An interview with angler and guide Art Hill



How long have you been fishing, and how did you get started?

I have been fishing for 48 years, beginning at the age of 6.  I caught my first largemouth bass at the age of 9, while walking the banks of the Kings River with my father.

What is your go-to technique when nothing else seems to work, and why do you have so much confidence in it?

For me it would have to be a jig. Maybe it’s because it’s my favorite way to fish. It is also my number one confidence bait. I have always felt that if the fish won’t eat a jig, then they just don’t feel like eating.

What do you consider to be your fishing strength(s), and why?

Patience, as well as knowing the water I am fishing. Once I find an area that I consider to be a good fish area, I will sit on that spot. I see guys running all over the lake, and never giving a good location time to produce for them. Many times I will catch fish right from the very spot someone just left.

My other strength is being a good instructor. I tell my clients that I want them to be able to take what they learn from me, and to go and catch fish on their own. I love it when I receive a call or letter from a customer, and they tell me they did well on a fishing trip, using the techniques they learned from me.

What do you consider your biggest angling achievement?

A day last year when my friend and I were able to produce a 40 pound, best five fish limit from one spot on Vail Lake. We caught over 80 fish that day, but we had 40 pounds from one spot that included my friend catching a 12, and a 10 pounder. I had the 3 small fish of that limit that made up the other 18 pounds. My friend caught his fish within 15 minutes of each other. We still laugh about the 3 rats I caught.

I also had a guide trip where I was able to put my clients on over 200 fish in a single day, with every fish caught on jigs. There best 5 fish went over 30 pounds. I have actually had many guide trips on Vail Lake where my client’s had five fish limits that exceeded 30 pounds.

What do you do for fun when you are not fishing?

My wife and I really like going for long hikes. Hiking in the Sierras is our favorite hiking destination. It’s a whole different world above 10,000 feet.

What fishing related goals do you have that you have not yet achieved?

I have yet to catch a 100 pound tuna. I would love to do that. I would also like to go to Alaska and catch a huge halibut.  I also want to go and fish El Salto in Mexico.

What is your favorite fishing location within San Diego County, and why?

My favorite lake to fish in San Diego County was Lake Sutherland. I had many terrific days throwing big crankbaits and spinnerbaits on that lake. Like Vail Lake, it too was a special place.

If you could fish one place outside of San Diego, where would that be and why?

I would have to say Vail Lake. Vail is a very special lake to fish. Besides having the ability to catch over 100 fish in a single day, it also still has the possibility of producing a giant bass. I have seen fish that others have caught that have exceeded 15 pounds. On many days I am also the only boat on the lake.

Are there any other anglers that you credit for helping you excel as an angler?

My father! My dad always taught me that the prize in fishing was just having the opportunity to go. If we caught any fish, that was a bonus.

What do you enjoy most about fishing?

It is the friendships I have established over the years. Most of my clients have become close friends of mine. I really enjoy the times I get to spend with my family these days. Those are always special days.


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