Jump to content
BIGDFISHERMAN

Advice and Tips for future GUIDE?

Recommended Posts

I have been strongly considering becoming a multi species guide in the very near future and would like to hear some good advice, tips, and just what to expect starting out. I would be guiding central, eastern, and southeast Kansas lakes and rivers in areas that I grew up fishing and still fish today. I know Kansas no longer requires licensing for guides and outfitters but I'm sure liability insurance with comprehensive coverage on gear would be a necessity as well as current CPR and first aid certification. What else would be a necessity? I'm looking at doing guided Kayak fishing mainly with emphasis on Largemouth, Smallmouth, White Bass, Crappie, Channel and Flathead Catfish. I have pretty good business sense I just don't know the ins and outs of guiding and it seems a little secretive in regard to available information. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you are going to be a kayak based guide i would get ACA instructor certification and make sure you are well versed in self rescue situations.  Also be sure to look at any liability that you may be responsible for should an accident happen.  Even with waivers and the like, it doesn't mean you won't have to deal with it in court should something go awry.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, flyfisher said:

Since you are going to be a kayak based guide i would get ACA instructor certification and make sure you are well versed in self rescue situations.  Also be sure to look at any liability that you may be responsible for should an accident happen.  Even with waivers and the like, it doesn't mean you won't have to deal with it in court should something go awry.

It seems like that would involve a whole different service involving teaching people how to kayak, good idea considering how few people there are that would already know unless they had their own yak.  For now though I would target those who do already kayak to some extent but may not fish from one or those who do fish from one but aren't familiar with the waters and species.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you limit your clientele base if you are looking for kayak fisherman only as most i know wouldn't use a guide service really.  It also opens up your possibility to have group kayak teaching lessons about basic safety, self rescue and then kayak fishing.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, flyfisher said:

 

@flyfisher I will have to check more into that aspect of it. It's always good to be able to expand I'm just concerned with having too much cash outlay at once and too many "irons in the fire". Buying more than 2 or 3 yaks would be a hard pill to swallow and a big gamble to make right off the bat unless i sacrificed some quality for quantity.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

one positive is that you if you get decent boats the resale will still be good but i also get the upfront cost will be higher. 

Have you thought about all the gear you will have to be providing for your clients too?  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good luck with this endeavor since I've never envied a fishing guide.  I've used one twice with good experiences but I have go to imagine that you're going to get some guys who are jerks and don't have a realistic expectation of what a day of fishing should be like.  Obviously, your knowledge of the area will be a huge asset but your ultimately affected by the time of year and the weather.

One thing to consider, however, and just my working man's opinion.  I know that kayak angling is becoming bigger and bigger, but I, personally, would never pay to fish out of a kayak.  The few times I've used a guide, it was an expensive experience but I knew that going in and was willing to pay for it to get a knowledgable guide fishing out of a comfortable boat or ice house having a few beers while the guide did the work and we listened to his tips.  

A kayak would also limit your ability to accommodate larger groups; I've gone with a bunch of 4 guys for all of my trips.

not trying to discourage you as there is a local kayak guide in my area, but I have no idea how he does professionally.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

biggest downside i would see for catering to only kayak owner/fishers is you cannot support any out of town clients.  this means you must somehow generate an enormous amount of return business on local customers on your local waters.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My fear would be letting the customer use your equipment, and him/her flipping the kayak and losing everything overboard

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, flyfisher said:

one positive is that you if you get decent boats the resale will still be good but i also get the upfront cost will be higher. 

Have you thought about all the gear you will have to be providing for your clients too?  

Yes, gear has been on my mind but I' m a bit of a tackle and gear junkkie so I have a bunch of extra already and have some wholesale connections I have made over time.

13 hours ago, bassh8er said:

Good luck with this endeavor since I've never envied a fishing guide.  I've used one twice with good experiences but I have go to imagine that you're going to get some guys who are jerks and don't have a realistic expectation of what a day of fishing should be like.  Obviously, your knowledge of the area will be a huge asset but your ultimately affected by the time of year and the weather.

One thing to consider, however, and just my working man's opinion.  I know that kayak angling is becoming bigger and bigger, but I, personally, would never pay to fish out of a kayak.  The few times I've used a guide, it was an expensive experience but I knew that going in and was willing to pay for it to get a knowledgable guide fishing out of a comfortable boat or ice house having a few beers while the guide did the work and we listened to his tips.  

A kayak would also limit your ability to accommodate larger groups; I've gone with a bunch of 4 guys for all of my trips.

not trying to discourage you as there is a local kayak guide in my area, but I have no idea how he does professionally.

Completely understand that and a boat isn't entirely out of the question for me but I couldn't compete with most guides as far as high end boats and equipment on them go. I can also get people into places most boats could not navigate as there are shallows and riffles on the rivers I would be guiding. And of course less expense and overhead for me equals lower prices for customers which could lead  to more return customers in the long run. 

I'm not going to be jumping in neck deep from the start and if I can make back my initial ivestment and grow from that I would be happy. I am sure it will be hit and miss starting out so it will likely be a part time endeavor for a while.I now all about jerk customers as I have ran my on small business in the past successfully just got burnt out on working in the auto repair industry.  

9 hours ago, buzzed bait said:

biggest downside i would see for catering to only kayak owner/fishers is you cannot support any out of town clients.  this means you must somehow generate an enormous amount of return business on local customers on your local waters.

 

If I have boats and gear and tackle for clients then out of town or not wouldn't matter. As far as return business goes it will depend on the customer I suppose but if I keep overhead low and prices reasonable while providing good srvice and an excellent experiene that should help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Brayberry said:

My fear would be letting the customer use your equipment, and him/her flipping the kayak and losing everything overboard

That would be a bad deal but with a comprehensive coverage rider on my insurance I would be able to replace anything lost and not be out the money. Most equipment would be strapped in and  secured and rods could be leashed to the yak while they are not in use. So at most I would probably lose the rod or rods the customer was  using and a little tackle if it was open and not secured.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't offer any advice about the business end of things or the market for a yak based business. What I can say is really successful fishing guides have great people skills and are committed to serving their customers. Good luck.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, K_Mac said:

I can't offer any advice about the business end of things or the market for a yak based business. What I can say is really successful fishing guides have great people skills and are committed to serving their customers. Good luck.

I do have people skills although that is hard to convey by keyboard.:lol: I'm not sure what the market is yet either but I have been researching it and believe it could be an unfilled niche since there is more and more interest in kayaking and kayak fishing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On January 6, 2016 at 9:05 AM, BIGDFISHERMAN said:

That would be a bad deal but with a comprehensive coverage rider on my insurance I would be able to replace anything lost and not be out the money. Most equipment would be strapped in and  secured and rods could be leashed to the yak while they are not in use. So at most I would probably lose the rod or rods the customer was  using and a little tackle if it was open and not secured.

The more claims you make to replace lost /damaged items the higher your premium will be. Maybe gearing towards an "outdoor experience" and doing some fishing while taking customers on a journey down river may be a little easier way to market and put less pressure on the fishing expenses. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used two guides several months ago in Florida. Both were impressed I knew how to use a bait caster and even a spinning reel correctly. Each guide told me that most of their clients really don't know how to fish so they spend a lot of time working with them and their gear.  If you are in kayak and your client gets hooked up, tangled, creates a birds nest or twists line on rod tip, I think it would be time consuming and pain to get to him and fix problem. If two clients are with you multiply by two. 

I think that if someone knows how to fish they will probably want bass boat guide. If they want to fish out of yak they probably know how and need of guide goes down. 

I think you are limiting yourself by focusing on kayak fishing only, but hey give it a shot and make adjustments to your plan as need. Good luck and I wish you the best .

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would get in touch with Shane ( https://dallas.craigslist.org/sdf/spo/5369464877.html )

He has a very good reputation here in Texas. I think you could explain that you would be targeting a completely different part of the county and he would let you pick his brain. I have texted him so many times asking yak questions and he always replies. Seems like a real good guy. I will be booking a trip with him this year. You can even get on the Texas Fishing Forum and search for him and see some great reviews. Another thing you might do is to take a road trip and book a trip with him. I will put money on it that will be the best $125 you could spend. Fish and pick his brain.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't advise guiding as a primary source of income. Or leaving a steady job to guide. I think it would be hard breaking into the industry at some of the top lakes in the country. Much less Kansas. I can't imagine Kansas coming to mind when anglers are thinking of a destination to go fishing.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know one guide who runs this type of service on a river. A couple of notes:

1. his guided trips are tailored to the individual, if they are just getting into kayak fishing he will focus on paddling skills and basic presentations, if an experienced kayak angler is looking to sharpen his skills he tailors the trip towards eliminating water, finding patterns and refining presentations

2. he is located on world class river smallmouth fishery, clients are drawn to fish that water

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used a guide twice. What I disliked most was that one of them, a striper/hybrid guide, wanted to set the hook and hand me a rod to reel in. I started grabbing the rod and doing it myself. I know he's used to novices, but I didn't pay $300 to let him do my fishing.

The second guide was in saltwater. I hired him for trout and flounder inshore fishing. After catching one ribbon fish in two hours, he tells us the season is really not good for that and asks if we want to go to a near shore reef for sharks. That's better than nothing, but not what we signed on for. Worse, he wanted more money to go to the reef-fuel. I paid the extra because I had three bored guys along for the ride. We did manage some sharks on the reef, but to me that's like catfishing. All-in-all it was unsatisfying.

I guess what I'm saying is ask them what THEY want to do and be honest with them about their best bet. It sucks to be out $300 and be disappointed at the end of a day.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On Wednesday, January 06, 2016 at 0:31 AM, Brayberry said:

My fear would be letting the customer use your equipment, and him/her flipping the kayak and losing everything overboard

 I've seen kayak guides zip tie a short section of pool noodle or buoyant material to the rod above the fore grip so it floats. A good idea for any kayak fisherman, although I haven't done it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 1/6/2016 at 5:56 AM, BIGDFISHERMAN said:

Completely understand that and a boat isn't entirely out of the question for me but I couldn't compete with most guides as far as high end boats and equipment on them go. I can also get people into places most boats could not navigate as there are shallows and riffles on the rivers I would be guiding. And of course less expense and overhead for me equals lower prices for customers which could lead  to more return customers in the long run. 

 

One thing you must think of if you choose to use a boat and not kayaks, you can not take people out for hire without a USCG issued license (6pack uninspected vessel).  So if being a guide is what you want to do, make sure you take the right steps and get the proper documents to operate a boat for hire business carrying paying passengers.  Not sure you need it to guide out of a kayak where they have their own equipment but do know you need it out of a boat for sure.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The biggest thing I have noticed about guides is that the best ones will make sure their clients are having a good time regardless if you are catching fish or not. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, bholtzinger14 said:

I would get in touch with Shane ( https://dallas.craigslist.org/sdf/spo/5369464877.html )

He has a very good reputation here in Texas. I think you could explain that you would be targeting a completely different part of the county and he would let you pick his brain. I have texted him so many times asking yak questions and he always replies. Seems like a real good guy. I will be booking a trip with him this year. You can even get on the Texas Fishing Forum and search for him and see some great reviews. Another thing you might do is to take a road trip and book a trip with him. I will put money on it that will be the best $125 you could spend. Fish and pick his brain.

This sounds like a great idea as well as a good excuse for a vacation. Booking with a kayak guide would be a great way to get an idea of what I'm getting in to.

9 hours ago, clh121787 said:

I wouldn't advise guiding as a primary source of income. Or leaving a steady job to guide. I think it would be hard breaking into the industry at some of the top lakes in the country. Much less Kansas. I can't imagine Kansas coming to mind when anglers are thinking of a destination to go fishing.

Definitely won't be the primary source of income. Don't expect to break the bank starting out, just breaking even would be nice. I have spoken to a lot of people in my lifetime who could have traveled to many places to fish but chose Kansas, you might be surprised.

9 hours ago, bholtzinger14 said:

Make it a weekend gig to start off with. Or if you have vacation days at work use those during the best times of the year and book up. 

Yes it will definitely be part time, weekends, days off, after work during the evening or night if that's what the customer wants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Appreciate all of the responses and comments so far. I'm kind of surprised to be getting this much response. Some good ideas and information that I had not though of has come up which is awesome. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×