Let Your Guide Decide

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Sparkles Makes the Call Photo by Louis Cahill

Sparkles Makes the Call Photo by Louis Cahill

It’s crazy to me but I see it all the time. Guys will spend a fortune traveling to some far flung fishing destination and when they get out on the boat they’ll tie on the fly the guy in the shop at home recommended instead of asking their local guide.

Guides behave differently in different locations. A Florida Keys guide would never let you tie on a fly from your box with out approving it first. He’d more likely just cut it off and tie on one of his own, but guides in other places can be a lot more low key. In the Bahamas for example the guides are very laid back and if a client ties on a fly, they will likely not question it. They of course have an opinion, an informed one at that, and if you ask for it you’ll get it.

I was on the boat one day with, Andros South guide, Jose Sands and an angler who will remain nameless. This fellow is a great fisherman and a guide at home. He had selected a fly from his box and when the time came made a perfect presentation to a huge bonefish. The fish refused the fly.

He looked back at Jose and said, “He didn’t like that, what do they want?

It’s a hell of a time to ask.” Jose replied.

If your transporting your rod to the boat rigged, then by all means, tie on a fly but don’t even think of showing it to a fish with out first showing it to your guide. He fishes this water every day and he knows what will work and what will not. You may be a bad ass at home, but this is his water. Show the man, or woman, your box.

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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9 thoughts on “Let Your Guide Decide

  1. Can’t be stubborn in this situation. When I went bonefishing my guide asked for my box in the truck, on the way to the boat slip. He fumbled though all the flies I had tied and only approved of 2 patterns out of the entire box I had tied up. He said, “You don’t need all of this here, you just need this and this.” But that was ok with me, I caught a lot of bones on those 2 patterns that day.

  2. Great post. New zealand is a whole different ballgame to most trout destinations, but youd be amazed how many clients do not want to vary from what they are used to back home,

  3. Couldn’t agree more on this from my days guiding picky trout in skinny water in CO.

    On the flip side, my sister and I went on a float last January in central Patagonia, Chile. The guide and I talked flies on the way to the river and we showed each other our boxes. I was less than impressed with his tying skills, but I’m sure the flies still caught fish. Long story short, we ended up catching all of our fish that day on my flies, including a nine pound brown trout, the biggest brown of my life and one of his biggest as a guide! My sister also nailed the biggest trout of her life, a 22″ bow. He was going crazy that none of his flies were working but we kept switching back to mine and the fish wanted my streamers not his.

    • Chris,

      I’m never afraid to look in my clients box when the fishing is slow. Sometimes they end up having the hot pattern. Even more true is the flies they often carry in their box are flies they regularly catch fish with and ones they’re confident fishing with. Every now and again when I can’t get my client to hook up, I’ll ask them to go into their fly box and give me a fly that they always catch fish with. You’d be surprised how often that’s the fly that turns the day around for us.


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