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Local charter fishing captain shares angling secrets in book

By Staff | Nov 17, 2009

New to the shelves of local bookstores is “Florida’s Master Anglers,” by author Capt. Ron Presley.
The book is a collection of tips and techniques from area experts, including Capt. John “Giddyup” Bunch of Pine Island.
Presley selected 20 of the state’s top fishing charter boat captains, who reveal their secrets to success.
“It is an amazing experience to pick up a book and read about yourself,” Bunch said. “Holding yourself to the highest standard of excellence is the key to being respected.
“My name has been included within the ranks of legends like Bouncer Smith to exciting young guys like Blair Wiggins. My curse is a relentless drive to be the best,” he said. “Seems to me my curse has finally become my blessing.”
After serious consideration, Presley selected his contributors based on their experience and success as professional anglers.
“I selected Capt. John ‘Giddyup’ Bunch for inclusion in my book because of his vast fishing expertise and his willingness to share with others,” he said. “I met him through the Florida Guides Association and the many Florida Sportsman Fishing shows where he presented seminars of various fishing topics.
“If you ever have an opportunity to hear and see John in a seminar presentation, you will understand quickly his passion for the sport of fishing and his concern for the fishing resource,” Presley said. “I could not have picked a more knowledgeable or willing participant to contribute to the pages of the book.”
Bunch said tarpon was the fish that first sparked his interest in becoming a professional guide, but he has expanded his expertise over the years to include successes in flats fishing and inshore trolling for grouper.
As a child, Bunch grew up on a small island off the South Carolina shore. As a young man, he spent five years in the Marines and later worked at IBM. Changing course once again, Bunch pursued a career as a professional golfer.
While on a fishing trip with some of his golf buddies, Bunch caught his first tarpon and got hooked on the sport. It was at that point that he decided to give up golf and chase the dream of becoming a professional fishing guide.
In addition to his guide service, Bunch is a freelance fishing writer for several local publications, makes regular appearances on fishing shows and talk radio shows, and lectures on the sport of fishing at various venues including the Florida Sportsman Fishing and Boat shows.
Always the perfectionist, Bunch eats and sleeps fishing to ensure that his charters are satisfied with their experience.
“There has never been one occasion whereby sleeping soundly the night before a charter has been possible,” he said. “Holding yourself to a higher standard comes with a steep price. I can honestly say not one person has ever seen me give up on a TV fishing show, dog a charter to get a paycheck, be late, forget a charter or try less than 100 percent.”
Of the many tips Bunch contributed to “Florida’s Master Anglers,” the following is an excerpt he feels is of particular importance to those interested in improving their angling skills:
“The secret to successful fishing is two-fold. First, prepare the night before and have a plan. Execute the plan and if it doesn’t pan out have a backup plan already devised. Second, slow down. Don’t run 50 miles per hour from one location to another, travel at 20 miles per hour and keep your eyes on the water. You’ll see twice as much as you read the water, instead of just trying to get to your next location. Fishing success involves preparation, planning and the ability to observe at the highest level.”
Presley is a licensed fishing guide out of the Cocoa Beach area and is an accomplished outdoor writer. A former college professor and business school dean, he is aware of the importance of education.
“Being an educator, I saw the book as a way to provide willing anglers information that would improve their success in fishing,” Presley said. “Given my relationship with the Florida Guides Association, I know many professional guides across the state. I found 20 guides that were willing to share their secrets and that was the basis of the book.
“Regardless of their level of fishing skills, this book has something for everyone,” he said.
Published by University Press of Florida, the 255-page paperback book can be purchased at Barns and Noble and other major bookstores, as well as online at: upf.com or amazon.com.

Editor’s note: As the founder of Operation Open Arms, Capt. John “Giddyup” Bunch has devoted five years of service to troops in Southwest Florida and has had the “Today Show” to the area in 2005 and 2009, bringing national attention to the program as well as to Pine Island and Cape Coral. Operation Open Arms, in cooperation with local businesses and organizations, provides goods and services to service men and women on combat leave. Donations and volunteers are always welcome.