Should I Take a Guided Trip?
There are a number of benefits from taking a guided trip. With a guided trip, you will likely be exposed to new water to fish, insights into techniques, creative fly selection and be given opportunities to catch fish that you may not have had on your own. Anglers traveling to destination fisheries all over the world almost always use the help of guides to help ensure angling success.
Another aspect of taking a guided trip is the comradery and friendships that often are the result of the trip. Taking a guided trip with friends or family can be a great bonding experience and foster lasting memories. Before you go ahead and book a trip anywhere, it's important to run through a few questions that should be on your mind.
It’s Your Choice
If you are the one paying for the guided trip, then it's your choice alone as to whether you decided to go alone or bring a friend.
- Ask your guide about their policy regarding the number of people allowed on the trip. It's your responsibility to ask the guide this question if they haven't already specified their policy about the number of anglers on the trip.
- Typically speaking, if you're doing a walk/wade trip, one guide for one angler is the best way that each client receives the most attentive service.
- If you're floating, there are almost always two seats per guide. Float trips almost always include two clients for the price of one guide.
- It's no secret that the angler in the front of any boat is going to get the most consistent attention from the guide. No matter how good the guide is, it's just a matter of fact that the angler in the back will almost always be the angler with the most experience. Many guides situate their clients in this way and are so good at reading people that they can do it without even having to bring it up.
- If it's a parent/child duo, the child almost always goes in front so that the guide can watch over and give active help to the child. If it's a father and son trip, fathers often want the sons to have the most attention and guides will give the son the front seat. Any time a client tells a guide that the trip is a present to the other guest; most experienced guides will put the client who is receiving the gift in the front seat.
Have Fun With a Buddy
Taking a guided trip with a friend or family member can be a ton of fun. Having your guide take care of you, often row the boat, and tell you exactly where to cast or when to mend, often means that many of stresses of a day of fishing are no longer there. All the stress is on the guide to make it happen. All you have to do is exactly what the guide asks you to do. Once all the stress is gone, you're free to enjoy a day on the water with as much joy and enthusiasm as you can handle. The best way to enjoy a day like that is with a good friend. Think of it just like going and having a nice meal or a cocktail with a friend.
- If you are taking a float trip, it's not a bad idea to switch seats at lunch or hallway through the trip. Your guide is going to give you both the best opportunities as possible, but the angler in the front may have more shots than the other. If you want to be egalitarian about the trip, and especially if you are splitting it, then offer to switch seats.
- If you are doing a walk/wade trip with a friend and a guide, your guide will have to split time between giving you both one on one attention. Good guides will choose spots where you both can fish at the same time and they can still work with you both at the same time. The nature of fishing is that sometimes one spot is better than the other or one angler is in just the right spot. Listen to the guide and respect when they may attempt to rotate you out or let the other client have the next prime spot.
Talking to a Guide or Outfitter
- Be honest about your own skills and the skills of your potential partner.
- Be direct with questions regarding fishing opportunities or specific types of fishing you want to do. Any good guide will combine their local knowledge of good fishing with your request of a specific type of trip For example, "I want to dry fly fish to spooky trout" or "I want to streamer fish the entire trip."
- Be matter of fact about price and what is included.
- Taking a guided trip can offer many epiphanies to you as a client. Try to think about guided trips as less of a guarantee that you'll catch as many fish possible and more of a guarantee that you should learn something new or be exposed to something that you couldn't have seen without the help of your guide. Good guides will push you to try harder, be more accurate, and be more observant. You should come out of any guided trip with new knowledge and experience. Deciding whether you want to share that guided experience with a friend is completely up to you, but remember that sharing a guided trip with someone close is an experience that both will remember for a long time.