You Should Hire a Fishing Guide
Kamchatka taimen fishing is just plain awesome. Top-water peacock bass action deep in the Amazon doesn’t suck either. And please, don’t get me started on swinging for Atlantic salmon in Northwestern Iceland. I ask that you not inquire because I don’t want to lie. I’ve never done any of those things.
As a garden-variety, married and mortgaged, parent, working stiff sportsman, I love fantasizing over the exotic, high adventure fish porn. Then I file it away in the “some day” drawer, get up in the morning, and set to getting after it again – backyard, backcountry, public lands, DIY style. That’s what stalking the seam is all about. Making it happen.
But there’s a taste of the top-shelf that is within reach for most of us; one that thanks to our proud DIY ethic we too often overlook or outright eschew. We may not live the globetrotting, fishing bro lifestyle, but every now and again, we can fish with the pros. We should each hire a fishing guide at least once a year.
1.Your cast ain’t what it ought to be. I know, because it looks a lot like mine. While we’re at it, your fly selection is stuck in a rut and you’ve been missing fish with simple presentation errors. Don’t take it personally. It happens to the best of us. Think of it this way… Doctors are required to log a pile of continuing education hours every year just to maintain their licenses. Lawyers too, plus pilots, ski patrollers and firemen. Hell, Rory McIlroy has a swing coach. The requirement holds true of almost every high stakes vocation. Your fishing is important too. Treat it as such.
No one is so flawless that his or her game can’t be improved by a day on the water with a capable professional. And it sure beats a nasal surgery seminar.
2.You’re not alone… at least not yet. Try teaching your husband, girlfriend or teenage son how to fly-fish though, and you just might be. If, however, you want to share your passion, and future years on the water with that special someone, the best thing you can possibly do is outsource the introduction. Car Talk fans will remember Click and Clack berating callers for trying to teach their kids and significant others how to drive instead of hiring a professional. Fly fishing is like that, but harder, and more important. Check your ego, get out of the way, and let a top-notch guide get things off on the right foot.
If you decide to tag along, ride the back of the boat, and when you’re inevitably tempted to add your two cents, don’t.
3. You don’t have to go far to expand your horizons. New Zealand browns might not be in the cards this year, but it’s amazing how exotic a new-to-you piece of water in the neighboring state can feel. And if it’s as solid as the guys with the out of state plates at the boat ramp are always saying, you may just add a new honey hole to your regular rotation.
Even if not, unfamiliar water has a spectacular way of helping you see old water in new ways. Features and facets that never caught your notice before all of a sudden seem full of promise on your return, and techniques adapted for different conditions may be just the ticket when you try them out on your tired old town stretch.
4. Guides are the river keepers. They’re the ones out there day in and day out keeping tabs on the ecosystem, doing their best to keep it healthy, and waving the flag when it’s not. And believe you me; these hard working guys and gals are not in it for the money.
The late, great American Theologian and activist Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” I agree. Furthermore, I think it’s important to support the pursuits of people who’ve come alive when you meet them. If that means spending a day on the water, learning something new about my favorite pastime… well, we all have to make sacrifices.