My career has afforded me quite a few encounters with some really special women who are also enthusiastic about the outdoors, and whom I consider friends. However, I don’t think anyone has made me so in awe of their attitude and capabilities as a female charter guide I recently met in Savannah, Georgia.
Her name is Miss Judy and along with her best friend of 30 years, Kathy the mate of the boat, she runs a charter business called Miss Judy Charters. When my producer originally told me who we were fishing with in Savannah, his first comment was “you’re really going to like her”. I took it with a grain of salt, knowing I was going to like her (there are very few fishing guides that I’ve come across that I don’t like), but not thinking it was going to leave a strong impression on me, or that I was going to have one of the best days of my life on the water.
Miss Judy has lived an incredible and unique life. In a nutshell, she was born to her father’s second wife. By the time she was born, her father was in his fifties and had lived an adventurous and mysterious life (he allegedly worked for Al Capone). Judy never knew how he made money and life was full of surprises (he married eight times), but the one thing that was constant was his boat, and the fact that he was always taking family and friends out on the water. When Judy was only five years old, her mother passed away and ever since then, she’d been by her father’s side. As a result of this unusual upbringing, and because fishing runs her in her blood, she’s basically been chartering since she was a pre-teen. Think about that for a minute – most of us are just trying to make sure we make it to school on time or that we finish our homework at that age, meanwhile little Judy was learning how to build relationships with customers and how to man an entire boat from driving it, to setting up fishing gear, all in the unpredictable world of the big vast ocean! I could go on and on about her stories and her life, but needless to say, she’s built a foundation for being a successful charter guide and for living a fulfilling and independent life.