How Do Hosted Fishing Trips Work And Is It Right For Me?

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Louis Cahill

I promise you, this is not going to be a sales pitch but a full disclosure.

A good friend of mine suggested I write this article. A good friend who, as it happens, I met on a hosted fishing trip. It’s funny how that works. As I think about it now, there are a whole lot of folks, who I call good friends, who I met on hosted fishing trips. Guys who have turned out to be life long friends and fishing buddies. Some of them are now contributors to G&G. Tim Harris and Johnny Spillane for example. And friends like Scott McKenzie, who I talk to almost every day.

Scott gets a good one!

Scott gets a good one!

Before I ever went on one of these trips, I had a very different idea about what they were. Many of these trips are based around fishing lodges and, like a lot of guys, I thought of lodges as being stuffy, elitist deals where I would have nothing in common with anyone. And I still think lodge fishing can work out that way a lot of times. What I didn’t get at first is that the hosted trips are a way around that. A way to insure that you connect with the guys you’re fishing with.

I learned to host trips from my buddy Bruce Chard. Bruce does a great job and I started going along with him to co-host trips in the Bahamas. I don’t know if I was much help at first but it was sure a lot of fun. It always seemed to be such a great crowd. Finally it struck me. The reason the groups of guys who came on those trips were so awesome is because Bruce was awesome, and they were all guys who loved to fish with Bruce. There were guys still coming on Bruce’s bonefish school for ten years running. The host is there to teach, but these guys weren’t there because they had anything left to learn about bonefishing but because they had all become great friends.

Ryan Thompson wades in Nov 2014

Ryan Thompson wades in Nov 2014

Imagine that you have ten fishing buddies who have the same interests as you and they are willing to go on any epic fishing adventure you can think up.

That’s kind of what it’s like and after a while, that’s kind of what it is. In a couple of weeks I’ll be joining a group of guys for a week of tarpon fishing. One of the guys has a home in Florida and has generously offered to host the group. It’s not a hosted trip, but that’s how we all met.

4 X world champ Whitney Gould teaching

4 X world champ Whitney Gould teaching

I think it’s true that a lot of folks don’t understand how hosted trips work. Let’s say, I’m hosting a trip to the Bahamas, because I am several times a year. It costs you the same thing it does to go to the lodge without me. There is no additional charge, so how does that work? And I’m giving away rods and reels and lines and clothes. A lot of guys look at that and go, “what’s the catch?”

 Their really isn’t a catch.

Jose's Bar

Jose’s Bar

The fishing lodge business is tough and the lodge sees value in me exposing new folks to their service. They pay me a small commission. Usually enough to cover my tips and air fare. I help the lodge staff make everyone’s trip as good as possible. Happy clients means return business. Basically, I sing for my supper, which is how I manage to do a lot of awesome fishing. G&G sponsors donate gear because they see value in the G&G community.  The way I make it work financially is to take photos, which I sell to folks like Simms and Orvis. It’s complicated but I eventually make a modest living.

 So why should you come on one of these trips? Again, not a sales pitch.

• I do a lot of the leg work for you.

Jeff Forse with AK Bow

Jeff Forse with AK Bow

Before I ever host a trip anywhere I get to know the operation and the fishery. I don’t want to take a group of guys somewhere that turns out to be shady or have marginal fishing. I get to know the guides so I can match them to the right anglers. Destinations don’t  always work out. That means I make the mistakes so that you don’t have to. I’m there when you’re packing or buying flies or booking flights to help you make it a great trip.

• I bring travel experience to the table.

In the process of putting these trips together I have learned a few things. Like, you can’t carry a fly rod or reel onto an airplane in Argentina. Or when your bags don’t show up at the airport in Nassau, you need to call someone on the island to go sit with them while another plane goes to get them because the airport closes after the plane leaves and your bags are sitting out front unattended.

Aleks renshaw gets a Dolly on tenkara

Aleks renshaw gets a Dolly on tenkara

• I help you become a better angler.

I’m not trying to play the expert. I have some skills and experience and I’m happy to share them. I like teaching people to fly fish. I get folks involved who feel the same way. We learn from each other. On our last trip to the Bahamas the best casting clinic we had all week came from my buddy Michael White. It was one of those moments that just clicked for everyone. It was awesome!

Andy Bowen's first day spey casting!

Andy Bowen’s first day spey casting!

• G&G attracts the right people.

Deschutes Steelhead

Deschutes Steelhead

For me this is the whole point. I know too many guys who have had miserable trips because the group they ended up with sucked for one reason or another. When Kent and I started G&G the word that kept coming up was community. We wanted to create a place for a community of like minded anglers. We had no idea how many of you there were, out there looking for the same thing. That’s been the big payoff for me. Getting to meet and fish with that community. That has been amazing for everyone.

Ok here’s the sales pitch!

I’m not very good at making sales pitches so I’m just going to share an email I got this morning from John Hamilton, who joined me on the last bonefish school in the Bahamas.

AK 2014

AK 2014

“I wanted to thank you again for being such a gracious host / instructor during our time in South Andros. Reid and I both could not have asked for a better trip — in large part thanks to time you dedicated to answering our numerous questions and to teach us about everything from strip setting to casting to tying flies and leaders. I speak for both of us when I say that we learned more about fishing in our one week at South Andros than we have in our entire lives previously. It is easy to see why the island and the people there hold such a special place in your heart – it truly is a remarkable place filled with wonderful people, so thank you for sharing it with us.” – John Hamilton

And from Scott McKenzie,

“Also, as someone that has been traveling fishing for 25 plus years, now my preference will always be to go on hosted trips especially to those special places like Alaska, Bahamas or the like.”


We have a couple of great G&G trips coming up.   email for details

You can get more info on all of the G&G hosted trips HERE.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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30 thoughts on “How Do Hosted Fishing Trips Work And Is It Right For Me?

  1. I went on the Bahamas trip last year and it was an absolute blast. We caught a ton of bonefish (18 in one day) and the group provided great camaraderie. Louis had all the details nailed ensured everyone had a good time. Looking forward to my next trip with G&G…

  2. I have a couple questions for you. I’m heading to the Naknek from June-September. What is the best way to transport multiple rods and reels? I will probably be bringing 7 rods and 7 reels. I also have an orvis carry all rod and gear case. Would you recommend carrying this on (I think it might exceed size limits)?

    Thanks so much in advance!

    • I have one of those cases and I’ve never had a problem carrying it on, except in Argentina. It’s rugged enough that I don’t worry about checking it on little commuter planes. I’ll sometimes put reels in my wading boots in checked luggage. I hope that helps. Have a great trip!

  3. Last year I spent a week with Louis and Kent in the Bahamas and had a great time met some really great anglers and the fishing was really good.
    The guides were excellent and extremely helpful with advice.
    I would certainly go again and if time permits possibly this year.

  4. I was on the same trip that Brower commented on above & had a great time. Had one of the best days ever fishing with Kent, thinking we were going to die in a tropical storm!

  5. Surfing Facebook this morning and saw this post. I felt a need to share my experiences with Louis and his hosted trips.

    I picked up fly-fishing about two years ago after fishing conventionally in fresh and salt water since I could remember. As any beginner, fly-fishing is extremely over whelming and humbling. I had taken several casting lessons, a sage trout class, and a surfcasting and fishing class from my local fly shop in San Diego. All giving me a good start but none made me feel like I was getting to the “next level” or giving me the passion for the craft. I had received an e-blast from Simms about a Simms/G&G Bahamas fly-fishing clinic in the spring of 2014. I booked the trip not knowing anything or anyone.

    That week I spent on South Andros will go down as the week I fell in love with fly-fishing. I fished with a few different guys. All complete strangers. Each had a different skill level (all better then me). It was great getting to know them, watching them fish, learning what they knew, and being a part of bigger experience. I went home with more confidence in my fly-fishing ability and a new set of men, of all ages, I can call friends.

    Since that trip last year… I have fly-fished in Alaska, Patagonia, South Andros Island again and heading back to Alaska in July. Incidentally, all of these trips where with one or more gentlemen I had met from the first hosted trip and all but one was hosted by Louis. I have also been asked to fly-fish in locations such as South Africa, Christmas Island, Louisiana, Oregon, North Carolina, Georgia, Montana, Florida, and two locations in Canada. All coming from gentlemen I met from hosted trips through Louis and or with Louis.

    Needless to say, I cannot say enough or put in words what Louis has done for me as an angler. Whatever monetary benefit he does get though hosting. Pails in comparison to the ten-fold return each angler receives during his trips. If Louis call me tomorrow to chase some fish no one as seen in years, during some once very 100-year hatch, in some ridiculously far reaching location. I would simple say “when and where”!

  6. I used to travel with a group of friends but times change and they no longer travel. Hosted trips have allowed me to continue going on various fishing adventures everywhere. This past trip to Andros South with G&G was fantastic. Louis did a great job in getting things together and providing help and instruction while at the lodge. Meeting new people and making good friends while having a great time fishing is about as good as it gets. Guess the best way to sum it up is that I can’t wait to go on another hosted trip with Louis.

  7. I also went on the G&g trip to Andros. My first saltwater trip and it was awesome. Met some great people amd had a blast.

  8. Great article. Let’s try to get that Jonny Spillane out of the shop and on a trip soon! Hosted trips are a great way to meet like minded anglers and learn from those with more experience.

  9. Ya know there is something to be said aboiut that. I was in south andros this past november with a hosted trip ( same weeks as you guys but at a different lodge) and couldnt have been with a nicer bunch of guys. I’ve been on alot of theses trips over the past 25 years and the ‘Host’ really does set the tone and seems to always attract likeminded folks . Our host on this recent trip is one of the nicest guys in flyfishing and, while I knew no one in the group going in ( always a dicey gamble) , I figured the odds were in my favor. Thankfully your theory was proved right again and I’m going back this november with most of the same group. We’ll leave you guys a few unmolested fish 🙂

  10. Hi all
    As a lad I used to fly fish with my father, but as my working life started, I got to do less and less. I then came across Bonefishing while talking with some friends, my ears pricked up and I decided that this was something I had to tick off my ever increasing bucket list, So after doing a little research on the internet, I found myself flying out to Andros South from the UK in November to try my luck with this outfit call Gunk & Gasoline.

    By the end of the first evening I was in possession of a Thomas Thomas saltwater fly rod, which I won in a raffle, and a whole load of Simms clothing. What a start to a fishing holiday!!

    I’d heard that these fish were reasonable swift, once you had hooked them, but nothing quite prepares you for their take off …..what a blast!! I think I caught 25 plus that week and probably lost the same amount. The biggest (this is what Torrie told me) being about 8lbs while we were out walking the flats, what a great guide, so much fun. It really was a spectacular holiday, with a great crowd of guys.

    The weather was awesome, the fishing was unbelievable and the company was great fun. I couldn’t sing these guys praises high enough.

    If you have bothered reading this comment and you’d like to go Bonefishing for the first time, then this is the hosted trip for you, I can guarantee you good company, great fishing, and plenty of laughter.

    I’ll see you in November Louis and remember to drag Murphy out as well.

    (The Waste Management Consultant)

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  18. I like how said that hosted fishing trips are great way for both the fisherman and the host to learn from each other. This is great because it helps them make a lasting friendship. These hosted trips sound like a great opportunity to meet new friends and to fish.

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