Are We Being The Best Ambassadors For Fly-Fishing?

31 comments / Posted on / by

Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Louis Cahill

Are you proud of how you represent fly-fishing?

I sat in a meeting the other day, a discussion really, with a group of fly fishing guides. Most of them are guys I like and respect. I was very quickly stoked at, from my perspective, how they all got it wrong. The experience left me frustrated and angry for about twenty-four hours. After a cool-down period I’m ready to discuss it here. If what I have to say makes you angry or defensive, you should take a hard look in the mirror.

By any measure, guides are the gateway to the sport. They are the educators, informants and even the evangelists of fly fishing. They, and the guys at the fly shop, are the most common point of contact for the angler new to fly fishing. They are skilled, hard working, motivated individuals with a passion for what they do. If they weren’t, they’d have washed out of the business. Many of my best friends are guides and some of them are the best examples of what guides should be. So what’s my beef?

The first question put to this group of guides was, “Who are your clients?”

What followed was about a half hour of bitching and moaning with the common thread being, “our clients suck.”

To my ears this is inexcusable on every level. To be fair, I don’t think most of these guys are prone to thinking that way, but it only took one toxic personality to pipe up and they all piled on with comments about their clients being idiots, not being able to cast or tie knots or follow instructions. They also agreed that most of their clients did not want to be told they were doing something wrong, an important point I will return to.

I get it. There is no shortage of unskilled anglers out there. Many of them, as the group described, are business tycoons who are not accustomed to be told they are wrong. Still, I think there are a couple of very important points being overlooked.

If you are a fishing guide, you are in a service industry. You are being paid for your time and as long as you are treated with basic human respect, it’s up to the client how that time is spent. I have spent my entire career in service to clients who don’t understand my job and are often completely unreasonable and I have never complained about having a job. If that job allows me to spend my days on the water doing something I love, that goes double.

The root of much of this is ego, pure and simple. Fishing guides, and for some reason especially trout guides, can be a wildly egotistical lot. If this stings, it’s likely true. I heard comments like, “He’s a surgeon, you’d think he could tie a knot.” I’ll be the first to admit that doctors can be a pretty egotistical bunch as well. They say the difference between God and a doctor is that God doesn’t think he’s a doctor. Regardless, anyone with that degree has made a commitment to mastering something far more challenging than catching a trout. Perhaps the reason he’s not a great angler is because his job has left him little time for it, and when the time comes that I need surgery, I damned glad his priorities are not the same as mine.

If you expect to be respected for putting in the time, and making the sacrifices, necessary to master the art of fly fishing, then you’d better first learn to respect the choices of your clients. Everyone has skills. To think that being a good fisherman, or even a great fisherman, makes you better than anyone else is childish.

Now I’m going to get to what really raises my hackle.

This idea that clients don’t want to be told they are doing something wrong. This makes me angry because I think I have a pretty good idea where this comes from. First, I’ll admit that some folks out there are just A-holes. A few, but not all. Second, a fishing guide should understand presentation. Most people don’t like being told they are doing something wrong, but many don’t mind being told there is a better way to do it. That’s an important distinction. Still, that’s not the root of the problem, in my opinion.

It’s pretty common to talk to any fly angler, and pretty quickly, get the idea that they think they know everything. Let’s be honest, it’s a pretty universal characteristic. We are know-it-alls, and the reason is pretty simple.

We, the fly fishing community, teach new anglers to be know-it-alls.

Have you ever had the chance to teach a person who knows nothing about fly fishing? It’s amazing! They are sponges. They ask questions, they listen, they learn quickly. It’s exactly what learning should be. But try to teach the average angler with a few years experience. It’s a completely different endeavor. Why?

Because we model bad behavior. Not just guides, all of us. We teach new anglers that to be a fly fisher is to be egotistical. We bolster our egos by tearing down others with comments like, “Our clients suck.” Nobody wants to be told they suck and, even more, nobody wants it said behind their back. These kinds of comments make people defensive and impossible to teach. What’s worse, it makes them behave the same way to others.

We, as a community, have a culture problem. We are putting up barriers to entry by new anglers, and in the process we are hurting the sport.

I had an interesting experience the other day. I was fishing streamers from a boat with a young guide. At one point I was admittedly getting a little worked up over trying to hit every pocket, and I didn’t have quite as heavy a rod as I would have liked. My guide quips over his shoulder,

“You know Louis, you actually have to pause on your backcast.”

The smart-assed tone didn’t sit well, and for a second I thought about putting a hook in his neck for his trouble. But you know what, he was right. I was rushing my cast. I slowed down and fished better. Still, he handled it poorly and my initial reaction was just as poor. None of us are immune to our training. We have been taught to be assholes.

A very wise friend of mine, Tim Rajeff, once told me, “I never offer advice unless I am asked.” I was shooting video with Tim about two years ago and I did ask him to help me with a casting issue. In spite of having two companies to run, you’d think he had nothing to do but work with me on my casting. I am a much better caster after that afternoon. If I’d been too proud to ask, or Tim had been less generous, I’d still be struggling with the problem. That’s what fly fishing should be.

It’s not my intention to come down on anyone, or to place blame, especially on fishing guides.

I have great respect for the folks who do that job. It is not easy. I do, however, want to make everyone who reads this think about how they can be a better ambassador for fly fishing. I want us all to think of ways we can build doors instead of walls. How we can make new anglers feel positive and welcome, rather than self-conscious and judged. It’s on each of us to set an example for folks who want to learn, and for those who are already experienced. If we can create a positive culture in fly fishing, we will all benefit.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!

Follow Gink & Gasoline on Facebook:

31 thoughts on “Are We Being The Best Ambassadors For Fly-Fishing?

  1. After 10 years of fly fishing, I decided to hire a professional guide for a day while I was out West last summer. It was expensive, but I figured I should give it a try once in my life. I modestly told the guide beforehand that I wasn’t a novice, but I was by no means an expert. My casting was adequate but not great. My guide was helpful, knowledgeable and patient, but I came away from the experience a bit deflated. I had to admit to myself how much I didn’t know. Clients like me may not be very knowledgeable, but they aren’t stupid. They know when a guide looks down his nose at their skill level. My guide was great, but realizing my inadequacies made me a little gun shy to repeat the experience.

  2. On the odd occasion when I’m at the GP he has a trainee with him and I ask if I can ask them a question and he agrees. And the question is always “What is the most important thing you will do as a GP?” You should hear some of the answers I get. None of them are correct and when I say so they have a look of disbelief on their face and ask what I think it is. “Ah ha, every consultation is a one on one role play and if you and the patient do not understand everything which is in the conversation you have wasted yours and the patients time”. It is the same with guides, if the info is not exchanged and understood it is a WOFTAM (waste of effin time and money) so the goal will not be achieved.

    In the last 12 years I’ve spent 1500 hours fishing with guides and I have only had to put up with one arsehole so I have been lucky. I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve been fishing for 68 years so I still have a lot to learn. And yes I have passed on some of my secrets to the guides.

    Thanks for the article. Cheers

  3. The key to helping is, as Louis notes, not pushing yourself on someone. We spend the summer, in a public RV park, about 30 feet from Hebgen Lake just outside West Yellowstone. Maybe five or six times a summer, someone is standing on the shore “buggywhipping” a fly and getting nowhere. Both my wife and I just gently ask “would you like a casting tip or two.” They all accept happily, and thank us for anything. Really, how you approach someone is really the key….most of us can recognize a jerk immediately.

  4. And as ambassadors for fly fishing, we should start with children. Take a girl or boy fly fishing. Open their world to nature and conservation.

  5. I began guiding/instructing in 1985. It took me several years, but one of the most important things I learned was to ask my client what they were they looking for, what was going to make this a great day. All too often I was solely focused on what I would want, big fish. I learned that was not always the case. I would hear, “I want to catch as many fish as possible”, “I was hoping you could teach me to double haul”, “I want to enjoy the fall colors and if I get a few fish, great”, etc.
    Taking the time ask and listen made our time on the water much more productive and enjoyable.

  6. After 48 years of fly fishing, I’m glad to say I’m still learning and still love the sport, I love it so much that I am willing to lose friends and talk to people of the important things. that being the resource and its environs

    Lets help the rivers and the fish stick around for a heck of a lot longer.. Is there a need for yet another Grip and Grin Hero shot, for the guide or the client, really is there?? So many guide fail to that the lead on this it is sad.. for clients you and the shop owner/staff are the first contact.. set the tone and start them right.

    How about we clean up a little bit of the river every time we go out.. there is room in the driftboat for a small garbage can, or in your pocket..

    How about we keep them wet.. treat the fish with utmost care and best practices or soon we will just be wiggling long sticks in empty dead water.

    This has been my change over the years.

    We don’t need another YouTube Flyfishing or IG hero , that owns a drone and a driftboat but no depth of knowledge and or understanding of their actions and affects to the resource..

    I and most of my friends offer advise and assistance as gently as possible and with as much humility as possible, but when needed as firmly as possible..

  7. Hmmmmm. I think this article is still written with some anger, because it doesn’t make a lot sense and my comments to follow aren’t out of anger or defensive more like trying to follow an angry experience.

    What was the meeting you attended about??
    1) Guides saying that their clientele sucks is definitely WRONG, shows that they are quite inexperienced. Sounds like you attended a rookie after season party. Why didn’t you, the senior guides, and/or the facilitator(s) call these guys out?!?!?

    2) The Tim Rajeff paragraph about ” Not giving advice unless asked” How does this fit in about an article about guides???? Guides are payed for their advice….

    3) You were pissed about your “young guide” giving you advice?? Were you NOT on a “guided trip”? I’m assuming you were?? Sounds like
    the “guide” was doing his job and the ego part was on you. What am I missing??

    I’ve been guiding for 20 years in the west and maybe a handful of times had clients not want to be told what to do. Almost every time an experienced angler gets in my boat the first thing they say is….”critique my technique.”

    We are payed to tell them what to do, it’s that simple.

    Sure, some guides can be know it all a-holes but most guides know that most anglers on guided trips are going to need help with their technique in some form, it’s why they are their in the first place….

    Sorry Louis, but I believe this article needed more time to collect and organize your thoughts because as it is now it’s not cohesive.

  8. The article nailed it. I’ve spent a few “after hours” and in-shop time with guides and what Louis reported was very accurate. I only have a couple of seasons of guiding (a long fall and fractured back took care of that fun), but my experience was that the clients were the highlight of the day and not the bitch sessions with the guides. I rarely hire a guide, not because of arrogance, but because I enjoy the solitude and learning experiences on my own. Flat out, Kevin Wildgen is the best guide I’ve ever been around. Part of that may be his background as a teacher but I think it has more to do with the type of person he is . . in and out of the boat.

  9. A few years ago I towed my 17 ft. flats/bay boat down to Islamorada from my home in Mobile, AL to meet up with a friend for a few days of fishing for bonefish on the flats. I first fished this area back in 1969 and have fished it at least a dozen times in the almost 50 years since. I do not claim to be an expert but I have caught several nice bones on these flats over the years. My friend and I tried to be good citizens we did not crank the outboard anywhere near the fishing area and we tried to steer clear of the other boats on the flats, we just poled along quietly looking for fish. We had several guides cut us off by polling wildly so they could get in front of us and another guide pulled along side us while we were fishing to ask “If we were OK and to give us a lot of unsolicited advice that amounted to we should just stake out somewhere out of the way and wait for a fish to come to us” This was not necessarily bad advice but it was condescending and not asked for and I told the guide the same thing. We did catch one nice tailing bonefish in three days of fishing and it was great drifting over the flats looking at the sea life and eating fresh, grilled dolphin every day but the experience with the guides was very aggravating.

    • Although a little off Louis’ tact of one on one interaction, Dean’s note on guide rudeness can also effect our perception. For five years my wife and I rented a house, for a month, on Lower Matecumbe, in the Keys, and worked the flats from Bud N’ Mary’s to Caloosa Cove. We never had a bad interaction. It probably helped that we were there most every day and became a familiar sight, but there are some really friendly folks among a guide population that is said to be overly cranky.

  10. Sometimes fly fishing seems to have cliques. Theres the shop guys, the guides, and the social media types. then theres the rest of us. i think the first three can get kinda up their own asses sometimes and it puts the last group off.

    I think everyone needs to remember that at the end of the day we are just trying to get an animal with a small brain to eat a bunch of feathers tied to a hook and nothing more. It is a fun, cool sport that most times will lead you to great people (2 dudes that stood in my wedding were met via fly fishing), and the places it can take you if you stick with it are some of the greatest natural treasures on earth.

    The knot thing is interesting. I am proficient at rigging and have my own rigs im confident in, but I usually let a salt guide rig. give them full control of the system, end to end. If he’s confident and uses that rig 150 days a year, so am I. Maybe im in the wrong there.

  11. If there is to be any hope of a future that includes fly fishing, we need to get over our differences. That means working together for conservation, restoration and preservation of our wild native fisheries resources. If we spent more of our money and time on restoring habitats, improving water quality, and advocating for our wild fish, and less time spent pissing on each other’s boots over techniques and ethics, we could get some great things done. When you are about the business of service, with no personal gain in mind, giving yourself to the betterment of the resource, habitats and environment, you no longer have time to compete with your fellow fishermen. Habitat restoration programs and projects abound, in every state. Find one, roll up your sleeves, and get involved. Here’s a good one, of many, as an example :

  12. Hi Louis,
    Great thought provoking article.
    Reminds me of a day I was on vacation in Orlando getting gas on rt 192. The guy behind the counter pissnmoaning about all the damn tourists and how it was better before they came?.. I walked outside and as far as the eye could see businesses brought to an area because of tourists…
    Sort of the same maybe, is it chicken and egg syndrome?
    I don’t have a clue.
    What I do know is I love fishing. Any time I get the chance to go, I love it. Some times it’s great, some times it’s ok. Every time it go I realize how fortunate I am to be doing it!
    Yup sometimes you run into the a-holes. Just like everything else in life. But I agree with you, just like fishing a stream and picking up trash. If you make a conscious effort to leave it better than you found it, it will get better!
    Have a good one!
    Ps- when you getting some more g-n-g stickers in!

  13. Good points. I’ll add that the people who can tie their own knots and cast don’t hire guides. Guiding is a teaching job. It would be great if every client just needed a guide for his boat, but that’s unrealistic.

  14. As a Physician I very seldom get to fish. I only started fly fishing when i was 60 years old, because of my practice and raising and educating five children took all of my time. I always tell the “truth”, that I have done it before, but looking for help. Also, I hire a guide for pointers on doing “better”.and my decreasing eyesight for putting 5-6X tippet through a #12-16 fly. It is expensive, but worth it to me. I’ve been fortunate to learn from excellent fishermen and teachers. The originators of this website foremost. I have only been with one arrogant fly guide, and glad he wasn’t my introduction to the sport. If he had, I would have tossed the fly rod and gone back to the spinning reel. I read early on that fly fishing could never be mastered. Guides are paid to help and give advice. Most people just want to have a good time.

  15. I will admit….I am an example of the complaining guide (at times) but have learned my lesson of appreciation and gratitude for the job. However, being in the position after months of guiding and someone bringing up bad clients, it’s easy to get off the handle talking about stupid shit. I’m not defending those guides in the meeting but I understand. Any job no matter what comes with some downsides. But when you’re with familiar faces (other guides) it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and chat about the daily struggles on the water. I love being a guide and will forever be grateful for the opportunity. All I’m saying is we all need reminders once in a while.

    Sam Saran

  16. Even though opinions are like a$$holes in that everyone’s got one, this is one article that begs for a simple summary. So here goes…everyone in this article needs a little thicker skin. Nothing could be worse in a guided fly-fishing experience than a thin skinned adult male except if that person is a bully. Louis you always have my utmost respect but a constructive criticism comment such as …hey you know their’s a pause on a fly-fishing back cast, no matter how derogatory it may sound at the time is just that, CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Thick skin men,thick skin…just not thick skulls!

  17. I can see both sides of this. I will say if the beers start flowing every guide has a story or two of a clueless client that’s worth sharing, as long as no personal info is involved. And when you get an a-hole in the boat for the day (especially when you get stiffed), it’s hard not to vent and find common ground with other guides. Salve for the soul.

    But you’re absolutely right, this is part of the gig. And part of being a good guide is taking these things in stride. If you’re lucky enough to guide exclusively professional fly-fishermen, please sell me a copy of your business model. Otherwise you’re out there with the rest of us, fishing with someone who has maybe never seen your water, very likely never been asked to make the casts you need them to make, and often times don’t even have the fundamentals. That’s where we come in, to do our best to sort them out, learn their weaknesses and help them have a good time on the water in spite of them.

    Up here in Alaska, a lot of our guides have the god complex. A lot of them are exceptional fishermen. The girls that date the movie stars and pro athletes in the lower 48? Most of those Barbie doll types go for the guides up here. And you’re absolutely right Louis, it’s prohibitive to the sport. Hell I’ve been fishing for nearly 30 years and done some guiding myself, and I’m intimidated by a lot of the guides and even the fly shop folks up here. It’s a very different environment compared to the small town in Michigan where I grew up.

    I’ve always believed nobody wants you to point out their flaws. Don’t tell them they’re wrong, help them to be right. There’s a big difference in mindset between the former and the latter, and only one of them keeps our sport growing.

    Thanks for the article, Louis.

  18. I have been guiding for 18 years now and it was not easy blazing a trail as one of the first female guides – certainly the first female steelhead guide on the Deschutes. It always has been, however, a lot of fun getting to know so many interesting people from all around the world. They start the day as clients and, in most cases, finish the day as friends. I start each day asking what they would like to get out of the guided experience. Maybe they really want good casting instruction, maybe they have never hooked a trout or steelhead on a dry fly, maybe they have something that makes it difficult to wade (which, by law, we must do on the Deschutes where we cannot fish from any floating device), maybe they want to catch lots of trout and don’t care about size, well… get the idea. By letting the client describe their hopes for the guided day, it helps you make a good game plan.
    I was trained by the best in the business that the day is not about you and your ego – it is always about the client. I talk to them about their lives, their families, their occupations, their other hobbies, their pets, other places they have fished. People love to talk about themselves and in doing so we find common ground, they relax, and we enjoy the day together. Religion and politics are subjects that need not be discussed.
    As for the guiding program, I make the decisions about where we are going to fish and how we are going to fish. Clients are on vacation and making decisions is one thing that many are escaping when they hire a fishing guide. I will never sit in a boat while guiding, I am holding my customer’s arm through the rocky and difficult steelhead wades and I am spotting fish and calling out the spot where the fly needs to land while targeting trout.
    I learn a lot from my clients as I know they do from me. Most are now much more than clients, they are friends. Nearly half the people at my wedding were people who had spent many hours in mine or John’s boat over the years. Have I liked and bonded with everyone I have guided? Certainly not. But I have liked and bonded with far far more than I have disliked.
    Too many guides take themselves far too seriously. We are all out there to have fun, to make sure our clients have fun as we also keep them safe, and to help foster a love for the sport of fly fishing. I also hold the traditions of the sport in very high esteem and love to share with others bits of fly fishing literature, fly patterns with a story and proven track record behind them, and traditional dry line steelhead methods which are very productive and successful if one has faith in the fly and believes in the swing.
    Days can be tough, steelhead returns this year are as low as we have ever seen, our river is facing challenges we could never have imagined, but our long time faithful friends continue to return year in and year out to fish with us. Their loyalty and unwavering support is what keeps us going.
    Any guide who thinks that his/her clients suck is a guide who isn’t doing their job very well. If you take the time to help your clients become better anglers, and to help get their expectations in line with their current skill set (while working to improve that skill set so that they have better and better success in their future) you will soon find that all of your guide trips are fun because you stop guiding clients and start guiding friends.
    Amy Hazel – owner Deschutes Angler Fly Shop and John Hazel & Company, Inc.

  19. I’m not a guide, but I have spent many years in a client service industry. The fact is, everyone complains about their clients when their clients aren’t around. Waiters/waitresses, accountants, lawyers…”this would be a great job if it wasn’t for the clients” was a common utterance when I was in public accounting.

    I couldn’t care less if my fishing guides make fun of me when I’m not around. As long as they treat me well when I’m in their presence…and THAT is the key. If a bunch of guides get together and make fun of clients after hours…fine…but they need to be treating those clients well when they’re working, even if the clients are idiots.

  20. Every single profession has a small percentage at the top who excel, a large percentage who are adequate, and then a small percentage at the bottom who are bad at what they do but managed to pass a test/get a license/knew somebody. Why would you expect fly fishing guides to be any different? I mean I know you would want them to be different, but that, in my opinion is naive.

  21. Great article! First and foremost, fishing is and always should be fun. It’s imperative to the future of our fisheries that all clients of outfitters have a positive experience so they ultimately learn the value of the resource that is providing their enjoyment…and ultimately learn to invest in it. The survival of our fisheries depends on it!

  22. I’m laughing my ass off reading this. This is such picayune chicken shit. When all is said and done clients are there because they enjoy the same sport the guides enjoy.

    What to hear some hostility and trash talk about clients? Strike up a conversation about clients with an IT tech sometime. There clients generally know absolutely jackshit regarding computers and don’t have the slightest interest in learning. Every problem they have represents an impediment to them doing what they need to be doing. They have nothing in common.

  23. “By any measure, guides are the gateway to the sport.” One of your opening statements is total BS. That may be true in your world, it is certainly not true in mine. Much more important are friends, parents, or local clubs. I suppose that if you come at fly fishing from the commercial side, your perceptions are skewed in that direction. I think that most people do not hire guides on a regular basis.

  24. No disrespect to the author intended, but if he sat in at a meeting with guides, a certain amount of trust was extended.
    Going public with private comments is not only unfair but unwarranted.
    After all, who among us hasn’t bitched about their job?

    I believe first and foremost, that clients should set reasonable expectations for their days based on their abilities.
    Sure a guide can help you with a little tune-up, but if you mount his boat with zero experience and expect to knock ‘em dead, well reality for you is going to suck.

    An almost universal complaint among guides is a lack of casting ability, and that’s easily fixable BEFORE your dream trip.

    I don’t know of anyone who was born already knowing how to throw a flyrod…including your guide.
    Funny, we’ll take golf and tennis lessons, have a personal trainer at the gym, get shooting and yoga instruction, but getting proficient with a flyrod never occurs to us until The Day.

    I can see a guy in Wind Chill, Nebraska reclining on his California King, dreaming about catching tarpon until his arms fall off. After all, he’s watched the fishing shows (often filmed over 3-4 days and edited to less than 30 minutes) and it looks like cake. The fact that his best cast wouldn’t clear the edge of the huge piece of real estate he calls a mattress never enters his fantasy.
    Realistic expectations? Should this angler even scratch a tarpon in a couple days of fishing, he ought to buy a lottery ticket. Casting practice is for chumps.
    Want to give a guide a one-way ticket on Life Flight? Tell him or her your best cast is 40 feet, then step up on the casting platform and lay one out 90.
    With 2 false casts.
    Heart attack for sure.

    Instructional days are a great idea. Remember to temper your fish catching expectations, though. A guide shoving a boat around in ten feet of water looking for laid up tarpon with his attention divided between searching for fish and teaching a client is not an optimal condition for either. And by all means, at the end of a day where most of the guide’s time is spent teaching, make sure to wander into the Toad Suck Bar and Grill and tell the guys at the next table you didn’t catch shit while fishing with Gomer. Be sure to leave out the blown shots and the teaching time.Those stories almost always get back to your guide and they’ll appreciate the hell out of you for it.

    When out with a guide, fishing suddenly becomes a team sport. The better you work together, the more success you’ll have.

  25. Louis,
    Your article is excellent on many levels.

    Most significant is the fact that being a fly fishing guide is a privilege wherein each of us who do guide must respect both the environment and our clients at all times without exception.

    Without respect their is no relationship resulting in negative feelings – no matter what the catch and release rate – a guide’s business will ultimately suffer along with their own level of job satisfaction…

    For effective guides client respect is how they conduct themselves and do business each and every time. It is a given…

  26. It’s too bad there is not a way to eliminate the guides who think their client are A*holes. Not only are they the A#holes but they ruin what was intended to be an enjoyable experience by the client and subsequently cause them to find other outlets. I have enjoyed the assistance provided by excellent guides who really knew their shit and I have been extremely dissatisfied with lazy, smart ass “guides” whose only interest seemed to be the size of their tips and how soon they can call it a day. I recently returned from a very pleasant trip to the Pere Marquette where I fished for steelhead for the first time, enjoyed pleasant and knowledgeble guides who introduced me to new techniques and rigging systems. The camaderie amongst the clients and guides was outstanding. I’m sure the guides didn’t hang out after the day and bitch about their clients but rather went home to their wives and girlfriends feeling as though they had had a successful day.

  27. as a ‘client’ who has fished with guides over past 20+ years, I can see the art-form that is guiding. We had a guide in baja over the years, young guy, who we (as clients) would bitch about. He was a dick. Gruff, impatient, critical when you missed a fish. But we all liked to book him. Because he loved to fish, was intense, and worked harder than many others. Most days I would prefer that to one who has good people skills but is lazy in finding fish etc. I agree the key is for the guide to ask about (or client to express) what the client wants to do. If the client’s only goal is to catch their first pufferfish on a fly, a boatload of big snook may not make them happy!

  28. Louis, hopefully it was just a well earned bitch session among friends/co-workers. I guided/tought for a number of years (climbing, backpacking,canoeing, and mountaineering). I then spent 15 years in specialty outdoor retail management. Sometimes you just need to complain about customers to get yourself back out on the floor in the rite frame of mind. If that wasn’t the case, maybe they need to find a new line of work. I used to tell all the folks working for me, “remember we’re selling fun”. Guiding is much the same.

    That being said, I’ve been fly fishing for 40years, and hiring guides for twenty. A number of them I count as friends at this point. I’m fortunate maybe, but I’ve never had a bad experience. I’ve had a couple of times where a guide and I didn’t mix. One that comes to mind was a guy in CT that ran around like a madman, landing fish, tying knots. That guy must have run 10 miles that day, and we were in a drift boat! My buddy and I are just way more laidback. We requested a different guide the next time, but made sure the owner undstood that that guy had worked his ass off, put us into fish all day, and we learned a lot about nymphing. We tipped him well, and went out separate ways.

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but as long as I have a good experience on the water, frankly I don’t care what the guide says or thinks about me afterwards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...