Sunday Classic / Dos and Don’ts For Guided Fishing

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Kent, Ready To Strike Photo by Louis Cahill

“I have done enough guiding with enough people of all types that I sometimes cheer for the fish.”

My friend Kirk Deeter, writing on the Trout Unlimited blog April 25th, threw out the bold headline: “Guides: Gatekeepers or Profiteers”. There’s no mystery where Kirk stands on the subject. He goes on to write, “I think the sun rises and sets on the fly fishing world where guides collectively say it does. They are stewards of their rivers. They are the innovators, and the teachers. And a good guide is, for fly fishing and trout conservation, worth his or her weight in gold.”

I agree with Kirk completely but it’s apparently a controversial topic. Not everyone loves fishing guides and it got me wondering why. Most of my friends are, or have been, fishing guides. I am not, but I hear the stories and I remember having a few rough days with guides back in the day. I mentioned it to Kirk and this was his response.

“You ask a great question here. Let me put it to you this way. I have done enough guiding with enough people of all types that I sometimes cheer for the fish. Seriously. You can say I said that. On the other hand, nothing lights me up more than sharing a passion with someone who gets it, appreciates it, and really shows some genuine class and enthusiasm. A great guide and client team should be like a Bwana and his tracker… two people on one mission… bound by respect.”

I reached out to a few more friends in the guiding business and asked them, from their perspective, where things go wrong. I decided to make a list. I figured, like Rodney King said, “why can’t we all just get along?”

People hire guides for a host of different reasons but they all want the same thing, a great day on the water. Unfortunately, some days end with neither the guide or the client feeling all that good about it. Malfunctions in the client-guide relationship can spoil what should be a positive experience for everyone. Fortunately these malfunctions can be easily avoided. With that in mind, here is a list of dos and don’ts for your day of guided fishing. Follow these simple guidelines and, even if the fishing is slow, you’ll walk away feeling like you got your money’s worth.

A quick note: I use a great deal of male pronouns. In no way do I mean any disrespect the the many talented and hard working female guides out there. I’m just trying to keep this under 2000 words.

Dos

•Do be enthusiastic

Bring a positive attitude. Have fun, relax. No one fishes well when they’re tense.

•Do be clear about your expectations

Tell your guide right up front what you want out of your day. If you just want to chill and take photos, say so. Want to be a better caster at the end of the day, no problem. Want to catch the fish of a lifetime? I don’t know a guide who will not try to make that happen, but be realistic and when your guide tells you what to expect, listen. Sometimes hunting big fish means getting skunked but if you don’t try, it’ll never happen.

•Do be honest about your skill level

There’s no point in telling a guide you’re a bad ass if you’re not. He’s going to know by the second cast anyway. Every guide I know would rather have a client with limited skill who wants to learn than a client who has skills but isn’t as good as he thinks. Check your ego and be ready to learn. Before you know it, you will be a bad ass.

•Do listen to your guide

You hired him for his knowledge and experience, let him share it with you. Too often clients second guess the guide because he wants to do things differently. Rather than questioning his methods, look at it as an opportunity to learn something new.

•Do be open to constructive criticism

All guides see themselves as teachers. If you are not looking to be taught you need to be up front about that, but in my opinion, that’s a poor choice. Take your guide’s instruction as it is intended, to help you be a better angler.

•Do work as a team

Two anglers are better than one. Work on good communication skills. Team up and kick some ass!

•Do give feedback

Tell your guide how you feel. Like this kind of fishing? Want to do something else? Feeling pressured? Let him know, he’s not a mind reader.

•Do practice

If you don’t fish regularly you should do some practice casting on the lawn a few days before your trip. This is really important for salt water trips. Get that double haul tuned up before you go.

•Do be prepared

Have your gear set up. Rig your rod and tie on a fly. Your guide will probably change it but he won’t waste fishing time lining up the rod. Have you line cleaned and dressed and a fresh leader in place. Bring the things you’ll need for the day- sun screen, T.P., polarized sunglasses, etc. Be mentally prepared too. Be on time! Get some sleep and try not to show up hung over this time.

•Do respect the boat

I have heard some horror stories. I know a guide whose client went to the woods for a deuce, then stepped in it and tracked it all over the boat. Don’t spit your dip in the boat, knock the mud off your boots before you get in the boat, don’t wear studs. Don’t wear black soled shoes on a flats boat. A boat is a major investment for a guide. He’s proud of it and he has to clean it after every trip.

•Do respect the fishery

Don’t litter. Seriously, only assholes litter. Respect the fish. Handle them with care and keep them wet. Practice good C&R technique. Don’t complain about fishing barbless hooks. If you don’t catch big fish, take the time to appreciate the beauty of the small fish you land.

•Do respect your guide

All the guides I know are intelligent and highly motivated. Most hold degrees in unrelated fields. They could likely be doing any job, maybe even yours. They are trained consultants, not hired help. Treat them accordingly.

•Do tip

Tips are important. Guides count this income to make ends meet. Unfortunately there isn’t much talk about what’s appropriate and some guys don’t even know its expected. Guides themselves are reluctant to talk to clients about it. I consider 20% a minimum. A guide who doesn’t deserve 20% has done something seriously wrong. More often than not you may feel that your guide deserves more. Base your tip on how hard your guide worked to meet your objective, not on whether or not you caught fish. If you didn’t, it was probably not his fault.

Don’ts

•Don’t disrespect booking policies

Guiding is a business. It’s how these guys feed their families. Know the rules when you book and respect them. You can’t expect to cancel a day on short notice and get your deposit back because the weather is bad or your wife is pissed that you’re fishing too much. Don’t expect a guide to hold days for you without a deposit. Know your schedule before you book. Don’t call the guide to change your days three times while you shop for a cheap flight.

•Don’t be late

This one should speak for itself. It’s not only rude but your start time is tied to the hatch or the tides. You may miss the best fishing.

•Don’t set your expectations out of reach

Be honest with yourself. If you’ve never hooked a tarpon let’s hold off on going for a tippet class record. If your best dry fly cast is thirty feet don’t tell your guide you want to catch a huge fish on a streamer. Make your goals challenging but attainable. Learn the lessons at hand and in time you’ll get to where you want to be.

•Don’t be stubborn

Don’t tell your guide that you only fish dry flies if the fish aren’t rising. Be flexible and ready to learn and adapt to the conditions.

•Don’t be sensitive

Don’t take your guides comments personally. If he tells you your casting needs work, it probably does. If he tells you your gear isn’t up to the job, fish his. Your guide is there to help. He can help you more if you’re not defensive.

•Don’t blame your guide for the weather

If the weather sucks there’s nothing to be done about it. Keep a positive attitude. If the fishing is slow, stick with it, you may only catch one fish but maybe it’ll be a great fish. If the fishing is dead, maybe you get a personal casting lesson. If your guide suggests you fish for shark instead of bonefish, maybe you should listen. There are a lot of ways to salvage the day.

•Don’t talk politics

You can do that shit on Facebook for free. You can’t fish and argue at the same time and even if you agree at first, it always turns into an argument.

•Don’t tell your guide how to fish

Just because you caught fish on hoppers last time doesn’t mean it’s going to happen today. Your guide is out there every day. If you have a hunch, run it past him. If he says no, don’t wast your time.

•Don’t bring bananas

I like bananas too, but just don’t do it.

•Don’t bring the wife and kids

If your wife and kids don’t want to fish, don’t bring them along. They’ll hate it and they’ll get in the way. Take a day off and do something they will enjoy.

•Don’t rock the boat

Literally, don’t rock the boat. Shifting your wait around makes it tough on the guide. It’s hard to row a drift boat that’s pitched to one side. Distribute your weight evenly. It’s worse on a flats boat. Try standing on a poling platform with a guy rocking the boat when he casts. Your guide isn’t there to swim. What’s worse is, it spooks fish.

•Don’t mistreat gear

If you are using the guide’s gear, treat it right. Be careful with the rod, don’t stand on the line, don’t charge through blackberries in borrowed waders. This stuff costs money and it needs to last. Most fly rods have lifetime guaranties but repairs still cost money. Usually about a hundred bucks with shipping. If you break a rod, pay for the repair.

•Don’t bring drugs

This is serious guys. If you are caught with drugs on the boat that boat and all the gear can be confiscated. We are talking about a man’s livelihood here. Have a beer instead.

•Don’t whip out your GPS

Not only is it rude as hell, it might be dangerous. If you mark a spot and try to come back without knowing the river or the flats you just might end up on Gilligan’s Island, or dead.

 

Hopefully this sheds some light on the mysterious inner workings of your guide’s head. Follow this list of dos and don’ts and you’ll be a dream client. You’ll have a better day and you’ll feel like you’re fishing with a friend. Choose not to take my advice and…well it’s like a guide friend of mine says, “you don’t pay for the ride out, you pay for the ride back.”

 
Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 
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37 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / Dos and Don’ts For Guided Fishing

  1. Actually as a guide I bring bananas, sometimes offer them to the clients. They give you quick potassium, and some energy. Many of my clients are older and need the energy. I assume he’s talking about using a disposable bag, which I also bring for trash. Just put the peel back in the bag it was brought in or have a zip lock bag. The main thing about the client/guide relationship is that some relationships work some don’t, it’s just human nature. I’ve had great days with clients and they caught all day, never to hear from them again, and then I’ve had clients which may have got skunked and they return, it’s just the nature of the sport.

    • I thought the Banana advice was High Level, When guys brought bananas into our camp I knew it was their first trip to Alaska.

  2. This is like the 4th or 5th write up on how people should act on a guided trip ive seen in the past month. The WFN did a whole segment on it too. I agree with most of them and what they had to say, but I wish someone would come out with a Dos and Donts for Guides as well, and especially mates on boat trips.

  3. Bananas is a wives tail they are said to have black major on a boat and bring bad luck .. in the Bahamas banana boats would always have someone suffering from some sort of plight . Typically a spider hiding in the bananas bit someone and made them very sick . And as superstition goes it becomes bad luck for anyone to have bananas on any boat . Not knowing if the guide is superstitious
    if that is your snack you packed it might not go over well . Others don’t like for you to bring an extra cooler plan on catch and release . Tif you are successful enough and the fishery supports taking a catch home they will provide means to your vehicle. If the day produces .

  4. Re: bananas. It’s a superstition but …….. Basically bananas are considered to be bad luck on boats. Best to leave them at home (though I totally agree on the potassium hit). You can google bananas & boats for more info. Hey, no use tempting the Gods!

  5. Koz brings up a good point on cell phones. Nothing is more frustrating to me as a guide then someone who is constantly on the phone during a trip. Especially if we’re fishing a hatch which usually has a limited window of time when the fish get really happy. Plus, most anglers loose their focus. As a business owner I understand that some calls can’t wait. I always appreciate it when a client gives me a heads up that at a certain time during the day they have to make a business call.

  6. As a trout fishing guide, I agree with this list. But I am very interested in a list from the client’s perspective. Am I still in touch with what the client expects on a trip?

    • Here’s one for the list of pet peeves of clients for their guides: Don’t be late. Ironically, I found this page because the guides who violated this rule with me linked to it from their website and blog. Self righteous pricks. They were over an hour late. Also, don’t be a prick, when I tell you that it’s ok if we don’t land a huge gift trout we happen to spot, don’t give me a hard time if I fail to catch it.

  7. This is a pretty good article. I’ve only taken one guided trip in my days and the guide was an awesome and very knowledgeable guy. He showed my friend and I a great day on the water and we respected his boat and tipped him approprately. I can imagine the life of a guide can be quite stressful if you get a rough client…i mean tracking your own shit back into the boat! It’d be hard not to just push that guy overboard! A local guide that I’ve become pretty good friends with told me a story about 2 clients, the one up front was a know it all and refused to listen and the guy in the back of the boat knocked a fly rod provided by the guide into the river and didn’t say anything until they got to the pullout. Then to top it off their tip was $20, elk summer sausage, and some flies they had tied themselves. I’m no guide, but I can imagine the last thing a guide needs is fishing flies.

    I have also come across a few guides that are pretty big assholes. These are the ones that float past with clients and are clearly pissed off that my friends and I are wade fishing where they want their client to fish. We’ve actually had a couple make rude comments to us. Just because you guide on a river doesn’t mean you own the river and need to be respectful of other fisherman. Another time was when couple of guides in the bar were complaining to my friends and I about how crowded the rivers around here are becoming. We agreed that the rivers are becoming more crowded and it does suck, but a huge component to this issue is probably the guide shop taking thousands of people down the river each year showing how great the fisheries are. So this kind of relates to the GPS point. I completely agree that pulling out a GPS and marking spots is bullshit, but can guides really be upset when people want to come back and fish without a guide when its public water?

  8. As a trial lawyer, I was in a service business, and a good relationship with the client was absolutely essential to a smooth experience. Mostly that boils down to good communications both ways so the pro and the client understand each other’s needs and expectations. Engendering trust and using good people skills are important in any service business. I have employed many guides in many places, and, interestingly, many of them had better attitudes, work ethics, and commitment to success than many lawyers I have known despite the relatively higher significance of success to the litigation client. That may be why public opinion of lawyers is as low as it is. If you do not care enough about what you do to give 100% every day, find something else to do.

  9. In the early days of whaling ships three things were banned. – Bananas, Women and Priests.

    Bananas – banned because the insects that seemed to originate from stalks of bananas got into the rest of the produce. Remember these ships were at sea for months at a time and without produce scurvy was an issue.

    Priests – because they tried to stop sailors from being sailors when they did come into port.

    Women – forty man crew – one women – months out at a time – obvious problem

  10. Couldn’t agree more with this post. Lots of good points made. Glad that we don’t have cell service where I guide. That would be a huge distraction throughout the day.
    Would just like to add one other point if I could. Please remember that your guide doesn’t make the laws in any of the areas that he works in. Don’t get upset at him if he doesn’t allow you to bring alcohol on the boat. Most of us do like a beer at some point during the day, and most guides would be more than happy to share one with you when the trip is over and we are back in an area where it would be legal to do so. However, US Forest Service land is definitely not the place. If your guide gets caught with it he loses his permit to guide on that property and a huge part of his business is gone…instantly! We all hate to tell a client that he can’t do something, but sometimes we have to be the bad guy. Sorry!

  11. I cannot resist suggesting a look at my book Wisdom of the Guides: Rocky Mountain Trout Guides Talk Fly Fishing. Now in paperback.

  12. Agree with most points in your article. Also waiting for the “How to be a Good Guide” version. One of the first guides my husband and I ever hired circled us like a carnival worker trying to guess our weight on the carnival midway. Then he went behind what he thought was a “sound proof” wall of waders and said to his buddy guide, “Those are the two big asses I get to haul down the river today.” All other guides had been assigned or we would have kicked his ass to the bank. Oh, and another nifty thing he did — when he was taking our picture he said, “say adipose.” We an all stand to lose 5-10 pounds — didn’t need a jerk to remind me when I was trying to enjoy a great day on the water. And while we were slipping and flopping in and out of the boat to fish he said, “It’s like whales beaching. Wish I had a camera for blackmail photos”. What a swell guy.

  13. I echo those suggestions about expectations management with the guide before the Day(s). Some times, I’m booking a guide for 1-2 days and then will fish the same or similar water on my own for the next 4-5 days. That’s a cost-effective way to learn new water and new techniques. I’ll typically be fishing from the bank, so I’ll tell the guide via email what I’m up to. Some guides don’t want to educate people who will be on the water with them a few days later. Some are completely cool with it, esp. because I also mention that I live overseas and I’m more interested in learning where the fish hold at different water levels than in catching fish. So that takes some of the pressure off. Plus I tip well. Some guides write back and say that they are uncomfortable with what I’ve proposed. We part cordially and I can find another guide.

    The second issue that’s less controversial, but nonetheless one that lead to tension is the length of the fishing day. I understand that the guides are prepping pre- and post-trip, so that 8 hours fishing may well be the “standard day”. I typically want to fish a longer day than 8 hours. So again, before event we exchange views as to when the day is going to start and end. If the guide agrees to fish longer, then we adjust the base fee upwards accordingly.

    Third, and most obviously, you should figure out if what the guide wants to do is what you want to do. A lot of guides have a default setting that’s the lowest common denominator. For fly guides, maybe it’s indicator fishing. For gear guides it could be sidedrifting bait or pulling plugs. If we want to do something different, as the client I say it’s our call. But certain guides have very successful formulas for putting their clients onto fish, and will depart from “the usual” reluctantly. Rather than risk tension on the water, it’s better for both parties if you book someone else.

    The goal here is to find out the “marriage enders” before you meet at 6:00 a.m. at the local coffeeshop to map out the day on the water.

  14. I am sure you are a great guide and we would get along if I was in your boat. I must say, I’m sick of the, “Woe is me”, “Clients should act different” guide posts though. If you do not like the service industry, feel free to use the degree in another field you alluded to and find a non-service job. In the service industry, you do not get to tell the people who pay you how to act.

    If some jagoff wants to be on his phone all day, that’s his prerogative. Do I use my phone while fishing? Hell no! It defeats the purpose for me. Will he catch less fish? Yes. Will your day be less enjoyable? Likely, yes, although maybe not if you don’t need to converse with them. My point is, the client may not act how you want them to, how they should to maximize your skills for their benefit or even how they should to just be a half decent person. The problem is, they dropped $250-$500 a day for your service, so they’re in the drivers seat whether you like it or not.

    • As a guide I agree with you…to a point. I’ve had plenty of clients who’s fishing perspective was different than mine. Often I find that catching fish is more important to me than to the client. This is usually fine as that is my job, however there are times when I have to dial things down: realize that a client needs a break, has an important phone call, has dinner plans, or just want to look at the scenery. When it comes down to it, the customer comes first, not the fish. That being said, the purpose of this article is to help people get the most out of their experience. If you want to get your money’s worth, it is not in your best interest to talk on your cell phone, take a nap, or argue over politics. But a good guide should let you do all of the above…I usually agree with my clients on fish politics.

    • Kyle, Here are 3 things you should know. 1. I am not a guide. 2. Everyone who has a job is in the service industry. No amount of money buys you the right to be an asshole. The only people I know who think it does are rich assholes. Everyone deserves respect no matter what their job or who’s footing the bill.

      • 1. Apologies. I know you are not a guide. I though this was either Kent or one of the guides who guest post frequently. You were, however, a guide at one point, correct?

        2. That is purely incorrect. I know the point you are trying to make, that most jobs have aspects of service, but not all jobs are considered in the “service industry” (ie, almost any job at companies where you produce a tangible good).

        3. I did not say anyone has the right to be an asshole, or not respect the guide. I am simply pointing out that 1. “Getting your moneys worth” is entirely subjective. What you laid out is a perfect way to get your moneys worth when hiring a guide if you are very into fly fishing, or really interested in learning fly fishing. For someone who hasn’t ever fly fished, maybe laying in the boat, drinking a beer (if it’s legal) and chatting with the guide for an hour when you are tired is the perfect way to get their moneys worth. 2. It is the client’s leisure time. I’m sure most people who end up on the phone while being guided aren’t really pleased about it.

  15. Pingback: Sunday Classic / Dos and Don'ts For Guided Fishing - The Royal 7 Guide Company

  16. So what you’re saying is, spend your money on a lesiure activity that is completely and totally a luxury. But it’s going to be about you making sure it’s convenient for your guide? Maybe I’m missing something here. I’m with Kyle on this. The incessant whining on guides parts is an old hat.

  17. Wow, interesting topic and well written. Most people think I only DIY but the truth is I fish with saltwater guides probably more than most. It’s just fun to share the adventure with someone who has a passion and enthusiasm for the same sport. Love talking fishing with an expert, period. But to me its pretty simple, it’s their water, they are the professional, let him choose the fly, tell you how “his” fish like the retrieve and guaranteed you will learn something. I spend 90 – 100 days on the flats every year, if I can learn one small thing from the professional I am better for it.

  18. Kyle, I agree with you…to a point. As a guide my fishing objectives are sometimes different than those of my clients. In fact, I am often more concerned about catching fish than my clients, which is fine, it is my job. However I have to respect that sometimes clients will need to make a phone call, take a break, or get to dinner. The whole reason I became a guide was to show people how to fish. If I were to expect everyone to know the ropes I wouldn’t make a living this way. Conversely, I think that the goal of this article was to give people an idea of how to make the most of a guided experience. Guides like these articles because it is always a pleasure to guide seasoned clients, they help you accumulate pictures for your website.

    Nate

    • I totally understand where you, as a guide, are coming from. It would be great if every client was basically just a fishing buddy who could help with pictures for your website :). If I were a guide (I am not and never will be), those trips would keep me sane. I also see that the point was to explain how to get the most out of your guide. I think the problem arises because not every person being guided wants the guide to impart all, or any, of their extensive knowledge. Many people who hire out a guide just want to experience fly fishing without having to spend a lot of time and money to do so. I know that most guides became guides to share their knowledge, so that situation may feel uncomfortable.

  19. I am not a guide, but have been a dude more than once. I think it is important that both parties discuss — before the first cast — the customer’s expectations.

    For me, I don’t care all that much about catching fish on a guided trip; I am more interested in having the guide be my teacher and teach me as much as he or she can about fly fishing in general and about in particular the water we will be floating.

    Other customers just want to catch a lot, or some big, fish. That is fine, but the guide should know on what to focus.

    A good fly shop will have gone into this with the customer before selecting a guide for him.

    Guides tell me that probably the worst kind of client is the know-it-all who feels that he knows more than the guide. I happen to be very much the opposite, willing to confess my unabashed amateur status and to express my willingness to learn from a pro. I have never hired a guide who was so inept that I could not learn from him, even if I was wishing for a better guide.

    Also, I am up front about my expectation to return alone to the water and to wade fish it. In fact, I make a point of asking the guide to please point out good spots as we go along, good spots that will be accessible to me for wading. Guides cost a chunk of money, and no reasonable guide expects his customers to be able to afford to always hire a guide in order to fish his or her water.

  20. Regarding cell phones and fly fishing, when I lived in Montana a friend of mine from Indiana visited. We fished the Beaverhead and I noticed that he was standing in thigh deep water talking on his cell. I kidded him about not being able to stay away from his phone long enough to enjoy his fishing. I even snapped a photo of him to kid him about it again later on.

    His response was that he was on the phone with his office, and that if it were not for being able to stay in touch with his business with his cell, he’d not be able to be in Montana at all.

    I felt well and truly put in my place and have never since felt the same about people using their cell while fishing.

  21. Pretty good article. I agree with just about all of it. Of course, respect is a two-way street, and fishing guides are no different from any other category of people. There are great ones, average ones, and terrible ones. Someone asked for the other side of the coin, so here is my two cents, for what it’s worth. So: Do’s and Don’ts for Guiding Clients.

    Don’t: Be arrogant. If you find yourself looking down your nose at the neurosurgeon you are guiding because he isn’t as good of a fisherman as you, or even as good as you’d like him to be, then you are probably in the wrong business. Most of us fly fishermen hold fishing to be just a little (or a lot) more important than it really is. Keep some perspective.

    Do: Remember that you are running a business. You need to provide value to your clients. If you find yourself making comments like “It’s just nice to be out, though” you may not be focusing enough on this. Your client does not need to pay $500 just to get out. The best guides have an uncanny knack for finding fish and getting their clients on them. If you don’t have this, you are probably in the wrong business.

    Do: Be honest. Do not exaggerate the fishing to attract the client, then when they arrive tell them that they’re really unlikely to experience the type of fishing that you promoted because it actually only happened once in 15 years. The world is full of A-holes, but most fishermen understand that fishing is never guaranteed; nevertheless, they will probably know a bait and switch when they see one, and will not come back. If your client is that A-hole whose expectations are way out of line because you sold it to him that way, it’s your own fault.

    Don’t: assume all of your clients are millionaires. Your sport may just be a regular guy who loves to fish but just doesn’t get to go very often. He may have to budget to be able to afford $500 for a day of fishing. This goes right back to the whole thing about being sure you are adding value. Assume that the money people are spending with you is hard-earned.

    Do: be polite and respectful to your client. They are your employer for the day.They probably report to a boss, and are accustomed to living in a world where being openly critical of that person gets you fired. There is a right way to be a teacher. If you are going to be a teacher, keep this in mind. Your client probably doesn’t fish for a living. If you assume that they are doing something more important with their time, this attitude will flow naturally..

    Do: Remember the golden rule of service: you need your clients. They don’t need you. They can hire another guide. They can spend their money elsewhere. Earn their business. All business people know this, including your client. They are probably on the other side of that equation five days a week. If clients have a choice (and they do) between a great guide who’s a jerk, a nice guy who doesn’t catch many fish, and a great guide who’s also a nice guy, well…

  22. “I think the sun rises and sets on the fly fishing world where guides collectively say it does.”

    I’m afraid I have to take issue with this. I prefer the comment Thomas McGuane made in The Longest Silence, that “fishing is best enjoyed as a respite from burden”. In other words, fishing, in the proper perspective, is loved, practiced, and enjoyed as a hobby. Once it is your livelihood, your perspective naturally changes. The tendency to place it, and I truly hate to say this, at a greater level of importance than it naturally deserves becomes a matter of course. I believe that the ethos of the sport is best defined by those who are hobbyists, if for no other reason than making money on something tends to corrupt it.

    • Kevin App writes: ” I believe that the ethos of the sport is best defined by those who are hobbyists, if for no other reason than making money on something tends to corrupt it.”

      Or as a former Montana fishing guide put it, “When you turn your hobby into a business, you ain’t got no more hobby.”

  23. As a guide in the Keys and at a saltwater lodge in SE Alaska, I find this article to ring true to our fisheries as well. Granted no one is tracking their own crap on my boat but a lot of these Dos and Donts are universal. I also would be interested in reading a piece about Dos and Donts for guides from the charter’s perspective.

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