The other day a customer asked me, 'What does it take to be a guide?' Well, here's my answer: 'Dedication!'
You can't just have a fly rod and a guide license and call yourself a guide (or at least a guide that's worth a s$!*). Our guides have spent thousands of hours on the water gaining knowledge and perfecting their craft. Now, just because someone can fish, doesn't mean that automatically makes them a good guide. You have to be able to work with all skill levels and be able to teach an angler that might be ages 6 to 86. It is our job to give you the best opportunity at catching fish. We cannot and will not catch them for you. I have seen other guides catching fish for their clients and handing them the rod. If we can't teach you how to catch that fish, then we aren't doing our job! Fly fishing isn't an easy sport. You won't become 'good' at it in a 4 hr trip. It takes practice, practice, practice, but we will do our best to teach you the fundamentals and give you the best opportunity to catch fish.
A guides' day doesn't begin and end with your trip. Whether its a 4 hour wade trip or an all day float trip, many hours have been put into preparing for that trip. Guides spend hours upon hours tying flies all year long. During the winter months, most guides try to 'bulk' up on fly patterns they know they will use throughout the season. A guide will tie hundreds of during the winter months, and the process will continue throughout the year. On a typical 2 person float trip, we'll go through 12-24 flies. On a half day wade probably 6-12 flies. Sometimes, more. Sometimes, less, but that can add up quickly. We usually realize early in the summer that what was tied during the winter won't last as long as we had hoped. We may take you on a wade trip in the morning and head right back out in the evening to scout 'new' water. There are countless hours spent on rod setup, gear maintenance, lunch prep, and keeping cars and boats clean. If the hours were broke down, you could add around 3 hours of prep for each trip. Some of this time may have been spent scouting water and tying flies in the winter, but needless to say, a lot of time is spent on the trip before you even meet the guide.
I get asked, 100 times a year, 'Should I tip my guide?' and 'What is a customary tip for my guide?' YES, YES, YES to the first question. The second, well, take the info to heart I have given you already and also realize, the guide is supplying most of the gear. You are using their rods; they are buying all the leaders, tippet, indicators, etc; they are paying for shuttles and lunches for float trips; and they are buying or tying the 2 dozen flies you will use. The point is, there are a lot of expenses that go into a trip and a tip will hopefully cover those expenses. For a short answer, 20% is standard. It is like any other job in the service industry, if you had a good experience and were happy with the service you received, tip accordingly. We are very appreciative of our tips and it also shows us that you were happy with your experience.
Being a guide isn't easy! We are up early and in bed late; then we turn around and do it again the next day. I am very proud of our guides. I see how much time they spend getting ready to give you a trip you won't forget. They are very good at what they do and I am lucky to have them on board. I hope you understand a little bit more about what it takes to do our job. It is not the life for everyone, but it is very rewarding for us and we love doing what we do. We are dedicated to our passion of fly fishing and we are here to give you a great experience and show you why we love this sport! Happy Fishing!
For inquiries on guided trips come to the shop or give us a call (828)963-5463 and we'll be happy to help!