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JG233

Never Fished w/ a Guide

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I've never fished with a guide before, but I'm living in a completely new place and I don't have a way to get out on the water so I booked a trip with a friend. 

Any tips for having a great trip? The guy I booked has a great rep. I'm excited to get out there next weekend to catch some desert bass. 

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What lake are you hitting? Can't hurt to listen to what lures he recommends using. Go have fun and catch some nice ones.

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Guides have information that will help you long after the trip is over. Ask as many questions as you can. If it is a decent guide, they should be happy to answer your questions. I've only fished with a bass guide once, but have fished with several trout and salmon guides. All of them were very knowledgeable and happy to share that knowledge. 

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In the past year, I've been out with four different guides. The big key is to figure what you want from the trip and narrow it down as much as possible for the guide.  For example, "I want to catch fish." is pretty broad and will work, unless of course your goal is to catch trophy fish.  Then you might set yourself up to be disappointed.

 Also set your ego aside.  This is not a competition between you and the guide.  Your past fishing accomplishments really won't have any relevance.  Your skills will, but those will be on display from the first cast. I have yet to fish with a guide who hasn't helped me hone my skills, but I asked them for the tips.  They work with hundreds of people a year and see good, bad, and ugly. They also pick up tips themselves, so use them as a resource.

Finally, when you are on their boat, that is their investment, office, home away from home.  Respect it. Don't toss cut line on the carpet, step on the paint, or poke around unless invited to do so. Oh, and don't ask to smoke. Many guides will say Ok and let you, but deep inside, they are waiting for ashes to hit their carpet and melt it.  

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Make sure to choose a guide that gives you a 100% money back guarantee that you are going to catch bass.No point paying a guide hundreds of dollars if he can't put you on a couple bass.

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Ask questions, learn from him, if he is reluctant to share info then just catch a lot of fish and I wouldn't use him again or recommend him. Usually guides I've had in the past are more than happy to answer my questions about a lake or an area. Have fun! :thumbsup:

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Remember the you hired the guide to take you bass fishing so ask him if he has a bite going and what tackle and presentation he plans to have you use. If  you don't want to watch the guide catch fish make sure he knows that. If you don't want to use live bait let him know that in advance.

Ask the guide about food and drinks before you leave. Tips are expected if the guide performs and you had a good time. 

Good luck and learn how to catch those desert bass!

Tom

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I agree  in that you should be very specific in what you want. Whether its to learn the lake, electronics tips, or just to catch as many as possible

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23 hours ago, WRB said:

Tips are expected if the guide performs and you had a good time. 

A tip needs to be given if the guide works hard, is good to spend the day with, shares knowledge...not if they get you into fish...don't punish a guide for something they can't control.

When I fish with a guide, and so far it's been fly fishing for musky and trout, I tell them I am far more interested in learning than catching fish...catching fish is an appreciated bonus, but for me, the least important part of the day.

Were I to hire a guide in a situation where bait might be considered...I would let them know that I don't want to fish that way.

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Thanks for all the feedback. This is very helpful.

I'll post up a report next week. Hopefully it'll include pics of some big bass!

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I've hired 2 guides in my life. The first one was a striper guide who wanted to set the hook on every fish and hand us the rods. I got wise to that and sat by the rods in holders that were getting bit the most and started grabbing one and doing my own work. He wanted us the get a limit early so he could cut out early. That experience was good because we caught 13 stripers, a bass and a big cat.

And I hired a saltwater inshore guide once. We didn't catch the gamefish we wanted and ended up going to a nearshore reef and catching a few sharks. That was like saltwater channel cats. That guy told me after I shelled out the cash to catch redfish and trout and didn't that it was really a bad time of year for those species. Something he could have said on the phone when I asked him. Not worth the money.

So I would suggest knowing when is a good time to catch your target species, researching your guide well and getting others' opinions on guides. And pick his brain about techniques. Tip him if you catch anything and tip well if you catch a lot.

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21 minutes ago, the reel ess said:

Tip him if you catch anything and tip well if you catch a lot.

We'll have to disagree there...

A friend and I fished with a guide a week ago on a northern WI river that will go nameless.

We were chucking big (14") streamers at muskies.

Our guide busted his hump for us,rowing up-river a few times to put us on good spots on both sides of an island or part of the river he was free with information and techniques, very clear about what worked where and why...and coached well on improving casting huge flies.

...and he put us on five muskies; two of which were in the 48" range.

It wasn't his fault we didn't land them...

He earned his tip, and he got it.

I'll even recommend him to anyone who wants to send a PM.

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Good luck.  If you haven't found it already, you may want to watch the fishing show "Fishing with Johnny Johnson".  It's on Comcast Sportsnet AZ.  He only fishes lakes in AZ and is a local tournament fisherman and guide with Arizona Fishing Guides.

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I hire guides on occasion. You have to determine what you want from the trip. If you are a novice and need help with presentation, you may need the guide to fish to show you how to work the lure.  If you know how to fish and need the guide to put you on fish, I'd ask the guide not to fish. Just make sure he knows that up front so there is no misunderstanding.

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I haven't hired a guide yet but have been thinking of getting a CA Delta guide, and one thing that's a strong consideration of mine is the personality of the guide.  If you can catch seminars or YouTube clips of the guide you can get a feel for his/her personality.  Some guides come across as "I'm the expert and know it all, you should be able to do what I teach you" some are more humble and take more time explaining things.  If you're going to spend all day on a boat with them, this might come into play on how much you enjoy your time on the water.

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3 hours ago, Steveo-1969 said:

Good luck.  If you haven't found it already, you may want to watch the fishing show "Fishing with Johnny Johnson".  It's on Comcast Sportsnet AZ.  He only fishes lakes in AZ and is a local tournament fisherman and guide with Arizona Fishing Guides.

Those are the guys I'm using. I did my homework; they have a great rep. 

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7 minutes ago, JG233 said:

Those are the guys I'm using. I did my homework; they have a great rep. 

Very cool, good luck and let us know how you do. I've never used a guide out there but my daughter lives near Phoenix and while visiting her in March I bank fished at Saguaro Lake and caught a couple LM from the shore.  Beautiful lake with crystal clear water!

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I may stand out from the crowd here a little bit but I personally love fishing with a guide. Make sure you do your research on the best ones in the area and just go out and have fun. I have one guide in particular who is almost like a friend at this point. I enjoy when they fish while I do. I think I book trips with him not so I can find fish, but rather just enjoy the day and his company. LOL. Now he also happens to be a heck of guide and I have had some insane trips with him, so that helps :). Kick back, relax, and enjoy your day on the water!

 

Also: It is important to do your research. Some of the "big name" guides I have heard and seen that they can be unpleasant and rude at times. The friendliest and most knowledgable guides I have fished with all over the world are not necessarily the ones that pop up first on google. Most importantly, keep your ears open, I learn something beneficial every time I fish with one.

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So what are the ethics involved with using a guide on a vacation lake? If we use a guide to help put us on fish during a certain time of year where we just struggle, we will not only be learning techniques from them but also locations while we are catching the fish. If we end up going back later and catching fish in those spots with the learned techniques and ones we already knew it would feel like cheating at a minimum to me. Essentially we would be paying a guide for his waypoints. Would it be more ethical to fish a different lake even though we want to learn about the lake we are vacationing on? Sorry to the OP if I am hijacking the thread, but I have learned a good bit reading it.

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Let your guide know what you expect.  The post above about guaranteed fish is bad advice.  A good guide is going to work his ass off for you and help you learn, but they're subject to the same  conditions and luck the rest of us are.  Not paying them for a day of work is absurd.  Similarly, you're going to be using their boat, gas, and often gear.  A good tip goes along with hiring a good guide.  To me, guided trips are learning experiences.  I'm more grateful for a guide who teaches/helps me better understand things than one who refuses to answer questions but puts me on fish.  

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26 minutes ago, cgolf said:

So what are the ethics involved with using a guide on a vacation lake? If we use a guide to help put us on fish during a certain time of year where we just struggle, we will not only be learning techniques from them but also locations while we are catching the fish. If we end up going back later and catching fish in those spots with the learned techniques and ones we already knew it would feel like cheating at a minimum to me. Essentially we would be paying a guide for his waypoints. Would it be more ethical to fish a different lake even though we want to learn about the lake we are vacationing on? Sorry to the OP if I am hijacking the thread, but I have learned a good bit reading it.

Guides understand that they will be giving out spots, it's one of the things you are paying for. Don't be obvious and pull out your phone to mark the coordinates while you are in his boat, and don't tell everyone you know. If you plan on returning the next day, or will be fishing the lake the rest of the week, tell the guide and he'll give you more spots to check out. If he doesn't, he isn't a guy I'd hire again.

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I have only hired 1 bass fishing guide to date and he was extremely knowledgeable when it comes to bass fishing.He was a young man going through college who was more professional as a guide than most who have been guiding for years.This bass fishing guide taught me that a truly good guide can offer a 100% money back guarantee because he knows he can deliver results to his client when others fall short of results.No point in wasting hard earned money in a guide who can't guarantee anything when there are so many guides who can and do deliver results for their clients,especially for a easy to catch game fish such as bass(which anyone can catch).

On 11/14/2016 at 6:21 PM, MIbassin said:

 It is important to do your research. Some of the "big name" guides I have heard and seen that they can be unpleasant and rude at times. The friendliest and most knowledgable guides I have fished with all over the world are not necessarily the ones that pop up first on google. Most importantly, keep your ears open, I learn something beneficial every time I fish with one.

This is so true.Some of the best guides are not very well known since they are new to the business, or they barely do guiding. The best guides are the ones that are polite,knowledgeable, and have the ability to consistently put their clients on good fish.

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On 11/14/2016 at 1:34 PM, Scott F said:

If you know how to fish and need the guide to put you on fish, I'd ask the guide not to fish. Just make sure he knows that up front so there is no misunderstanding.

As a guide, I hate when clients ask me not to fish. The reason being is many people "think" they can fish. There's many that can, but if I'm getting ready for a trip and I've never seen you fish before, I've got to prepare for the worst, because believe me there's some guys who can't catch a fish out of a barrel. If your one of those people, and I have to put a patter together on YOUR skills....you're probably not going to have the greatest trip. If you want a better day, allow the guide to figure the fish out, and once he does he can set his rods down. I'm not there to show you up, I'm not there for you to pay for my day on the water, I'm there to put you on fish and show you what you want to know. 

Other tips for a good guide trip: As others have said know what you want out of the trip and communicate that to a guide. Be specific, and be realistic. If you want to learn how to effectively fish a crankbait, that's fine, but know that the day you go if it's 100*, clear as a bell, and no wind, you're going to be hauling a lot of water without much action. 

Leave your ego at the boat ramp. I see this much more in men than women, but you're paying the guide to help you, so when they give advice take it. I've seen it happen many times a client isn't catching fish, you give them a pointer to help and it just makes them more bound and determined to catch one their way. Listen to what they say and try to do it to the best of your ability. 

Before you go, work on your casting skills. I don't know how many times I've taken people out that literally could not hit the broad side of a barn if their life depended on it. It's frustrating when you point out a piece of cover or structure for a client to cast to and they can't get within 10 feet of it. There's days you'll still catch fish, but the tough days get a whole lot tougher when the strike zone shrinks and you can't get your bait inside of it. 

Lastly, be patient. We're guides, that doesn't make us miracle workers. Guides have rough days too. Also keep in mind, if you're using a technique new to you don't expect it to be an expert with it right away. It might take you a while to learn what your'e doing

If you keep these things in mind I think you'll have a pretty good trip, no matter where you go. Good luck and I hope you have a great trip!

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To add to what WIGuide stated, I enjoy when the guide tosses a bait out there.  Most of the time, it is one of two times this happens with me. First scenario, fishing is slow, so he works some magic to see if it is the fish, the bait, or the angler. Second scenario for me is the fishing is hot. Then I want him to fish too because this sport is all about catching fish.  I can only bring them in one at a time, so as long as his fishing doesn't impede mine, let's have some fun.

I have given serious thought to starting a website next year and dedicating a good portion of that to guide tips, reviews and so forth. No one wants to hire a bad fit. Sort of a restaurant review on the water type of thing.  Problem is, it wouldn't be a cheap endeavor to hire a half dozen guides a year. Maybe I'll enlist some helpers.  

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A guide should not behave as though you are paying HIM to fish-especially once a pattern has been established.  Don't be afraid to tell him (appropriately) if you would rather he backed off (or stopped fishing entirely).  Since money is changing hands, he (or she) is there for you and not vice versa.

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