For Marc Bush, ‘a day at the office’ means loading up the fishing gear, hauling the boat and taking clients out on the water for guided fishing trips. “I like the challenge of fishing,” says Bush. “I’ve been fishing all my life after my grandfather taught me, and now I like to share that knowledge with others.”
Marc and his wife, Chris, are the owners of Twisted Waters Guide Service, a Washington fishing company they started in 2009. Marc Bush retired from the U.S. Army after nearly 21 years in Special Forces, and 2014 is his first year as a full-time fishing guide. Chris Bush works as an administrative assistant at Madigan Army Medical Center and runs the business side of the service.
“We fish year around on freshwater rivers and lakes,” says Bush. “There’s always something open, and when the rivers are non-productive, we’ll move to the lakes.” Twisted Waters Guide Service focuses on catching trout, steelhead and salmon, fishing on the Cowlitz and Nisqually Rivers as well as the Satsop and Chehalis Rivers. They consider Lake Lawrence, near Yelm, their ‘home lake.’
“We cater to families and children,” says Chris Bush. “Military service members come out with us, too. A lot of them might have bass gear and don’t have local fishing knowledge, so that’s where we can show how to fish in this area.” Marc adds that on a recent trip, he took out a client who caught his first steelhead, and “he was grinning from ear to ear.” They’ve had clients as young as 5 years old, one who caught a 14 pound steelhead last summer. “That was an experience!” says Bush.
Clients are guided in a 20-foot Alumaweld boat with a 150 horsepower Mercury outboard. A day on the water with all fishing gear provided costs $150 per person. Military, seniors and Washington state employees get a $25 discount. Out on the water, Bush uses a technique called back trolling, where the boat is held against the current and then slowly ‘backed’ down the river. He also ‘free drifts,’ where the clients cast off the side of the vessel as it travels downriver with the current. “Even people who are experienced fishermen hire guides to help them learn new areas,” says Bush. “It helps take the guesswork out of it.”
The couple is relying on their education to run this full-time business. Marc obtained his bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership while Chris received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Brandman University. She is now working toward graduating with an MBA in August 2014. “We want to use our degrees,” says Chris Bush. “I’m looking to advance on base, and then when I retire, maybe teach in addition to running the guide business.”
Marc Bush’s education isn’t done yet. He’s also set to acquire his ‘six-pack’ Coast Guard license for taking out passengers. “I’ve had my boat for 10 years, and I’ve been guiding now for four years,” he says. Why hire a guide instead of just fish from shore? “Boats cost money and there’s maintenance,” says Bush. “This way, people don’t have to buy a boat, and I can share my local knowledge to get people on the water.”
With the weather warming up, the Bushes are hoping business heats up, too. And even if the weather is cool and rainy? “I get wet, but we still catch fish and have a good time.”