My April/May issue of "Garden and Gun magazine, "The Soul of the South," arrived yesterday, and as usual I could not wait to read it. I quickly zeroed in on Monte Burke's feature story "The Best Fishing Guide Alive," which about the legendary Steve Huff, 65, who fishes out of Chokoloskee, Florida these days and for years was among the most sought after guides in the Florida Keys.
Unfortunately, the story is not online, so you'll have to go to your local Barnes & Noble to buy the issue, but you won't be sorry you did. There's great photography and Burke makes a strong case that Huff may well be the best guide ever. Last year he was inducted into the International Game Fish Association's Hall of Fame, and consummate tarpon angler, Andy Mill, called Huff "bar none, the best tarpon guide alive, the best there was and the best there ever will be," in his new book "A Passion for Tarpon." MidCurrent editor Marshall Cutchin, himself a former Keys guide, calls Huff "the best guide who's ever lived, period." And the novelist Carl Hiassen, one of his clients, says, "He's intense and expects you to match that intensity. It makes you a better angler."
So how do you measure good? How's this: He has 15 clients, and he has taken on only ONE new one in twenty years. He's loyal too; he turned down former president George H. W. Bush because one of his regulars wanted to fish the same day. But lucky Monte Burke gets to go fishing with Steve Huff for the story, and a great story it is. I learned a lot of about Huff (favorite fish: snook; favorite non-fishing past time: long bike rides — all the way to Oregon in fact), fishing, and what makes a great guide.
If you would like to read more about Steve online, check out this tribute Cutchin published on Midcurrent on the occasion of Huff's inclusion in the IGFA's hall of fame.