Sean Margolin
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Before he was laid off in 2005, Sean Margolin worked 20 years for an electronics company. It took him about five minutes to decide what he was going to do next.

“I got my captain’s license, took a loan out for a boat, and became a fishing guide,” he said. “I’d been wanting to do this my whole life and when I lost my job I couldn’t wait to start my new life.”

Margolin charges $350 a person to take them out into La Jolla’s kelp beds, and he guarantees his client will catch a fish. He’s booked solid six months into the year, and while he doesn’t make a fortune, he loves going to work each day.

“I started fishing when I was six years old, and I know where the fish are,” he said. “I would do this for free, but my wife won’t let me.”

There are plenty of tests and hours of study to become a charter captain. But once you have the license you can operate almost any type of boat. Check out for more information. The salary of charter boat captain increases with his experience and the company he works for, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Captains on large charter boats can make well over $100,000 per year.

For those who want to get away from it all, there is fly fishing. San Diego’s rivers are not exactly filled with trout- or water for that matter- so you’ll have to move to Northern California, Montana, Wyoming, or Washington to really make some cash. is a great site to learn about becoming a fly fisherman. Fly fishing guides who have what it takes can gross about $450 a day.

“You don’t do this job to get rich,” said Tom Beiersdorf of San Diego and Yellowstone, Montana. “I do it because I love the outdoors and love seeing others relax. Watching someone who sits in an office cubicle 10 hours a day catch a fish is part of my paycheck.”

Simply Hired estimates that the average salary for a professional fishing guide as of May 2012 is about $55,000 per year. Fly fishing guides make a bit more at $59,000 per year. The most in-demand guides can earn as much as $85,000 annually.

“When I used to drive to work in the morning I would drive the coast and dream about when I could fish next,” Margolin said. “Now I have my dream job. Thank God I got laid off!”

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