What’s a fly fishing guide worth? The question itself can be as varied as the wide array of answers. From the specific region and fishery to actual individuals themselves, determining the value of a guide can often depend on the person asking the question.
To some, a guide is simply a means to catch more fish. Plain and simple. Almost a prostitute to be honest. The client has one simple objective and that is to get fish in the net, no matter the means or cost. There are certain places where this approach makes sense. Maybe it’s a once in a lifetime location, after a species of fish that may be uniquely difficult to come upon, and the client simply wants to see results. Like sea-run browns or golden dorado in South America, simply landing such incredible fish will be the highlight of the experience. Or maybe the client is already accomplished as an angler, and quite possibly far superior to the guide. To that client, a worthy guide is the kind who has no stigma with skills inferior to those of the client, and simply works hard to put the client into as many situations to catch fish as possible.
To others, a guide is a coach. Some clients have fishing skills that are honestly in serious need of improvement. Like a coach, the guide may need to take time for proper instruction, constantly communicate with the client what needs to be done, and explaining why. There are clients that understand they need teaching, and willingly admit that and seek improvement. After all, a person who wants to learn more than wants to catch fish, will be better off in the long term fishing on his or hers own time. Some clients see themselves as students, and the guide their teacher.
I’ve fished with some guides that are so bad it’s embarrassing, and others that I wish I could wear a wire and hidden camera to study and retain their every action. The knowledge of a veteran professional guide is nothing short of priceless. Years of experience simply can’t be bought, but with the right approach much of that information and technique can be taught.
The answer to the question may revolve around this, how well does the guide understand the clients needs? And how capable is he or she of meeting those needs from day to day and a variety of clients? To determine how good your guide is, ask yourself what sort of client you are, and hopefully your guide will ask as well.