As a full time guide, one of the most common question I get during the 200 days on the water is: What are three things to look for when hiring a guide? This is an important topic. A client needs to feel as comfortable as possible to achieve the best performance to make a guide trip successful. Why? If you hire a guide that is passionate about giving back to the sport and the anglers enjoy it you are with someone that does this as a way of life, not a lifestyle.
With the amount of information available on the Internet, do a pre-trip study before hiring a guide. Our industry is based on reputation; this is reflected in the top guides for specific waterways. You can read through blogs, articles, and view video footage that will immediately tell you if you can see yourself learning from this individual in a comfortable atmosphere giving you a connection even before you meet them in person. This will also let you know if you are ready for a trip or if you need to work on anything ahead of time to make it more productive for your guide to teach you.
A Learning Experience
In my opinion, the most important thing about hiring a guide is the knowledge that you gain during the course of one day. During a trip, you can literally consume the same information in eight hours that might take six months if you did it on your own. While a good guide is an excellent teacher, the fish provide the best learning experience on the water. And while it might seem backwards, you can learn more from the fish that get away, not the ones you get in the mesh. A good instructor will tell you in a positive way what you could have done differently, or what you did well during the entirety of your trip.
Long time teachers on the water possess a passion of the sport that cannot be learned, it comes naturally. Whether you see it through the excitement while catching a fish or the extra hour you hunt with your guide, this energy will leave you feeling that your adventure was all that mattered during that day.
I am thankful for all the people I have had a chance to teach on the water and I never take a day for granted.