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would you or have you used a guide??

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if your going to spend a week on unfamaliar waters during the spring?   i plan on going to rayburn

soon and thought remotely of using one for the first 1/2 day.   what would you expect that you couldnt do without one.  any input??  

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I would use a guiude hands down, a guide can eliminate a ton of water right out of the box, could prove helpful on a lake the size of Rayburn!

HH

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I like to use a guide the first day when fishing new waters or at a time of year I've never fished a particular body of water. Guides are on the water nearly daily so they know the stage and location of the fish. If it has been a tough bite they know it so you instantly know it. Just getting started on the right track makes the rest of a way too short week so much better and more fruitful.

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I totally agree with these guys.  A guide is a good idea especially when hitting some of the big reseviors like Rayburn.  I don't know what kinda water you are used to fishing but if you're like I was when I first came south, all I had fished was natural lakes and was unfamiliar with the workings of a resevoir.  I thought I knew my stuff though and did all the reading so I figured I would be in good shape.  Ha, needless to say, I was wrong.  I came off of Lake Fork with only one bass.   :-/  I even had an old timer laugh at me when I told him.   Not the best trip I can remember but I guess it was a good lesson.

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It's a very good idea, however the 1/2 day idea isn't good. Go the full day in order to benefit. With a 1/2 day you will just about see the areas, and will barely have any time to prove that the guide is correct.

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GUIDE OR NO GUIDE?

I believe the answer hinges on what the angler wishes to extract from his fishing experience.

To be more specific, it boils down to what he or she enjoys most about angling: FISHING or CATCHING?

I love "fishing", my wife loves "catching", so most of my life I've been my wife's personal fishing guide.

That's because my favorite facets of angling are Chart Reading, Site Selection, GPS & Depth Sounder Operation,

Locating Cover, Lure Selection and Boat Positioning. So it's a foregone conclusion that if I ever hired a guide

that would dramatically downgrade my fishing experience and pleasure. But of course, that's me :)

BTW: I have fished saltwater and freshwater from Florida to Canada and never hired a guide.

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Rolo and I are on the same page, but I'm in the wife's camp: I like fishing, but I like catching more!

I suspect Sam Rayburn is just like any other big reservior from a statistical vantage: 10% of the lake is productive, 90% not. If it were my trip, I would hire a guide for the entire outing. If you decide to go with a guide, hire him for a full day. A half-day doesn't amount to much and you won't learn enough to make it worth your while.

I fish Bull Shoals several times a year and have been for a number of years. I always fish with my guide and we usually catch nice fish, but it's a big lake and can really be hard to fish on your own. Everything on the lake looks fishy, but it's not. There are days, even with a guide of thirty years, when they just aren't there.

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Spring isn't a time I want to invest money on finding fish.  Spring is by far the easiest time to find fish, and are in the skinnest water of the year.  Basically the fish are in 10% of the water already if the spawn is on.

To hire or not to hire would depend on your experience.  

Is water muddy were beds can't easily be seen?    When your on a popular lake, the other boats are gonna tell you if your in a good area.  

Personally, if you can afford 300.00 a day, go for it. but I do like to test my level of map and lake reading.

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Spring isn't a time I want to invest money on finding fish. Spring is by far the easiest time to find fish, and are in the skinnest water of the year. Basically the fish are in 10% of the water already if the spawn is on.

To hire or not to hire would depend on your experience.

Is water muddy were beds can't easily be seen? When your on a popular lake, the other boats are gonna tell you if your in a good area.

Personally, if you can afford 300.00 a day, go for it. but I do like to test my level of map and lake reading.

I like ur thinking  :)

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When I have hired guides before, its never been for numbers, its about learning something new, drop shotting, spooning winter time bass, seasonal patterns, colors, what areas are fertile, what areas are not fertile(not productive), boat lanes in and out of creeks, the ones I'm interested in.  

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If I could afford one I would use one.  It helps to know where the fish are and what to use in different times of the day.

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My first experience with a guide was about 8 years ago when my son was 6.  We were on Table Rock and I wanted him to experience catching bass.  I also had my 70+ year old Father-in-law on the trip.  When we arrived at the lake, I didn't have a boat at the time, I was told that the bass were suspended at 30' over 70' of water.  I thought, how in the world would you catch fish under these conditions.  The guide picked us up at the marina and proceeded to take us out in the middle where he stopped the boat and handed each of us a spinning outfit that had been tied with a drop shot.  He had marked the line so that we could tell when we were at 30 feet and we started to jig the finesse worm.  Needless to say we filled the live well that day with 3-5#ers.  The guide spent most of his time helping my son and my Father-in-law and just let me fish.  It was a memory that none of us will forget.

A couple of years later, we went back to the T-rock and I hired him again.  This time I had a boat and he spent the morning showing me areas where fish were holding and giving me tips on how to catch 'em.  We didn't catch as many this time, but we spent the rest of the week working off what he had shown us.  All in all well worth the money.

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I would use a guiude hands down, a guide can eliminate a ton of water right out of the box, could prove helpful on a lake the size of Rayburn!

With all due respect, a glance at a hydrographic or topographic chart can also eliminate

megatons of water. No angler should ever be intimidated by SIZE, it only means more options.

The alternative to one large lake is 15 charts of smaller lakes separated by landfall,

that's a dubious advantage.

Only because it's on-topic, I'd like to cite a pike fishing vacation my wife and I experienced.

It was our first trip north of the St Lawrence River, Ontario. Normally I spend the first day sounding-out

the trial sites that I selected at home (NJ). Trial sites are eliminated that are not accompanied by cabbage beds

(can't do that at home) and all good drop-offs are pinpointed. By the forth or fifth day, we had

a solid route of waypoints that marked "holding" sites, as though we'd lived on that lake all our lives.

This morning we went to breakfast and the dining room was jam-packed with bustling fishermen.

The owner informed me that a large corporation hired every guide boat in Parry Sound for a one-day

pike outing. Curious, I followed the flotilla of about a dozen guide boats about a half-mile behind. I watched as they

gradually split-up, poking into one shallow bay after another (burbot heaven I was thinking). Finally,

after wasting 2 hours of vital fishing time, I decided we weren't going to learn anything from them

and throttled off. To make a very long story, short, my wife and boated 11 pike to 12 lbs that day.

No big deal for sure, but every guide boat had gotten skunked that same day! They blamed

it on July, the mooneye migration and pike with lockjaw. As we pulled up to the dock that evening,

we were greeted by several disgruntled customers. We gave them our pike and they were absolutely ecstatic

if not completely honest. The next day at breakfast the lodge owner said to me, "You won't believe this,

but every guide boat got skunked yesterday", I said "yes I know, the fellows told me". The owner continued,

"And guess where they caught some huge pike?, RIGHT HERE OFF MY DOCK!".

Looking into his broad proud grin, my wife and I had no choice but to muster up some false surprise.

How BIG was that lake? It was Lake Huron

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RoLo,

Great story!

I think there are a few other guys on the forum that might be able to find their own fish, too. I don't know though, maybe not on Lake Huron. For the rest of us, or at least some of us, the challenge might be a little overwhelming. I think guides are essential for most guys to have a successful trip on big, new water.  

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Well I guess I just plain as good as some of ya. If I go off on a multi day, long drive to get to, trip to a new lake I hire a guide for my first day. Since I didn't come the month before and spend a week pre-fishing and discovering the lake, then I think it money well spent. Even the best pro's pre-fish a lake, so since I am not in a tournament, I use the guide's experience as my pre-fishing time.

Rayburn has a surface of approximately 114,500 acres in five counties. All the topo studying you want to do and location marking would still leave you in the need for an awful lot of time to figure it out. Heck, the Marsh is only 6700 acres, and lots of people come here for a week and never figure it out. As for following other boats: They probably know less than you do.

Heck, look at the map and tell me which one of the few hundred points you might suggest starting at.

post-1882-130163004226_thumb.jpg

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That's kind of where we stand.  We are confident in our abilities but we are spending too much money and travelling too far to take the chance, spawn or not.

For the $75/guy , it's a good investment I think.

I may think otherwise when I get back but for now, I'm not taking chances.

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Roadwarrior

RoLo,

Great story!

I think there are a few other guys on the forum that might be able to find their own fish, too. I don't know though, maybe not on Lake Huron.

Thanks RW.

Lake Huron is certainly vast, but even in July the weedline stops around 18 feet deep.

This means that most of the chart is a just a place to rest your elbows.

There's no doubt about it, today's fishing guides are excellent (that was a looong time ago).

But again, the decision to hire or not to hire depends on what you like most about angling,

in other words, it's your baby.

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George Welcome,

Maybe it's my computer screen, but I can't see any of the contour lines.

All I'm getting is the outline of the lake.

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Guest camdynfish

I, myself, am a private guide for Lake O'Pines, Wright Patman, and Pruitt Lake.  I would suggest using a guide due to the fact the size of the lake.  Just buying a map of the lake or asking a regular about the lake is no where near enough information to take on a lake that size.  A guide will be able to take you to the hot spots and most will offer much more in their packages.  I learned from a guide on how to become a guide.  Right now I am shut down due to the extremely low water level.  It is dangerous to be out on some of these lakes except Pruitt Lake,  but it is just to small for a week guide.  I use this lake as a part of my package.  Also be careful on the guides that you hire.  ASK QUESTIONS about the guide service.  Some are great and some are extremely terrible.  Good luck with your quest. ;D

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Rolo,

It's not a contour map, however even with a contour map one would need to spend a lot of time playing, but hey if that's your game, what's wrong with it?

If I was going to Rayburn I would definitely book a day with Jeff Buchanan, because for the next few days I would rather be catching than looking. I'll save my looking for when I am home.

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so if i do hire a guide for rayburn,  which i am going to try now that you all convince me,  i plan on picking his brain.   big time!  i dont want to know only what it takes for fishing at the current conditions but thruout the spring.  obviously we wont be fishing these spots but i would like to know from past experince where to go and what to use.  do guides share this info or only enough to work for the day you hired them for?  

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Guest camdynfish

Just like a good cook....never tell all your secrets.  That's just the name of the game but if you get a guide that really doesn't fish tournaments or is depending on referrals then you are more able to get alot more vital information.  He has nothing to lose by telling you everything he knows.  That is what seperates a good guide from a great guide.  I do believe you made a great choice by hireing a guide.  Let us know how it goes.  Good Luck

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I also believe a good guide can adapt to the many different types of customers he/she gets.

For example, our guide was explaining to me how he is from the east arm of Fork and we are staying in the west arm but the people who are with him the week before we get there are more or less just there to learn bass fishing whereas we want the fish of a lifetime so what he is doing is fishing the west arm with them before we get there so he is dialed in to his east arm spots when we get there so we will learn waters closer to home for us as we will have the rest of the week there.

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If I was heading to Guntersville next week, I would like a guide the second day there, giving me day or half day for myself to get basic layout of lake down and test my own skills.    

If the fish are bedding, I'm not worried about needing a guide.   reading water temps will generally tell me where the spawn is at on the lake.    Lots of boats in the back of creeks is another good indicator.   Guntersville gets lots of press, so finding pieces of info from the net, our forum, old newspapers, and tournament results should already give me a few areas and pieces of the puzzle before I ever launch.

Would be same way I approach a tournament on lake X.

Not every body has the same knowledge or goals, nothing wrong with having a guide for 5 days or one.     Different strokes for different folks.

Here's to 2006 and a SHE-PIG for all.   "ONE to REMEMBER"

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