I am not guiding at this time, but will maintain the website just to help out with information. Thanks for looking.
I always use a guide when fishing new water just to get the strategies, techniques, lay of the land. It is money well spent and you will never be sorry. Make sure you are honest about your abilities and knowledge and don't be afraid to ask for help with casting, knots, and all other important information needed to help you learn to be a better angler. ALLWAYS LISTEN!!!!! Nothing frustrates a guide more than a client who does not listen. It will sometimes ruin both your experience and his or hers. Also, please don't expect them to babysit you either. Watch, listen, practice and learn. You are paying for it. If you have to ask the guide to cast the rod for you, then STOP fishing and ask for some casting lessons. If you want a good guide, then be a good client!
Note: If you have a pram or other boat, I will try to show you techniques and strategies that will help you be more successful with your watercraft. Oars and 2 anchors are a must. If you have a gas or electric motor, make sure your registration and saftety equipment is current.
Guiding Expectations and Points of View Good Information Please Read and Respect Your Guides
The individuals on a guided trip usually want to be on the water and having a good time. They have made an investment in time and money. My expectations should be and are the same. With these goals in mind, there are some considerations to think about. They are: numbers and size of fish; teaching and learning; good communication; enjoyable and meaningful experience.
Numbers and Size of Fish
Many fishermen and a few guides feel a successful trip is only measured by number and size of the fish caught. This can lead to a great deal of pressure by fishermen who want a "sure thing" and or guides who can nag and push clients to perform when catch rates are not up to standards. This can make for a frustrating time for women, kids, and beginners or even good fishermen when the conditions are just not right for catching. I don't like to resort to "trolling buggers", chumming, or other unconventional methods just to get fish. I like to teach strategies using relavant imitations of the local insects or fish prey that will help clients utilize the knowledge of how to choose imitations and fish different waters and conditions.
Teaching and Learning
People who hire a guide have a wide variety of needs. Some very experienced fishermen just want to know the "what, where, when and how" of the local waters. They don't need or want help with casting, equipment, or general mechanics of fly fishing, but just to glean the information on how to have the best chance of being successful without wasting time and energy figuring out the local waters. I have many times hired a guide myself when going to new areas to maximize my experience. I usually tell the guide he or she can fish after they give me all the information I need. Sometimes I learn more by watching them then getting a lecture. Of course I want to fish the best waters or fish before they do! On the other hand, many guides (us included) really enjoy helping novice fly fishers and are excited to watch their progress. Helping a client, beginner or not, improve his or her fishing skills is one of the most important and satisfying things a guide can do. Be honest about your abilities and resonable about your expectations so the guide can spend time helping you where you need it the most. If you are an accomplished fly fisher, let the guide help others in your group and spend your time getting the information you need and then enjoying your day. Too often, good fly fishers so badly want their spouses, children, or friends to catch fish that they end up badgering and shouting until the beginner wants nothing to do with fishing. (Most husbands know exactly what I mean, I once tried to teach my wife to play golf!). Remember, if I am helping your friends or relatives, you will have more time to enjoy your day of fishing.
Communication and Respect
Remember, guides may not be the world's best fly fishers or cast better or tie better flies than you; but they have information to share that will help you be more successful and make your experience a pleasurable one. The guide has fished his or her home waters a long time, in all parts of the season, under many conditions. As a result, the guide knows what the fish are eating (most of the time!) and where the fish are. So whether the guide knows all the new tricks or techniques you just read about in you latest magazine is beside the point, you can bet that they will know what works most of the time on their water. I first fished the famed Bighorn River in Montana with some friends who were all respectable fly fishers, and we all agreed that we needed to hire a guide to maximize our learning curve on this unfamiliar river. One of my friends repeatedly listened to the guide and then did what he thought would work best even though it was not what the guide suggested. You can guess what happened, we all had a great time and caught lots of great fish, EXCEPT our friend who complained and had a miserable time that day and for the reaminder of the week. Remember even the best guides cannot guarantee success in catching fish, but you should have a good time and be a better angler than when you started.
Many people think, "If I am spending all of this money, I expect to catch fish." Is this too much to ask? In a word "yes", it is too much to ask. Then what should you expect? Guides should help you find and put you on fish, have a general idea what flies usually work, and tell you how to present those flies. No guide can make an untrained or uncooperative angler catch fish. At least most of the time. I think that guides that make a cast, hook a fish, and then hand the client the rod are doing a great disservice. A good guide will be able to "help" you cast better or at least give some hints that will help you cast well enough to catch fish. They should not expect you to cast 70 feet into the wind if you are not capable. (More fish are caught with short casts than long ones.) Instead, they should try to put you on fish or in situations that will give you the greatest chance of success for your ability. A guide should check out your tackle, determine your skills and preferences, and establish a good rapport right from the start. Be honest about your abilities and needs and things will progress quickly. If you need help with casting, equipment, strategies, wading, entomology, or any other areas, let your guide know.
What I most expect from a guide is that I will be a better fisherman than I would have been fishing alone. I will know the local waters and techniques without spending precious fishing time figuring things out. All this means is I will have a more enjoyable day and trip if staying for more than that day or coming back another time. I don't measure the results in the size or number of fish caught, but by the feeling at the day's end. I fish to enjoy my surroundings, meet the challenge of an worthy adversary, and share my experiences with someone else who enjoys a good joke, conversation, or just a pat on the head (ok, that is just for my dog and I). One of the best guided trips I can recall, was on a trip to the Florida Keys for Tarpon. After 10 hours on a plane, 3 hours in a rental car, and spending three hundred plus dollars a day for 4 days of guided fishing, I hooked only 3 fish and lost all of them before getting them to the boat. Sounds kind of depressing, huh? Well, it was one of the best trips I have ever had. I got along great with the guide, he helped me improve my saltwater techniques, learn to appreciate what a truly unique place I was in and feel as though he and I had been friends for years. I could not have asked for more. (Well, I would have liked to land the 90 pounder I got within 10 feet of the boat!) Remember to ask yourself "Why do I fish" each time you get to the water. If you answer to catch the most or biggest fish, you need to stop and look around you, take time for nature, your friends or family, and take a deep breath. I have been known to go out in a boat with my dog and camera and never string up my rod, just take in what a great place and time I am in. If you understand this, you have truly achieved the importance and meaning of our sport. Enjoy
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