Being a guide

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

  1. flybill

    flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Messages:
    2,948
    Likes Received:
    431
    Location:
    One of those "blue lines" in the WA, MT,
    I've been asked by my non-fishing friends, why don't you guide Bill? My main answer is I would rather spend my time on the water fishing! However, the real reason is that if I was looking for a guide, I would want someone more experienced than me. I don't specialize in one river or drainage. I'll teach you how to cast and present, and I'll even fish with you, but I don't want to be responsible for you catching fish or whatever it takes to make you happy on your fishing trip!

    I've fished all over and like the diversity of the places I've fished! Washington, Montana, Idaho and Oregon.. Once in Hawaii off of the Big Island.. As a guide you have to specialize in somewhere and really, really know it! I still have too many places I want to go!

    So YT, when are we fishing again? I'll be over at the WA FFF Ellensburg event.. let's do it if you have time!! Nice post!
     
    Bob Triggs and Whitey like this.
  2. Trapper

    Trapper Author, Writer, Photographer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Messages:
    1,065
    Likes Received:
    2,051
    Location:
    Montana
    Home Page:
    I guided in Colorado (South Platte and Arkansas) and then in Montana (Missouri, Blackfoot, Smith). As an Independent Contractor guide, I worked with lots of guides, outfitters, and several shops.

    I didn't start guiding until I was 40 and by then I saw the world very differently than I did when I was a kid riding my bike down to the Arkansas River that ran through my home town.

    I'm not sure I have an exact list of what makes a good and/or sucessful guide. There are outfitters/guides I know who have all the trips they can book who yell at their anglers and have done it for 30+ years. I've known guides who didn't know a cased caddis larvae from a hexagenia nymph.

    After reading Whitey's initial post, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with much of what he wrote. I think like many other jobs some people fall in love with the "idea" of being a guide instead of dealing with the reality of actually being a guide. When I taught new guides I told them mostly they'd love all the stories they could then tell their friends. I have lots of them. Some are pretty funny like the time I guided a woman who had never even bait or gear fished before. When she stood in the knee brace of my driftboat with her feet going up and down like race car pistons screaming "It's PULLING!" And I yelled "Set the hook!" and she said "What?" I repeated "Set the hook!" and she screamed "What the F*&K DOES THAT MEAN?" I jumped out of the rowers seat and lifted her rod, then, seeing all the slack line on the water, said "STRIP, STRIP!" To which she replied, "I don't think so." And then the repeat client I had who had brain cancer which eventually took his eyesight. We'd float down the river and I'd tell him "11 oclock. 35 feet. Put a serious reach cast into it." The guy grew up casting in the Florida Keys so he could really throw some line. I'd say "FISH!" and he'd set with the prettiest and most perfect hook sets you ever saw. I finally got a really nice letter from his wife Shirley telling me he died. "His last few years all he talked about was fishing the Missouri with you."

    My point is, and Whitey's too, was you don't do it for the money. You don't do it because you'll fish more.

    You do it for the stories.

    Trapper
     
  3. Roper

    Roper Idiot Savant

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Messages:
    5,020
    Likes Received:
    2,235
    Location:
    Glenraven Ranch
    Hey Whitey, I make a damned good client....;)
     
    Whitey and flybill like this.
  4. Derek Young

    Derek Young Emerging Rivers Guide Services

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    3,449
    Likes Received:
    2,001
    Location:
    Ellensburg, WA
    Home Page:
    I certainly didn't go to graduate school with a plan to be a guide, but over the 17 years I toiled in the corporate world I learned and experienced quite a bit. Some of those stories come in handy with a CEO on the boat for the day, because we have a common language and it translates into my philosophy on the water. It's also quite satisfying to introduce a new angler interested in the pursuit, so conservation and ethics are the cornerstones of the day. It is certainly a benefit to be wiser in the ways of the "real world" when guiding. The young person who takes his first guiding job quickly realizes how the game works, and that's often enough a spark towards two decisions - I'll be satisfied working for someone else, or I want to make the decisions, take on the responsibilities, and work on my terms. That spark is the money issue; how do I live doing what I love?

    It is difficult to succeed in any industry to the degree that most of us want, or are "trained" for. As Ryan points out, those of us already exceeding the legal expectations of the WDFW won't see much change, but the clients who hire guides certainly will.

    I much prefer the boardroom discussions on the river, solving problems that really matter. Great post Ryan.
     
  5. Kaari White

    Kaari White Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    846
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I'm pretty sure the key to being a successful guide is marrying well. ;)

    I'm sure it varies, but my experience with real guides is that they love it so much that they'd row people down the river for free if they weren't guiding, are out fishing for fun in their free time and all vacations are based around tides and fishing seasons.
     
    John Hicks, dfl, Bob Triggs and 6 others like this.
  6. Derek Young

    Derek Young Emerging Rivers Guide Services

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    3,449
    Likes Received:
    2,001
    Location:
    Ellensburg, WA
    Home Page:
    Amen to that, Kaari.
     
    Kaari White likes this.
  7. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,183
    Likes Received:
    170
    Location:
    White City, Oregon, USA.
     
    Bob Triggs likes this.
  8. mx610ktm

    mx610ktm Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Bozeman, Mt
    Ill say I have never paid for a guide and never will. A: they cost way too damn much money, don't care how good you are. I generally always find fish B: I don't care if you know where the sweet spots are. The fun to me is figuring all that out on my own. No one wants to figure out anything on there own anymore. I would say the exception to that would be if I took a trip out of the country, Argentina etc. but in the northwest. not gonna happen. ANd to be honest most of the guides ive met on rivers in the northwest will fish right through you if your wading like they own the river. that's why ill never fish the Yakima again.
     
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  9. flybill

    flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Messages:
    2,948
    Likes Received:
    431
    Location:
    One of those "blue lines" in the WA, MT,
    I used to think this as well, but there are times when using a guide can help so much and the $$ is worth it to me! My first guided trip was on the Missouri River (Holter Dam down to Craig). Dan Kelly at Wolf Creek Outfitters! I asked him how long we were going to be out on the river, he said about 8 hours.. we were out for 11 hours!! I caught so many fish, I stopped counting at 30.. It was a trico hatch in late July and an absolute blast. I learned so much and it has helped me catch so many fish in the past 12 years. My most memorable catch was up higher on the Missouri, up by the dam up above Holter.. I hit a caddis hatch where I couldn't breathe through my mouth without eating a bug! Fished a little eddie with dries, broke off three fish before I finally hooked and landed a 22" super fat, football sized bow! No camera, no cell phone camera... I can still see it to this day!

    So would I hire a guide? Hell yes, if they are the right guide on the right river and have something to teach me! I consider any trip with a guide an opportunity to learn something, whether it be just learning a new river, some new technique or just hearing some awesome stories and sharing time on the river. I like to offer to have my guide fish with me, but I understand why some don't. I understand that most guides will not be comfortable doing so since they don't want to make their client unhappy... They might hook that big fish that the client should have caught!

    Oh yeah, I have fished with Whitey for a while and highly recommend him! Definitely a class act! And he works with some great guys at Troutwater!!

    Yes, Whitey, I do want your bud light! :)

    Tight lines!!
     
    dfl, Bob Triggs, Gary Knowels and 2 others like this.
  10. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,183
    Likes Received:
    170
    Location:
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Many, many well written responses above, and I like this one in particular .......... looking back in time. Never was a 'Guide' in the 'pay me' sense but it was a great way to spend a day with a valued business client. One who was, or one I wanted to be that way.

    One of the 'best days' was at a U of Washington football game and it was raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock. This was not going to be good sitting in a hard seat for three hours. Out came my 'inclement weather kit.' Huge plastic bags, small sizers (sp?) and an extra baseball hat(s).

    When we got to the stadium I dressed up in full steelhead fishing gear (sans the rod) and off we go. POURED, AND POURED SOME MORE! Out comes the 'kit,' make a rain suit for the Dad and had the 10 year old Son sit in my lap and wrapped him up under my rain coat. 'Snug as a But in a Rug.' Actually the Dad was fine, plastic bags are a hell of a 'heat keeper' even if they can make y y ou sweat like hell at times ....

    End game was he was the Registered Broker for a leading Real Estate sales firm in the Seattle area ..... we became the 'Lender of Choice' when it came to 'recommendations.' All it took was plastic bags and a bit of fore thought.

    A drift with a Client? Hours of talking about 'Shoes, and Ships, Sealing Wax and Why Cabbages are Kings.' I avoided talking "business" unless they brought up the subject. That's not what most were expecting. Frequently we even caught fish.:) A big bonus. Small Habatchi charcoal cooker, pre-made hamburger patties, trimmings and a few beers (well, did have Scotch/Bourbon on board in the cooler).

    Asked on a couple of occasions: 'Why are you taking me fishing?' Answer was 'I enjoy your company. (Probably both? ... Play on words there.) Now lets change our rigs and see if we can get some better action.'

    Can't think of one who didn't like playing with a box full of 'possibles?'

    fae
     
    Bob Triggs and Whitey like this.
  11. Whitey

    Whitey Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,015
    Likes Received:
    200
    Location:
    Far side of the moon
    Big fan Trapper. Love your book. I take the wife to Craig every year and we've said hello a few times. We'll be at the caddis festival again this year. It's great that you take the time to come here and share with everyone.

    I love your stories!
     
  12. Whitey

    Whitey Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,015
    Likes Received:
    200
    Location:
    Far side of the moon
    Of course I will, bring someone from the shop so we can make it a "work" day. ;)
     
    flybill likes this.
  13. Whitey

    Whitey Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,015
    Likes Received:
    200
    Location:
    Far side of the moon
    Take my wife bird hunting with Dr. Todd and I'll be at your mercy.
     
    Kaari White and flybill like this.
  14. Whitey

    Whitey Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,015
    Likes Received:
    200
    Location:
    Far side of the moon
    Thank you everyone! I took a bit of a risk saying this, right or wrong, it's hard to put yourself out there. At least for me. If anything, I just hope the younger generation understands I'm not against you, just do it the right way.
     
    dfl likes this.
  15. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    115
    Location:
    Port Angeles
    Whitey and Cruik, well said by the both of you!!

    Norman - "Paul what do you want to be when you grow up".
    Paul - " A professional fly fisherman".
    Norman- " There is no such thing."
    How times have changed.
     
    Bob Triggs and flybill like this.