Eric McQuoid may be the only college freshman to pull up to his dorm with a fully loaded Ranger 621 fishing boat behind his truck. Eric is starting school this fall at Bemidji State University, and besides hitting the books, he’s looking forward to hitting Lake Bemidji and taking time to unwind.
But what really makes his story unique is that at the young age of 19, he has his own fishing guide service, along with his father, Kevin. Eric has been out on the lake since he was a baby. As a matter of fact, his first time on a boat was the day he was baptized when his family went out on a launch on Mille Lacs Lake.
“My dad taught me almost everything that I know about fishing,” said Eric. “I grew up watching him and my mom take care of customers, both for summer clients and for the winter fish house customers.”
Eric will be studying business management in hopes to come back and work for the family-owned business, Mac’s Twin Bay.
Participating in fishing tournaments is something else that has been in the family as Eric began participating when he was eight years old with his dad on Mille Lacs. When he was 15, he joined his dad on the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit. “We have had very fortunate luck with multiple top tens together,” Eric recalled.
Eric gave the Messenger a live lake interview for this story. During the interview, Eric shared some insight and reflections that he gives during his regular guides.
“That magical number is 30 (inches) that everyone looks for. I had a guide out last night, and we found one,” said Eric.
Eric spends most of his time out looking for fish. Where you go out, he said, depends on the time of year and where the bites have been occurring. “The best time is an evening bite, that hour before sunset,” he said. “If it’s sunny and no wind, it pushes the fish down deeper, and if it’s windy, you can fish pretty much anywhere with better odds of catching them.” He noted that walleyes don’t usually come to the top when it’s warm, but on warm, sunny days, you can find muskies and northerns out sunning themselves.
Eric said he gets a lot of people that come up fishing for bass now, but the walleye are still the main draw of the lake.
As we got out of the marina and on the lake, Eric checked his fish finder which showed the bottom of the lake as well as any schools of fish in the water. When he “marks a fish,” he hits spot lock, and the trolling motor uses GPS to keep you within a 15 foot radius of that location. “It keeps you there instead of an anchor,” he said. “It’s really nice to use.”
In the winter, he helps at the resort as part of the ice crew, bringing houses out, keeping 26 miles of roads plowed and drilling holes. He recalled one time when he was out with his mom on the ice. “We dropped the front end of a truck in the ice in over 32 feet of water,” he recalled. “The bottom of the truck was hung up on the ice. We were looking at one spot in the road that had a pie crack, and it was a floating ice cube. There was one off the the side that we didn’t see.”
He and his mom were able to get out safely.
But beyond a couple dangerous situations, Eric said being out on the water fishing is something he’s always been passionate about and has been somewhere he goes to relax.
“My favorite part of being a guide is being able to share my passion with a variety of people, whether they have never fished before or if they fish regularly,” he said.
For more information about Eric and his father Kevin’s fishing guide service, marina or ice fishing service/rentals, go to https://www.macstwinbay.com. They can also be found on Facebook and Instagram (Mac’s Twin Bay Resort with Da Boathouse in Da Bay Bar and Restaurant) or by calling (320) 676-8709.