July 29, 2009
What Makes Guides Great? (And the Grudge Match Scoreboard)
By Kirk Deeter
Anyone who knows me personally understands that I think the sun rises and sets in the fly fishing world where guides say it does. I've always been a fan of guides; I guide myself; how could I not be a fan?
I know, I know... it's expensive to go on a guide trip. But in my experience, if you find the right guide, the investment is ultimately as valuable in your long term fishing experience as almost anything you can buy, save the rod and reel itself. Put it this way... if the investment is not extremely valuable in this way, well, you went fishing with the wrong guide.
I think that's especially true in fly fishing. Too many "gurus" approach this sport as a platform to show all the stuff they know that we do not, and maybe make a buck or too in the process. The guide's mission should be exactly the opposite... to break down the barriers, to share understanding, and to instill confidence that this crazy sport isn't rocket science after all.
The guide who does their job right sits in the catbird's seat, and has the power to influence whether or not that beginner client becomes a lifetime angler, or a once-and-done customer. It can happen in the first 15 minutes on the water.
As such, I think the fly industry has to do a better job of taking care of guides. Some companies get it. Most don't. I think we need to give guides more than cheap gear. In return, I think we need to expect more from guides.
I'm working on a project involving guides now, and I want to hear any recommendations some of you might have. Do you know any aces? Teachers? Story tellers? What makes a guide great?
Also, I must report that the Fly Talk Smackdown Grudge Match on the Colorado River yesterday was...
I think I had Romano on numbers (barely), and I had the best eat... a hopper take that seemed like it lasted 10 seconds. But Tim beat me cold on the big fish of the day... a 21-inch brown that ate his streamer in heavy rapids. He had more chases too, but as is usually the case in streamer fishing, you rarely pin them all on.
Guess we'll need a rematch.