Being a guide

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Whitey, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. golfman44

    golfman44 Coho Queen

    Tldr: fly guides are just one big unhappy sorority. They pretend to get along in person with friendly waves from boat to boat, but when given the chance they will gladly rip on that new pledge who must be a slut just because she's young.
  2. Sorry to come to this thread late. I was in a certain southern hemisphere country that begins with "A" doing "research" on big trout ( when it came and went. Thanks to golfmann44 for bringing it back to page 1; I've enjoyed the read.

    My guiding experience was as a climbing guide in Wyoming. Quite a long time ago. But much of what I've read hits home. Guiding isn't all that different whether it is fishing, whitewater rafting, back country skiing (I did a bit of guiding there, too), or climbing. My take on guiding is that you need to be competent at what you are guiding, but that is a distant second to being a good teacher and a good communicator.

    The last two years I guided, I was "Chief Guide" for a pretty well-known guide service in a well-known national park with a long history of climbing and guiding. it was mostly an honorific title, but it put me in a position of helping recruit and evaluate new guides. We had a staff of full-time (if seasonal) guides, and we hired temps during peak season (sort of, if not exactly, like Trapper's independent contractors). The temps sometimes were friends who we could call on for a trip or two and were known quantities, but often were young wannabes who were looking for a full-time gig. I can say with some authority that the ones who 'took' and later came back as full-time guides, were rarely the hottest climbers, and some of the most embarrassing comments we received from clients were about some of the best climbers.

    I went into guiding because I had a friend doing it and his guide service needed some help, and I liked it (and the guide service liked me). I stuck with it as long as I did (even after my friend died in a fall while guiding), because I loved teaching people to climb, and meeting interesting folks from all over. It certainly wasn't for the money, which was, for most of the years I guided, $70/day plus meals.

    Somewhere in the thread, someone asked whether guides fish when they aren't working. In the cohort of guides I worked with, climbing was a passion; we all looked forward to the rare days off when we could head out to climb something with a partner of our own choosing. I don't think it was a 'job' in a pay-the-bills-and-do-something-else-on-weekends sense for any of us.

    Ultimately, I tired of the hand to mouth existence and, with a newly found love of teaching, went back to school and became a university professor. There have been many times over the years since then that lessons in life learned as a guide have helped me to cope with what, on its face, would seem a completely unrelated career. It's funny, I don't get to talk about that time in my life much; most of the people I interact with are unable to relate.

    I don't climb anymore. Fishing has become the passion that keeps me sane and in the out of doors. I certainly didn't guide "for the stories," as Trapper put it, but it certainly has been the 'stories' that have kept that formative time in my life alive in memory.

  3. hydrological

    hydrological beads are NOT flies and snagging is just ghetto

    in 1992 50 bucks was a solid tip for a good guide (2 anglers) 20 years later, 50 bucks is a small tip for a crappy guide (but still too much). 100 is the new 50. on a single person trip, the guide usually makes substantially less in wages, and 75 is a good tip from a solo angler. keep in mind guiding is a profession with virtually no room for advancement. a first year guide usually makes as much as a 21st year guide. even tips average about the same. difference is mostly in repeat buisness, and working a longer season. on the subject of 14 hour days, the only guides working those hours that come to mind, are REAL steelhead guides on rivers like the deschutes, during the long days of summer, usually w/ a mid day siesta. there are exceptions of course, but most people fall apart before they've even fished an 8 hour day. if you are actually on the water for 10 hours with a veteran guide, its a very special occasion, or maybe because your wife, gf, or daughter looks really hot in her new thong up there in the bow of the boat ;)
  4. golfman44

    golfman44 Coho Queen

    triploidjunkie and Luke77 like this.
  5. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

    I guided some guys who effectively wanted 2 trips in one day. Where I live in July we've got 17 hours of visible light (Sunrise 0530. Sunset 2145 = 945 PM). We'd be on the water at 0630 for the Tricos. During the heat of the day we'd take the clients back to the lodge and they'd nap for a few hours. Then we'd be back on the water for the evening hatch. We called those splits and we all hated them.

    While the clients were napping the guides had nowhere to sleep. Trying to sleep in your truck when the outside air temp is in the high 90s or low 100s isn't an option. Trying to find some solitary shade that no one else wanted was unlikely.

    After I was in my 4th or 5th year of guiding I refused those trips unless I was paid a hell of a bump.

    It's true that many anglers will tell you they want to fish from "can see to can't see" and by mid afternoon the sun and the fun catches up to them and they realize they're not 25 years old any more, but some hardcores don't believe they are getting their money's worth unless they're out there on the water for 10 or 12 hours anyway.

    I typically spent an hour or two each day tying flies. The guides were responsible for the flies and tippet. You either tied them or bought them. On a typical day my two clients would go through a dozen flies. For newbies or guys who just got back from 2 weeks of Tarpon fishing, that number would go to 3 dozen a day but again that wasn't typical.
    -- 1.5 hours

    I then spent an hour or so putting lunches together and eating breakfast.
    -- 1 hour

    One to two hour drive to the lodge or shop. Another hour to drive to the put in, launch the drift boat or raft.
    -- 1.5 hours

    Ten hours on average on the water.
    -- 10 hours

    One hour to pull the boat and drive the guys back to the lodge.
    -- 1 hour

    One to two hours drive home.
    -- 1.5 hours

    One hour to clean the boat and wash up stuff from lunch.
    -- 1 hour

    Eat and then go to sleep.

    -- 17 hours

    John Hicks and golfman44 like this.
  6. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    I like guides that are easy going,that fish along beside you and if the fishing is bad will turn the trip into a photo float or stop and go mushroom hunting.After all I'm on vacation and like to have a good time even if the fish don't want to bite. often Mother Nature is unwilling to cooperate with the days plan,I like to adapt to the conditions the present themselfs.
    jordan101 likes this.
  7. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Who hires guides? If you catch a fish with a guide it doesn't really count anyhow. What a waste of money. Catching any fish, if guided, is nothing to be proud of. In fact, you should hide your head in shame, for being so weak that you had to hire a guide. It's no different from having so little game that you have to pay for sex.

    Now buying booze for smarter anglers and getting them drunk so they spill the beans....................? That's just the smart way to do it.

    Go Sox,
    rory likes this.
  8. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    I use to be total do it yourself kind of fisherman ,that was until I had to face reality and get a real full time job to keep the economy going and feed and provide shelter for myself and my family. Now I hire a guide as I don't have weeks of free time to get dialed in on fisheries that are not in my local area.sometimes like my trip this July to alagnak lodge it just makes seems to pay a guide!
    Luke77 likes this.
  9. Ray

    Ray Member

    Using a guide is like having a badass wingman, which in some cases is the difference between taking home a 5, or taking home a pair of 9s.
    Tyler Sadowski, jordan101 and Luke77 like this.
  10. Jeff Sawyer

    Jeff Sawyer Active Member

    So let me get this straight, paying for sex from someone that is ready, willing, able and has enough experience to teach you a few things, is a bad thing?

    While getting someone drunk and taking advantage of them is just the smart way to do it?

    It's not that I have a moral issue with either...just trying to clarify.
  11. Brady Burmeister

    Brady Burmeister Active Member

    anyone that uses a "wingman" should just go home with said wingman. especially if he's badass.
  12. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

    Charles-I know you are a solitary guy and mostly enjoy your own company when fishing, so I can understand your attitude here (and I always enjoy our visits when we meet!) but fish caught with a guide don't count? Who "counts" fish anyway! I'm more likely to count friends I have met while fishing! Also, you fish almost exclusively for steelhead and don't need someone rowing while you pound the banks from a drift boat, but that is a big part of why I hire a guide! Now if I can get you drunk and you tell me where you catch all those steelies, that would be cool!
  13. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    I thought that calling guided anglers so weak "that you should hide your head in shame" would clearly show the post as being sarcastic. I'll chalk it up to the written word though. I think Sawyer got it.

    Having said that, I can't see hiring a guide any time soon even if I could afford it, in the same way I won't be getting any prostitutes. Now, if I were on a strange tropical island............................maybe a prostitute?

    Go on and hire your guides guys, have fun.

    Go Sox,
    Gary Knowels and Jeff Sawyer like this.
  14. Mathew Dahl

    Mathew Dahl New Member

    So to all of us "kids" who have no knowledge about anything... What would be the best route to becoming a guide. I have been fishing for 20 years. Multiple Countries, and States. I have yet to get a guide license, but I have all of the other stuff like First Aid, CPR, AED, Wilderness First Responder. I have always wanted to become a guide. weather it be for an outfit, or just myself. I no it's something you can not just jump into. so what is the best way to get started?
  15. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    why not jump into it? if you're passionate and have knowledge you'll do just fine. i'm not a fan of the guides with little knowledge learning on the job, but if you got skills and the will there's no reason you shouldn't do it.

    you could get a job with an outfitter in another state, work in a shop part time and guide for them, or just start your own deal. the more unique the fishery you want to guide the easier it is to go on your own versus a fishery with tons of guides already working it.
  16. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

    1. Check with the State you want to guide in and see what requirements there are. Montana Board of Outfitters.
    2. Check the State's professional guides and outfitters association website. Here in Montana it's this one.
    3. Go to fly shops during typical non-busy times and tell the owner you'd like to guide.
    4. Research outfitters. Contact them during non-busy times.
    5. (optional) Go to a guide school. Some schools are where some outfitters go to find new guides.

    For your first year it's likely you won't get a lot of work. If you do a good job and anglers give the shop or outfitter positive feedback, you'll get more the next year.