Fishing with a guide is simply the best way to learn or visit a new fishery. Whether you're heading to wade fish on a trout stream or heading out for trophy tarpon in Florida, your guide is the key to your success. But there are a few things you can do to maximize your experience both for you and your guide:
Show Up on Time
You never know the exact reason why your guide has chosen a specific time to depart on your adventure, but typically there is a very good reason why they chose that hour. When you're fishing, time is of the essence, especially if you are trying to catch fish blitzing or gorging themselves on a dense fly hatch. Your #1 goal to meet your guide at the time they mention, odds are they know exactly where and when big fish will be feeding, and if you miss that window due to being late, you're really going to hate yourself, trust me, it only took me one late arrival to learn my lesson. Arrive on time and you not only have the best fishing but also maximize your precious time out on the water.
When you hop onto a skiff or start down the trail with a guide, you are literally walking with a fountain of fly fishing know-how. Guides spend more time on the water than most of us could dream of, and have seen just about everything that can happen in their fishery. They know fish behaviors, the water and fly choice like the back of their hand. While you're fishing, ask as many questions as you can and listen. Each time I have fished with a guide or anyone who has spent that much time on the water, I come away with new hacks and new skills to try out on my home waters.
Bring Something to Share
Next time you're prepping for your day out on the water, bring along something to share with your guide. Maybe it's just a few extra cold beverages or some bonus snacks (gummies are a favorite), bringing something extra along is a great way to break the ice and give you something to munch or sip on while you pass the hours casting to the horizon.
Don’t Burn Their Spots
The places guides fish are the lifeblood of their careers. The unique fishing spots they show you that hold beautiful fish are valuable. Don't be that client and start fishing the spots your guide has taken you to, at the very least ask them first. High fishing pressure can turn a honey hole fishing spot into an area replete with smart, tight-lipped fish that have seen too many flies. With more and more anglers jumping into fly fishing, "secret spots" are becoming few a far between, so be cautious about the information you share regarding where your guide takes you fishing.
Tell Your Friends
Word of mouth is the best way to quickly become your guide's favorite client. Share the stories of your time on the water and if you enjoyed your fishing day, tell your friends about who you fished with. This way the next time you are booking a trip you can have a fishing buddy along to join in on the action!