When I posted about the ways a client could help his or her guide, several folks suggested that there was another side to the story: how the guide should help his or her client have a good day. Of course, this is true, and most professional guides have this down to a science. Here are four things that you can expect from a good guide, which should help to ensure that you have the best day possible.
1. The guide should communicate with you before your day on the water.
After you’ve booked your time with a guide, you should expect him or her to be available for any questions you might have leading up to your trip. Many guides offer a pre-trip checklist–on a website or in an email–that covers the basics, but you might want to know which patterns to tie up, if you’ll need two lines, and so on. This communication will almost certainly be over email, and you should expect a reply.
2. On the day of the trip, the guide should be on time and prepared.
If you’re dropping several Franklins on a guide, you don’t want to be left waiting at the boat ramp or frantically calling his cell to find out where he is. Good guides get most of their prep work done the night before, so they can arrive on time and ready to launch or fish.
3. The guide should adjust his approach to your desires and skill level.
It’s your guide’s job to suggest how you should fish. It should not be a demand. I once had an octogenarian angler say to me, “I have been fishing for sixty years, and I know what I like. I only want to fish dry flies, even though I realize that might lower my chances of catching fish.” As I guide, I appreciated this information and worked hard to find him a few trout looking upward. I had planned on drifting tandem-nymph rigs, but I also wanted to make my client happy.
On that same note, if you are not a great caster, your guide should work to get you close to the fish. If your mending technique needs work, the guide should offer constructive criticism to help you achieve the desired result. It does neither of you any good for the guide to put you in an angling situation for which you’re not prepared.
4. Your guide should be in a good mood. . .or pretend to be.
Guides are human, and everyone sometimes just has a crappy day. But the client may have been waiting months or years for this opportunity, so it’s time for the guide to buck up. I had a lodge manager who told his guide crew, “Hangovers don’t exist.” Although this applied specifically to night-before activities, it also spoke the larger point that the guest should never be aware that anything is wrong. Part of being a guide is the performance.
Being a guide is not just about bringing your clients to the fish. A good guide is also a teacher, a problem-solver, a storyteller, and a cheerleader.
If you can think of other things that a guide can do to help his clients, add them in the comments below.