Aug 25, 2016 – Smith Mountain Lake has a lot to offer tourists. 500 miles of beautiful shoreline, a variety of watersports, and dozens of hotels. While all of these factors have played a role in establishing this town as the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” there is one particular hobby that has been driving explosive growth to the local tourism industry.
Smith Mountain Lake is home to some of the best fishing in Virginia. But it’s one particular type of fish that has captured everyone’s attention.
Commonly known as “striper,” the striped bass is a fish that is notoriously challenging to catch. But the unique ecosystem of Smith Mountain Lake makes it one of the best locations in the United States to seek out these rare and exciting fish.
Steve Fitzgerald, Owner of RodBender Striper Guide Service, explains how he turned his passion for Striper fishing into a business.
“It all started when I hired guides during my initial days of fishing,” Says Steve, “just to be a part of this Ultimate Smith Mountain Challenge. I grew a passion for stripers and have been taking charters ever since.”
Steve says that he’s seen tourists come back year after year. People get a taste for striper fishing and just can’t seem to get enough. Due to the steady stream of new visitors, many accommodations are forced to increase their rates in the summer to compensate for demand.
According to the official Smith Mountain Lake tourism guide, rates for accommodations “run from $400-$4000/week, with size and amenities (rather than geographic location) the primary determinant of cost” During peak season.
And yet in the winter, rates are reduced anywhere from 20 to 50%. Thanks to the mild winters, fishermen still visit the area year-round to see if they can catch one of the lakes famous 50 lb stripers.
Steve says that he has customers booking his Smith Mountain Lake fishing guide service “any time during the year, be it summer, spring, winter or fall.”
Bassmaster rates SML among the USA’s 25 “best bass lakes.” This impressive rating lead to ESPN hosting the nationally broadcast “Blue Ridge Brawl” pro tournament – An event that awarded over $1 million in prizes – at Smith Mountain Lake.
Despite the lakes nationwide fame, small SML fishing charters provide fishing enthusiasts with an exciting, personalized experience. “I won’t mind you picking my brain,” Steve tells his clients. “it’s a part of teaching that when, where and how to catch a fish. I will be as excited as you when you catch your first striper and will welcome you to the big leagues.”
ABOUT RODBENDER STRIPER GUIDE SERVICE
Steve offers full day and half day charters. Reservations can be made on his website at http://smlfishingcharters.com or by phone at (540) 246-4375. You can learn more about SML Fishing guide services by visiting http://smlfishingcharters.com/smith-mountain-lake-fishing-guide/.