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fishing with a guide?

2006/9/21 0:02
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 821
I have been fly fishing for 25 years and have fished all over the PA and into NY and New England.
I've also taken 9 trips out west, so I have gotten around some.
But in all my travels, I've never fished with a guide.
And it's not because I can't afford it - I just have never wanted to go that route. Part of the beauty of fly fishing to me is gathering as much information as i can about the streams that I will be visiting and tying up the patterns I think I will need. And I always take my vice and tying materials with me for when I come across something that I don't have.
Granted, there have been times when I haven't done very well. and would have been well served by hiring a guide. I've just never felt the need to do it - I've always been a person who likes to do things for myself. And even if I ever would go with a guide and caught a zillion fish, I doubt if I would feel as though I really accomplished anything.
Now, I don't have anything against people who hire a guide - it is certainly a prudent thing to do. If you spend a lot of money and time to fly across the country to fish, why not spend a little more to do it with someone who really knows the water well.
I'm sure I'm probably in the minority for thinking this way, and maybe not very smart.
Just wondering how you guys feel about this

Posted on: 2007/1/20 0:07

Re: fishing with a guide?

2006/9/10 20:44
From Fayettenam
Posts: 359

I started fly fishing because of a guide. I was on a business trip in Colorado and we were given an "activity day"; one of the choices was a 1/2 guided fishing trip on the frying pan river. I took it and caught a couple of trout on a dry fly. I owned a fly rod within a couple of days returning to PA and have never looked back.

Now I look at it as a time issue. Not very often do I get to travel just to fish. I have on several occasions hired a guide when I traveled for business and there is no way I could have even found the streams or fish in the amount of time that I could fish. Last year at a wedding we hired a drift boat in Maine for smallmouth for a ½ day and had a blast. Again with the amount of time we had to fish a guide made sense. If I had a few days to putz around it would be a different story and actually I would prefer that route to the guide.

Both ways have their place

Posted on: 2007/1/20 0:47

Re: fishing with a guide?
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 439
I agree with your views and couldn't have said it better.

Posted on: 2007/1/20 9:42

Re: fishing with a guide?
2006/9/13 12:42
From Altoona, PA
Posts: 16
I've hired a guide on a few occassions.

Once, I went out on a trip with Bobby Clouser (Bob's son), because it's a fantastic opportunity to go out with him and I couldn't pass it up. I learned more about fishing the Susquehanna in one day than I might have learned in a decade.

Another time, (before the Clouser trip) I went out on a trip on the Shenandoah with a guide through Harry Murray's shop. I learned a lot about smallmouths that day! Although the smallmouth fishing was poor, we chanced upon the best bluegill fishing of my life. The guide was amazed that I was excited about fishing for bluegill. He wanted desperately to get me onto some big bass. I was in heaven.

I also hired a guide because I wanted to take a float trip down the little Manistee while I was up in Michigan. I don't own a boat, and if I did working out the logistics of that float would have been beyond me. We didn't catch a ton, but it was a great day.

I think if a guy hires a guide to catch a lot of fish or big fish, he's going to be frustrated more often than not. I look to guides to teach me about fishing or about the water they guide. I also think that it's the only way you can have some kinds of experiences (such as float trips). As far as hiring a guide to learn how to flyfish... I'm not sure about that one. There are some great schools run by flyshops, TU chapters etc. that are more focused on that. But in all, I like the idea of working with a guide on specific issues.

I've been tempted to, but have not yet, hire a guide for Penns Creek. That's a stream that is a real tough nut to crack for me. It's a tough nut for a lot of guys, actually.

Posted on: 2007/1/20 10:30
Never challenge a cat to a staring contest

Re: fishing with a guide?

2006/11/2 8:50
Posts: 1698
I don't like people telling me what to do. And I'm cheap.
So, paying someone to tell me what to do doesn't appeal to me.

A driftboat trip on a big river in the west might be an exception, because on some of those rivers a boat is the only way to reach much of the river. On one of these trip, though, I suppose I'd really be looking for a "boat driver" more than a guide. Someone to get me downriver, drop me off at a nice spot, then leave me alone.

I'm sure doing just what the guide says would yield more fish. But if I use his leader setup, his flies, cast where he says, and drift them like he says, and he nets the fish as well, who caught the fish, him or me? Would I really be fishing, or just acting as the guide's "puppet?"

Posted on: 2007/1/20 14:16

Re: fishing with a guide?
2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
Posts: 2833
I tend to feel like troutbert. Most of the enjoyment I get from fishing is figuring things out for myself. If I decided to hire a guide in order to gain access to a water, or use a driftboat, or just find water where fish and bugs might be, I'd probably ask them to keep much of the helpful tips to him or herself. That said, I would probably ask questions from time to time to gain from their knowledge base about the water and the fish, but I'd prefer to control the flow of information based upon the questions I ask. My tip at the end would reflect how well they controlled their desire to instruct me on each detail. I think a good guide should be able to adjust their techniques to personality types.

Posted on: 2007/1/20 15:28
"If you see the Buddha in the road, please slow down and see if she is OK." OK?

-- Me

Re: fishing with a guide?

2006/9/9 20:09
From Harrisburg
Posts: 54
Dear dryflyguy,

I pretty much like to figure things out by myself too, but I have fished with guides about 8 or 10 times and all of them have been positive experiences except for one.

All of the times that I fished with a guide it was because the guide offered access and local knowledge that would have taken me years to acquire on my own. Most good guides are very aware of the skill levels of their clients and they pretty much leave competent anglers alone except for providing transportation and lunch. The guides I have fished with have offered suggestions and provided me with a lot of knowledge, and it wasn't always fishing knowledge. They tend to tell good stories and offer a lot of local color, and that is worth something to me.

There are certain trips where a guide is pretty much a requirement. If you are vacationing in Florida and you want to fish the Indian River for redfish and specks you aren't going to do it without a boat. Same for bonefish. That is where a guide is invaluable. I took several guided trips with Bob Clouser and he taught me how to handle a jet boat. I would have probably wrecked my boat if I tried to do it without his help. Those trips were worth far more money than I actually paid for them.

Tim Murphy

Posted on: 2007/1/20 19:49

Re: fishing with a guide?

2006/9/14 20:03
Posts: 25
Similar to Tim’s experience, I’ve used a guide on 8-10 occasions. Except for one time I’ve never used one in the state I lived figuring I have the time to explore and learn on my own. The one exception was a field school I was on in Wyoming. I’d already snuck out a few times after class to go fishing and eventually the other anglers in the class caught on. When our day-off in Jackson Hole came up, I had about 10 anglers asking me where we were going fishing. So we ended up hiring 3 guides with drift boats and floated the Snake.

The rest of the times I’ve hired guides it falls into one or more of 3 circumstances. Time is short, a boat is required or I’m fishing with a novice. I’m not much of a teacher and lack patience so I pawn off the novice on the guide. I’ve always had a good time fishing with guides, even some of the shaky ones provide memorable experiences. Its a good way to get up to speed quickly in unfamiliar territory and what you can learn in just a day pays off down the road.

Posted on: 2007/1/21 14:34

Re: fishing with a guide?

2006/9/9 16:33
Posts: 33
I probably will never fish with a guide, thats just counter character for me. (too cheap to pay for someone to tell me that i suck)

But here is a way to look at it. I play guitar. I have played for years. I can learn any song that I want, but usually play the same ones over and over again. Every time I play with someone else I learn more and faster than I would by my self. We all develop our own styles and habits. Some are good, some are not. playing guitar (or fishing) with someone else lets you see their style, and what works for them. You learn.

I do enjoy fishing with others, I always learn something. I owe many of you some big thanks!

Posted on: 2007/1/22 17:22

Re: fishing with a guide?

2006/10/26 23:01
From Ohio
Posts: 0
I agree with the above in general.

That being said, I have hired a guide twice to teach my wife to fly fish. Money well spent. I learned a lot, too. When you travel far to fish unfamiliar water, a guide cuts down on that driving around time looking for access and good water. If you think they'll tell you the good spots as a tourist fisherman in a local fly shop, you're a fool. And they guidebooks serve to misdirect you as well.

I will also hire a guide next year for a float trip next year in Washington state as I don't have a boat and if I did I couldn't take it with me on the plane.

Posted on: 2007/1/22 19:03

Re: fishing with a guide?

2007/1/22 21:49
Posts: 49
For me, it depends on the circumstance. I have fished with Bob Clouser 4 or 5 times because: A) He is a great person to be with and B) You can cove a lot of the Susky River in a boat.

i have been trying to get into the Inshore angling and have met much frustration. If I had the means, I would do it with a guide. You get a lot of local knowledge, and the guides tend to know where the fish are stacked up.

For my trout fishing, i haven't done the guide thing, yet. I am however going to float a copy of days with the Grizzly Hackle because two of the guides are from the locale I live at and I hear it is a wonderful time. Most of my fishing east of the mississippi, I have the attitude (which is probably wrong) that a trout stream is a trout stream. The fish are generally going to hang out in the same places; it is just a matter of scale. I would however, like to fish with a guide on the Yough. My experiences have been way too inconsistent on that river.
If I had the means, I would hire a guide more often, depending on the situation.

Posted on: 2007/1/22 22:00

Re: fishing with a guide?

2006/12/7 18:13
Posts: 270
I never did the guide thing unless you count the mate on a party boat.

I guess I don't think that it's necessary for me to pay for my pleasure.

It might be the same reason why I've never hired a hooker.

Posted on: 2007/1/23 8:25

Re: fishing with a guide?

2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
Posts: 53
Only in saltwater or in big impoundments in texas.

Although, I have the luck of having been taught to fish by a good friend and former guide.

If you like to do things that way and can afford it, then by all means do so.

To be honest, I wish I could just pay them ten or twenty bucks to take a highlighter to my map and just be honest.... well, I wish it were free, but good advice hardly ever is.

Posted on: 2007/1/23 11:24

Re: fishing with a guide?

2006/12/13 9:28
From Other side of the tracks
Posts: 4063
Oh man. This thread would be a good place to really stir things up ... but i won't. Just letting the moderators know that I am still using a lot of restraint here.

By the way. I never hired a guide for hunting or fishing, and I don't see a need for me to hire one in PA or Ohio, but I would probably consider one for a big trip out west to totally unfamiliar territory. It can save you a bunch of time. I can see no other reason for hiring one (for myself of course). I like to explore.

Posted on: 2007/1/23 13:28

Re: fishing with a guide?

2006/9/11 11:30
Posts: 197
Been fishing for 40 years and went out with a guide 6 times. Spend most of those 40 years looking down on people who fish with guides, but I do enjoy fishing with one now and again. Started 2 years ago after winning a guided trip on the West Branch as a TU award. Learned plenty. Since then I've been guided 3 times on the Finger Lakes - I don't have a boat and local knowledge is important on large lakes, and spent two days with a guide on the Salmon R learning the King Salmon/Steelhead routine.

It is cheaper to fish with a guide if you need a boat and tackle for something you do only a few times - it doesn't pay to buy a boat or special salmon tackle if you only do it rarely.

The local knowledge gained is the real advantage. Put aside the fishing, the good local guides are great for local history, geology, where to drink and eat, etc, etc. They have also been really interested in local fishery management issues and it has been fascinating to see how other fisheries are managed and what works and doesn't work other places - and getting that info from a professional who fishes every day. Learning about an area from a local working stiff is much more interesting than always doing it on my own. However, check around and make sure to get a good guide - not all are (and some good ones aren't the guide for evey taste) and your experience depends on doing homework.

Finally, for TU members call or write the TU chapter in an area you plan to visit and get some local dirt from them. TU guys really know their areas and are generally willing to talk all day about them. Get the real skinny on the local fishing. I have found that guidebooks aren't wrong in a general sense, but can't keep up with local conditions year to year and season to season. What's hot changes all the time in the field, but not in the guidebook. Where to fish if it is a flood or a drought, what hatches are great and what ones are disappointing, and where the crowds seem to be are not something a guidebook can get into.

Posted on: 2007/1/23 13:50

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