Bartlett said. “The sun never stopped shining on us. We never got one drop of rain. And as soon as the cloud passed, two rods went off and we had a 5-pound salmon on each rod. We caught seven fish in an hour. It was unbelievable.”


Scott Davis has guided on the side for 28 years, when he’s not working as a fisheries biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. He needed no time to think of one of his strangest stories.

He met a man from out of state who just bought his first boat and wanted to fish from it.

So they met at a boat launch and the man unhooked the trailer from his truck – but nothing more. He rolled both the trailer with the boat on it into the water and prepared to drive the boat as is. “It’s so bizarre. It’s so unrealistic,” Davis said. “He never took anything off. He never unstrapped it. He never unwinched it. He tried bringing the whole thing to the dock.”

He planned to drive the boat with the trailer on the bottom, telling Davis the marina didn’t give much instruction.


Davis stopped him before he could get much farther.

“I told him, ‘you’ve got to learn real quickly about what to do and what not to do,’ ” Davis said. “And this is one of them. He would have ruined the boat.”


John Caterina has been a chemistry teacher and track and field coach at Gorham High for more than 30 years. He chose both as a vocation because he feels it’s meaningful work to help kids.

Several years ago, he got his license as a captain and guide because he decided guiding others to do what he loves was a meaningful way to have fun.

Caterina co-owns his boat, Catnip, with two business partners. He’s the captain and head guide for Casco Bay Adventures, which takes fishermen in search of mackerel, pollock, pogies, striped bass, groundfishing and sometimes sharks. They also throw in lobstering lessons, whale watching, and cultural and wildlife tours.


Caterina is joined by an array of friends and family who act as first mate, such as Gorham assistant boys’ basketball coach Chris Crosby.

Earlier this summer when the two were groundfishing for haddock with friends, they put out a few shark rods for the fun of it – but it ended in a battle.

Just as they packed up, one of the rods moved a little.

Crosby fought the shark for 90 minutes, only to pull in a 9-foot, 400-pound porbeagle to the side of the boat, before the shark snapped the 6-foot, 80-pound rod and 240-pound wire leader.

The episode fit into Casco Bay Adventures’ motto: “What do you want to do? We’ll do it!”



Jeff Bellmore, president of the Maine Professional Guides Association, has guided for 25 years. The story he loves to tell was the time he was guiding a father in his 60s and a son in his 30s for striped bass on the St. George River. They were celebrating the son’s birthday when the fish “blew up and fish were boiling everywhere.”

The son reached out and went over the bow of the boat. After Bellmore fished him out, the son stripped down to dry his clothes, and as he was wringing them out over the side of the boat – standing in his birthday suit – a woman at a camp on shore yelled at the boat.

“He’s standing butt naked and all of a sudden she starts yelling: ‘You pervert,’ To this day, I think his face is still red from it,” Bellmore said.


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