I continue to be so impressed with fishing’s youth movement. When I was young many years ago, we didn’t have college bass fishing teams; we didn’t have YouTube; and if I am being perfectly honest, we didn’t even have the internet. Today’s generation of young anglers has so many avenues to demonstrate their love and passion for fishing. Eric Guarino is one of these young anglers taking full advantage of these opportunities.
It was my pleasure to get to interview Eric. After you read this interview, I am sure you will agree that Eric is one example of why the future of fishing is so bright.
What got you started into fishing?
I wouldn’t be the fisherman I am today without my dad, plain and simple. He was eager to get me into the sport at a young age, and ever since that first trip down to our local creek when I was 5 years old I’ve been hooked.
From surfcasting on the beach, to pond hopping, to fishing out of a two man kayak, my dad was always there teaching me techniques and usually kicking my butt. Not to mention he bought the bass boat we still use to fish today, which helped advance my skills and allowed me to network within the community.
So yeah…I owe a lot to my dad.
Your Instagram is an awesome multi-species showcase. What are your favorite species to fish in New Jersey?
Well obviously I have a small obsession with bass, so I won’t really talk about them…although Jersey smallmouths are awesome. One species a lot of people overlook in New Jersey is lake trout. We only have two reservoirs, which contain them, but fishing deep for them in the winter has produced some of my best memories on the water.
Same goes for hybrid striped bass…not many places have them but if you get around a few, get ready. I also have to give a shout-out to crappie, the best tasting freshwater fish there is.
What do you rank as your 3 favorite waters to fish in New Jersey?
Hmmm…Number one will have to be Merrill Creek Reservoir. There’s just no place in New Jersey with a healthier population of 4 pound plus smallmouth. The best part about it is if the bass bite a little slow, just pull out into 70-150 feet and look for schools of lake trout!!
Coming in at number two is Spruce Run Reservoir, the place where I caught my personal best smallmouth and learned how to fish in the winter. Since winter fishing is now my favorite time to catch them, this reservoir holds a special place in my heart.
Number three could be so many places, but I would have to say Manasquan Reservoir. I’ve only fished it a handful of times, but it continues to impress me with the amount of quality bass it produces. My last trip there included a 4 pound plus smallmouth AND a largemouth well over 6 caught by my friend Brady.
You have interned for the Ike Live show. How did that come about?
This is actually an interesting story, which I’ll try to sum up as best I can. Last year I was going to school in Virginia…shout out JMU…with NO connection to Mike or anyone at Pro Edge Fishing. One day I was contacted on YouTube by a Rowan University student, and when we fished together he told me about his plans for The Rowan Fishing Team, a club that alumni Mike Iaconelli recently had pushed to get started at the school.
To make a long story short, I decided to transfer to Rowan, and became Vice President of the club for 2016. One day in December I dm’d Mike on Instagram, and asked him if he was interested in filming with Michael Hasio who was staying at my place for the weekend and me. He said he was busy the day we had planned, but asked if I was interested in fishing an open buddy tournament with him the following day on my Tracker. I agreed in a heartbeat, and met him at the lake on a cold December morning. We caught one bass between the two of us the entire day…of course he caught it…but through conversation he ended up asking me if I’d done any internships, and the rest is history!
What have been your favorite moments about working on the show?
Oh man, this one is tough. Every time I go there new things seem to happen that I would classify as a “favorite moment”. I must say Gerald Swindle saying I have “some really dang nice hair” is right there at the top. Besides that, getting to meet and hang out with all of our awesome in-studio guests. Luke Dunkin in particular is someone I very much enjoyed getting to know.
How does Ike treat his interns? What has he meant to you in your development as an angler and as a person?
I’ll start with the second part of the question, and the answer is a lot. Not so much as an angler, but definitely as a person. To be around someone who works so hard, gives so much back to the community AND helps to raise a family is inspiring stuff.
Now as far as the boss question goes, I have to give a shout-out to Mike’s wife Becky, and Brian the Carpenter. If I do something wrong, I’m hearing from one of them, not Mike. Jokes aside they are both extremely easy to work with, and it’s been a pleasure getting to know both of them as well as Mike.
I love the video of you fishing with Ike on your Tracker for the Tournament. What other pro anglers would you love to share a day in your Tracker with?
Love this question, and the first name that comes to my head is Andy Morgan. Man, that guy just flat out knows how to catch them. He keeps it simple and seems extremely type B, two things I really value on the water. I’d like to think we’d get along well on the ol’ Tracker.
I hate to be slightly more cliché with this second name but I NEED Swindle on the Tracker for the day, even if I’d be laughing more than I would be fishing.
What’s the future for you in fishing?
You know, this is one I don’t fully know the answer to yet. I have some big plans for YouTube, which I shouldn’t even divulge here…they will be worth the wait. Other than that I want to keep working for Pro Edge fishing, and help grow Ike Live to its full potential.