Please Stay Off Your Phone!

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By Justin Pickett

Guides, whether freshwater or saltwater, do yourself a favor and do this one thing when you are with your clients…

Stay Off Your Phone!

We have all become used to this “phones-that-do-all” culture. Cell phone technology has made things so convenient, that we forget what it’s like to function without one. I’m not bashing it. In fact, I’ve always got my phone on me. I use it to complete a load of daily tasks. Even when I’m on the water, it’s in my front wader pocket so I can get to it to take the occasional photo. However, when I’m on the water with clients, it stays on vibrate and I don’t take it out.

Nothing will make your client feel less important than looking over to his/her guide to find them engrossed in Facebook or talking with a buddy about their weekend plans. Anglers hire guides to guide them while on the water, not play on their phones and serve as a net man from time to time. Much of this will sound like some pretty common sense stuff to the majority of the folks that will read this, however, there are guides out there that do this exact thing. I’ve heard some pretty impressive displays of guides not giving a damn and it gets my blood boiling. Hiring a guide isn’t cheap. And when folks do hire a guide, they should expect the best from their guide, and to learn from their guide. No client should walk away from a guided trip without having learned something new, regardless of the fishing.

If the call or text conversation has some relevance to the trip that day, then be sure let your client know. Short of an emergency, any other phone calls or texts can wait until either the lunch break, or the end of the day. The only other reason why your phone might come in handy during a trip is for a quick photo of a client’s catch.

Don’t be that guide. It only makes your client’s feel unimportant and cheapens the experience, and, undoubtedly, it will eventually catch up to you as word spreads about your bad phone habits.

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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12 thoughts on “Please Stay Off Your Phone!

  1. Your post is right on. Nothing wrong with a guide answering a cell phone call on the water as long as the response is, ‘I’m working right now. I’ll call you back when we are finished”

    On the other hand, paying $600 to listen to your “expert guide” chit chat with his girlfriend is a real reputation killer.

  2. FYI, it is a two-way street. Thanks for the reminder Justin, even if you wrote it to your fellow guide friends, it would serve us anglers well to turn the phone off too.

    Clients should stay off their phones and avoid checking e-mails when out fishing as it has a similar effect on the guide’s enthusiasm and efforts. If you “have to” make/take a call or check your e-mail, let the guide and your buddy know ahead of time, and don’t do it while you are in the bow wasting precious shots/time of the others in the boat. Keep it REALLY short and keep your voice low while on the call. Unless you are in the middle of a job negotiation or a family emergency, you owe it to your fishing partners and the guide to stay the heck off the phone.

    Being on the phone in a boat or streamside is a REAL buzz kill for everyone around you, and it takes you out of the zone and the pleasure of the experience of fishing.

    (Note to self: resist the dopamine urge your brain is sending to check the phone next time you are fishing. FYI, I am guilty as hell of it, and pledge to be better next time.)

  3. I fish 3-4 times a year with a good friend where we get a guide, we’ve been doing it pretty regularly that often for the past 8 years. We enjoy our time together on the water, it feeds our soul! The only bad experience we have had in all those trips was with a guide who couldn’t put his phone down. He also happened to be the owner of the service. No tip, and we never went back again.

    On the other hand we fish at least twice a year with the same guide for the past 5 years. We joke that we’ve put at least one of his kids thru college. He’s earned every fee and tip. After all this time he still treats us as if were the only clients he has.

  4. Huge difference between a call/radio comm. on the river that says “See you at Izaak’s at 8:30 PM” click versus “Did you see Bob’s new post on Facebook? It’s just crazy. Anyhow…blah,blah, blah”

    Communicating efficiently doesn’t upset anybody. Bullshitting on the phone upsets everybody. The gap between the two is a mile wide.

  5. The one time I find it ok for my guide to use his phone is when I’m tarpon fishing. It’s pretty useful for my guide to call his other guide buddies who are north or south of us and get a heads-up on schools of tarpon that might be headed our way. He can also check on who’s hooking up and who’s not.

    • Absolutely. Saltwater guides talk back and forth all the time. Especially when trying to locate certain species. This is ok and I expect it, but it’s also related to making the day better for your clients. Those phone calls, or radio calls l, I have zero issue with. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Gary,

    If my guide is trying to get me hooked up by getting some fishing intel, I’m all for the cell phone call! If he is trying to get himself hooked-up, not so much.

  7. Can you guys set-up an “advice for guides” category for your posts. Luckily, I’m not guilty of phone awfulness, but it’d be great to help make sure I don’t miss future posts geared towards guides. Thanks for your continued awesomeness.

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