Fly fishermen want to catch fish. This is the essence of the entire sport. Take the love of gear, entomology, casting 47 different ways, tying flies and adventure and mix them into a big pot and you are left with an elixir that is supposed to elicit success and joy on the water. Unfortunately , many anglers don’t have the time or interest in the myriad of sub-skills that help insure the hooking of a fish. That is why fly fishing guides exist.
I have been a guide and a client. There is nothing better than halfway through a day with a fishing guide than telling him that you have also guided, particularly if he or she has been half-assing it through the trip. The guided fly fishing trips that I have been on have been professionally guided for the most part and I remember the trip, not for the guide, but because of the overall experience. Guides that are often remembered by clients are remembered for the wrong reasons. That’s why when I was training guides, I told them that the only thing I wanted to hear from their anglers was what a good job they had done-nothing more.
The stories I have heard from my clients about other fishing guides can be very entertaining and can lighten a day of poor fishing. These tales illustrate the huge disparity in the quality of guiding around the world. The most common frustration that I have experienced and have heard from some well-traveled clients of mine is not about the guide’s skills, but more about what comes out of their mouths. That is why it is time to list some of:
The Things That Fly Fishing Guides Say That Clients Hate
Preparing For Mediocrity
- “I haven’t been here for awhile but it fished ok last time I was here.”
“Yesterday was really good it is too bad the water color is a little off.”
- “It has been crowded lately.”
- “Boy, the weather is going to suck.”
- “The low pressure is sure making them not bite.”
- “Did you bring the flies on the gear list we sent you?”
About The Clients Gear
- “You would have landed that fish if you had a better reel, yours has a cheap drag”
- “That is too much rod for you.”
- The blatant upsell. “Do you like my rods? You can buy one today for 10% off at the shop when you get back. It is today only.”
- “Did you get your gear from your grandfather?”
- “Your waders are leaking because they are cheap.”
How Awesome A Guide He Or She Is
- “I am on So-And-Sos prostaff.”
- “I invented this fly pattern.”
- “No one fishes this spot but me.”
- “We are doing a lot better than those guys;” as he points across river at a group happily having lunch.
- “You should follow me on Instagram.”
- “Lots of companies ask me to test and design gear, but that really isn’t me.”
- “I have been guiding here for 15 years;” usually from the mouth of a 24 year-old kid.
- “This is my secret fly that no one else has.”
And Last But Not Least…
- “You should have been here yesterday.”
About the Author-Sean Johnson