Lessons from legends: Guido Hibdon

My first real introduction to Guido Hibdon happened in the fall of 1984 — during the B.A.S.S. St. Johns River Invitational. Although I was familiar with his name and what he had accomplished to that point, I hadn’t had any interaction with Guido until that event.

That meeting proved to have a profound impact on both me and my career.

Back then, B.A.S.S. events paired pros together in a draw-type format — each having control of the boat for half the day. We didn’t know who we were going to fish with until the night of registration, or after weigh-in each day of the competition.

As it worked out, Guido and I were paired together for Day 1 on the St. Johns. And after relating our experiences from practice, I opted to ride with him — a decision that changed the way I fished forever. 

Setting the stage 

Guido wanted to fish the clear streams feeding Lake George and, even though it wasn’t a springtime event, I thought I could learn something from the experience.

Everyone knew Guido’s reputation as a talented sight fishermen — a skillset I was still in the process of developing. So, I took the opportunity to observe, firsthand, his approach. I wasn’t on a great pattern anyway … certainly not enough for two anglers. My fish were to the north in Rodman Reservoir — his were to the south on Lake George — so there was no way to try to fish both.

Early the next day, as we waited for our number to be called, I remember watching Guido’s every move — his speech, mannerisms and how he distanced us from others. He was clearly focused and ready for battle.

Eventually, we were called and headed south to Lake George. Along the way, wondering what the day would bring. I remember passing the Barge Canal leading into Rodman Reservoir, wondering if I had made a mistake by not challenging Guido on where to fish. 

When we reached the mouth of Silver Glen Run, Guido brought his Ranger off pad and idled us into the springs. Once there, he killed the engine and reached for a small tackle box. Then he gave me a handful of custom-made tubes and small, lightweight jigs. 

He showed me how to insert the jighead from the rear, then expose the hook-eye so that the shank would lie perfectly in line with the body of the tube — so as not to interfere with how the lure should fall. He seemed impressed that I had the right balance of tackle to compliment the technique. But it wasn’t until I slid my first cast beneath a shallow dock, when he turned to me and said, “Well I’ll be damned!”

At that point, I knew I had won him over. Guido was a virtuoso with a spinning rod, and he had an appreciation for anyone who could cast with accuracy and finesse.