BY ARMANDO GARZA |
PORT MANSFIELD — Chances are that most people would love to spend more time fishing.
In fact, many might say they’d love to make fishing their “dream” job if given the opportunity.
For Capt. Augustin Perez of Mercedes, that “dream” is becoming reality.
More than 30 years of fishing proves Perez indeed loves the sport and all that comes with it. Because of his passion and experience, the owner of Reel Action Charter Services now is making the transition into more of a full-time guide on the waters of Port Mansfield.
“I’ve always loved the thrill of that ‘hit’ (of a fish on the line)…BAM! It’s what I live for,” said Perez, 46. “I’d been in the corporate world for about 30 years. In fact, I just resigned to drive a school bus so I can do this (guiding) more often. It’s a huge change.”
Perez, who owns his guide service along with his wife, Irma, said it was his wife’s urging that allowed him to make the decision to scale back his everyday job in order to focus on their business. He says her blessing is part of what made the decision that much easier.
“She’s very involved and supports me 100 percent,” Perez said of his wife, who’s also an avid angler. “She told me to follow my dream and this (guide service) is my dream.”
Fishing has always been a central part of Perez’s life. He first fished the canals of north Mercedes and he said his father would take him fishing on the shores of Boca Chica Beach as a youngster. From then on, he was indeed hooked. Later, he and his brother bought their first boat as high school kids back in 1989.
“We used to tow it to Holly Beach with our Grand Am and our anchor was a tire rim,” Perez said with a laugh. “That’s how we got started and I’ve had a boat ever since.”
Prior to his current venture, he fished the waters of the Arroyo Colorado in Arroyo City for several years. But while on the salt-fresh mix waters of that area, he found himself drifting farther and farther north to reel in preferred catches. Because of this, he decided to base his business out of Port Mansfield, which he’s done for about two years now.
His year-round guide service has Perez taking anglers of all levels to search for all types of species including speckled trout, flounder and, of course, the always-fun red drum (redfish).
Though he owns his own boat, Perez said at times he’ll host customers with their own boats who need guidance to find the hot spots, so he’ll board their boats to guide. He says he’s hosted anyone from seasoned veterans to first-time anglers with the same goal in mind: Filling up that ice chest and sending his customers home beaming.
“Some customers will say that they’re just happy to be out on the water having a good time,” Perez said. “But I want my customers to go home with fish. It’s that simple. I’m out here doing what I love to do and that’s why I do it. To see someone else experience what I’ve experienced in over 30 years of fishing makes it worth it.”