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