Rod Bates was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and by his name alone you know he was born to fish. Although he doesn't remember the times his parents took him riverbank fishing when he was still in diapers, the photographic proof cannot be denied.
At the age of sixteen and with the independence that comes with a driver's license, Rod began spending much more time on the Susquehanna River. With his flat-bottomed boat and 9.9 horse outboard he spent many hours exploring this great river and it's awesome fishery. Rod's love of the battling Smallmouth Bass grew as his experience and knowledge grew. As time passed Rod not only became more proficient at catching these elusive creatures but he also became more and more in demand by friends and associates to take them fishing and show them the ways of the wily bass. Rod began to realize he enjoyed teaching others how to catch fish as much as he enjoyed catching them.
Rod decided he needed a better "bassin' boat" if he was going to pursue this desire to share his fishing knowledge with others, a boat that was better suited for the shallow water, rapids and rocks of the Susquehanna River and a boat that would provide safety and comfort for three or four people. In 1998 Rod met up with local river expert and professional angler Jay Boettner, and quickly developed a lasting friendship. Jay's knowledge and expertise of fishing the Susquehanna River is second to none. Jay convinced Rod to purchase an outboard jet powered, aluminum bass rig. Jay also began tutoring Rod on boating and fishing knowledge.
Not long afterward Rod met up with professional angler and multiple "World Record" holder Will Whitehead, and soon developed a lasting friendship with him.
With this additional mentoring and knowledge and properly equipped "River Bassin' Rig," Rod had the confidence to establish his guide business. In 1999 Rod began "Koinonia Guide Service" (Koinonia means "Fellowship" in Greek). Rod has hosted many "high profile" clients in his career as river guide, however his true love still rests with sharing his skills and knowledge with kids. He often does father and son outings and even mother and daughter pairings.
Rod's love of fishing isn't limited to the Susquehanna River. Each year he puts together a group of "diehards" and plans, coordinates and hosts a seven-day trip to Alaska for Salmon and Halibut fishing. He also enjoys fishing for other river species, inshore and offshore saltwater fishing and most importantly, he enjoys spending time in a boat with his lovely wife Linda and daughters, Kristen and Britney.