Written by Nicky Park | Photos courtesy of Maury Hatch
Imagine floating across the delta with a friend on a still sunny day as the captain navigates to the hotspots where hungry striped bass are foraging. You spend the day on the water waiting for that precise moment to set the hook and suddenly…you get the grab! Now you’re head to head with this lively fish, determined to get it in your boat to take a picture before returning it to its natural habitat.
Maury Hatch would be this captain, and for ten months out of the year, this could be your experience. Local Land Parkian, Maury Hatch, of First Hatch Guide Service, has been a professional guide for ten years. He started conventionally fishing at the early age of three, and in high school he took to fly fishing and they fit together like, well, a rod and a reel. After years of instructing and coaching in a ski resort, he returned to home base, and managed Vic’s ice cream. During his down time he fished, and fished and fished until one day his wife suggested making his hobby into a career. He believes the secret to making a living off something you love is to simply “keep doing it.” Maury believes that “hard work pays off” because he is able to do what he loves, 250 days out of the year. He has sponsors (listed below), he’s an ambassador, and he does trade shows in the off season (January and February). He has a jet boat for the rivers, and a twenty-one foot bay style boat.
Two of the main reasons Maury loves being a guide is because he finds stripers “exciting” because the fish are “super aggressive” making the catch “fun” as Maury loves a challenge – stripers are ambitious fish. The second reason is that he “enjoy[s] hard work that makes people happy.” And clearly, he does; two-thirds of his clientele are return customers, ranging from yearly vacationers to local celebrities.
I can assure you that a trip with Maury will be worth your money. This free spirit is incredibly social and friendly, he always has a story and he will go above and beyond to make your day memorable, he has a good sense of humor and he is ready to start the moment the sun comes up. Though he cannot control elements of nature, he does his best to work around it, if the fish aren’t hungry or the wind picks up, he will travel the delta until he finds a good place to settle. Undoubtedly you will see wildlife that you don’t encounter every day.
In addition to his role as a fishing guide, he also does bird tours! Maury has a thorough and vast knowledge of local avians, and he will take you across the delta to show you.
Maury’s services include fishing on the delta, American, Feather, and Sacramento Rivers. Sponsorship includes: Costa, Sage, Galvan Fly Reels, Rio, and Simms.
Upcoming Events: Costa Bass-n-Fly Tournament, June 3rd & 4th @ Ladds Marina (see www.bass-n-fly.com for more details).