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Cermele: Could You Handle the Pressure of Guiding?

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June 17, 2010

Cermele: Could You Handle the Pressure of Guiding?

By Joe Cermele

I take a lot of people fishing every year, but for the most part they're folks I know well or perhaps friends of friends. If we strike out, I say "too bad." Last weekend, however, I took complete strangers out for the first time. A fishing club I belong to offered a guided day on a private stretch of river to an auction that benefited foster children. I volunteered to play guide, and Steve Gilbert and his 17-year-old son Alex were the lucky bidders. Was I nervous? A little.

Ask 20 fishing guides what they dread in a client and a good percentage will tell you they don't like an angler that's not willing to learn. In regards to that fear, Steve and Alex were a dream to fish with, because catching was only part of the experience. They wanted to learn casting tricks, they just enjoyed the surroundings, and though there were some snags and tangles to pick through, Alex was making some tight-quarter casts by day's end that Lefty Kreh would have been proud of. Which, subsequently, led him to the biggest trout he's ever caught (above). Yeah, I felt pretty good when the day ended.

I enjoyed the trip so much that I started to think, "hell yes, I could do this full time." But I know enough guides to be fully aware that it doesn't always turn out so well as my one day of living the guide's life. So I wonder, have you ever thought about becoming a guide? Do you think you have what it takes to catch fish for money? Or does the thought of fishing becoming "work" not appeal? - JC

Comments (14)

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from Koldkut wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Joe, I'm still figuring out how to make a living fishing. Wether I need to go to school to learn how to write and become the next Kirk Deeter, or Pat Dorsey, or if I need to get in the gear business building rods or starting a rod company, or even starting to guide. My only fear in becomming a guide is the same one you have about turning out some bad days.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

i like to fish and i fish alot there are days i cannot catch a damn thing though and i don't think that would go over well unless i were a muskie guide... I put a total stranger on a bear last year but that was because it was hitting the bait at my deer bow stand like everyday. i asked around for someone with a tag and he had bad luck in other places and ended up shooting a 480lb male off my bow stand.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

I'm at that point in my fishing career where I enjoy watching others catch fish more than myself. I would enjoy guiding.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackdawgz wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Ah reckon.

But not fishing.

Got the shotgun.

Got the calls.

Got the dawgz.

Got the knowhow.

Got the experience.

Just need a chance.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackdawgz wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Not to be insensitive or racist, since my grandfather was a Cajun/Indian, But:

A beautiful young lady exits a grocery store, and an Indian standing outside says, "Chance."

She says, " I thought Indians say,"How"."

Sayeth he, " Me already know how, Me wantum Chance."

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cgull wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

My grandfather guided back in the 60 and after his death my grandmother sold thier campground, grocery store and house. I've always wanted to step into my grandfathers shoes and buy thier old place back. I think I could do well guiding both hunters and fishermen. I cant believe all the guides on the gulf coast now days. Funny too how many of these guides recieved thier captains licenses.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Koldcut...Kirk Deeter is like the Highlander. There can only be one!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

I heard a quote on the radio today that makes me never want to guide even though I know I can take you to three places and catch 30 fish in a day and have a blast right now.

It was a professional golfer and someone had come up to him and said "It must be nice to get paid for playing golf every day". His response? "If you miss a seven foot putt you might lose twenty bucks to your friend. If I miss one my kids might not go to college. It is no longer fun."

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Joe, You trying to tell me that there may someday be a Kirk Deeter State Wildlife Area in Colorado?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

With a carved golden likeness of the man on the highest peak.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

i had enough when i guided hunting trips. i wouldn't want to ruin my fishing too.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Quite frankly, you got to like to baby sit. I guided for 25yrs., the last 10 yrs. a fly fishing guide for steelhead, and for trout.
You get booked to catch fish for the clients, when in reality you put anglers on to fish, or where you expect to find fish, but it is they who must catch them. And not every day you can. When they don't, they consider it your fault, for the most part. The fly guy was far and a way the best client. Most often, he was out for a good time, and put things into the best perspective. The bait guy, or lure guy expected to catch fish if he paid you a guide fee. Most anglers that book trips can't fish very well...some it is their first time, or they have had little experience. They expect you to teach them how to cast, how to present the fly, and hopefully catch fish, and that is a tough assignment. I had anglers that paid the basic fee of $3,500 for the week get off the plane at our lodge in Alaska, and were clueless how to cast. They thought anyone could catch a fish if they came to Alaska.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TFrymyer31 wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

I think that being a guide isn't about the money but helping someone learn about the outdoors. Helping them to better understand and appreciate the outdoors is what it is all about. I would do that for anyone. In some way I would bet that everyone has "guided" another person in someway, whether it was telling them what lure you caught fish on that day or pointing them in the right way to get a shot at a white-tail. If given the opportunity I would drop everything just for the felling of helping someone who loves the great outdoors the way that I do.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

TFrymeyer,
Until you make it your work! Have a tough day with clients that you thought were totally unfair, or even unruly...maybe they brought beer with them, and had one too many. Then you have to get home, clean up the boat, and get ready to go again the next day. People get hooks in themselves, in you, get sick, etc.
When someone pays the money, a lot of the "enjoying" the great outdoors, becomes solely catching fish. I guided folks through a scenic canyon with bald eagles, and bighorn sheep...one of the put-in/takeouts was named Bighorn....most never even looked up when you pointed something out, they were focused on their fly. But the key is to develop a good clientel, and flyfishing is the way to go..much better class of people. And when you get someone, or two people that can cast and manage their line?..You are guaranteed a great day, and a lot less strenuous day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from fliphuntr14 wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

i like to fish and i fish alot there are days i cannot catch a damn thing though and i don't think that would go over well unless i were a muskie guide... I put a total stranger on a bear last year but that was because it was hitting the bait at my deer bow stand like everyday. i asked around for someone with a tag and he had bad luck in other places and ended up shooting a 480lb male off my bow stand.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackdawgz wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Ah reckon.

But not fishing.

Got the shotgun.

Got the calls.

Got the dawgz.

Got the knowhow.

Got the experience.

Just need a chance.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackdawgz wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Not to be insensitive or racist, since my grandfather was a Cajun/Indian, But:

A beautiful young lady exits a grocery store, and an Indian standing outside says, "Chance."

She says, " I thought Indians say,"How"."

Sayeth he, " Me already know how, Me wantum Chance."

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Koldcut...Kirk Deeter is like the Highlander. There can only be one!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

I heard a quote on the radio today that makes me never want to guide even though I know I can take you to three places and catch 30 fish in a day and have a blast right now.

It was a professional golfer and someone had come up to him and said "It must be nice to get paid for playing golf every day". His response? "If you miss a seven foot putt you might lose twenty bucks to your friend. If I miss one my kids might not go to college. It is no longer fun."

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

i had enough when i guided hunting trips. i wouldn't want to ruin my fishing too.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Joe, I'm still figuring out how to make a living fishing. Wether I need to go to school to learn how to write and become the next Kirk Deeter, or Pat Dorsey, or if I need to get in the gear business building rods or starting a rod company, or even starting to guide. My only fear in becomming a guide is the same one you have about turning out some bad days.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

I'm at that point in my fishing career where I enjoy watching others catch fish more than myself. I would enjoy guiding.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cgull wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

My grandfather guided back in the 60 and after his death my grandmother sold thier campground, grocery store and house. I've always wanted to step into my grandfathers shoes and buy thier old place back. I think I could do well guiding both hunters and fishermen. I cant believe all the guides on the gulf coast now days. Funny too how many of these guides recieved thier captains licenses.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Joe, You trying to tell me that there may someday be a Kirk Deeter State Wildlife Area in Colorado?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

With a carved golden likeness of the man on the highest peak.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Quite frankly, you got to like to baby sit. I guided for 25yrs., the last 10 yrs. a fly fishing guide for steelhead, and for trout.
You get booked to catch fish for the clients, when in reality you put anglers on to fish, or where you expect to find fish, but it is they who must catch them. And not every day you can. When they don't, they consider it your fault, for the most part. The fly guy was far and a way the best client. Most often, he was out for a good time, and put things into the best perspective. The bait guy, or lure guy expected to catch fish if he paid you a guide fee. Most anglers that book trips can't fish very well...some it is their first time, or they have had little experience. They expect you to teach them how to cast, how to present the fly, and hopefully catch fish, and that is a tough assignment. I had anglers that paid the basic fee of $3,500 for the week get off the plane at our lodge in Alaska, and were clueless how to cast. They thought anyone could catch a fish if they came to Alaska.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TFrymyer31 wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

I think that being a guide isn't about the money but helping someone learn about the outdoors. Helping them to better understand and appreciate the outdoors is what it is all about. I would do that for anyone. In some way I would bet that everyone has "guided" another person in someway, whether it was telling them what lure you caught fish on that day or pointing them in the right way to get a shot at a white-tail. If given the opportunity I would drop everything just for the felling of helping someone who loves the great outdoors the way that I do.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

TFrymeyer,
Until you make it your work! Have a tough day with clients that you thought were totally unfair, or even unruly...maybe they brought beer with them, and had one too many. Then you have to get home, clean up the boat, and get ready to go again the next day. People get hooks in themselves, in you, get sick, etc.
When someone pays the money, a lot of the "enjoying" the great outdoors, becomes solely catching fish. I guided folks through a scenic canyon with bald eagles, and bighorn sheep...one of the put-in/takeouts was named Bighorn....most never even looked up when you pointed something out, they were focused on their fly. But the key is to develop a good clientel, and flyfishing is the way to go..much better class of people. And when you get someone, or two people that can cast and manage their line?..You are guaranteed a great day, and a lot less strenuous day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment