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Ref. hiring a guide

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Something I wrote years ago: read number 4

Selection of A Professional Fishing Guide

by George, Imagination Bassin Guide Services

QUESTIONS TO ASK A PROSPECTIVE FISHING GUIDE

* Ask for a list of references, including clients who have fished with the guide recently. Call the references.

*If required by locale, did the proper authorities license the guide?

* Does the guide fish full time? A guide who's on the water every day keeps up with productive patterns better than a weekender.

*Does the guide fish himself? Most bass guides do fish, at least enough to determine how the fish are biting. Your guide fishing not only shows you where the fish are but also allows for the opportunity to educate you further in techniques.

*Does the guide give instructional trips or is he simply a charter service?

* What does the guide furnish? Should you bring your own water or other drinks? What about tackle, lures or bait?

* Do you need to bring specific lures? If so, they are usually cheaper in the city than at lakeside?

* How much gear should you bring with you: tackle, poles, rain gear, etc?

* How much are the costs for the trip and ensure that there are no hidden extras?

* How many hours can you expect to fish for your money?

* Can you hire the guide for half a day? If the fish are biting aggressively, a half-day of fishing could be enough for some casual anglers.

* What about lunch? Does the guide furnish lunch or stop for lunch at a lakeside cafe or marina? Should you bring your own lunch?

* Does the guide practice catch-and-release fishing? Many bass guides on good fishing lakes discourage their clients from keeping any fish. If you intend to keep fish to eat, you need to have this discussion with your guide.

* At least have a telephone conversation with a prospective guide to try and determine if the two of you are compatible. If the guide is devoutly religious and your favorite shtick is dirty jokes, it's probably a bad idea. If the guide fishes strictly with live bait and you like to cast lures, you need to know before you go.

*What kind of boat and what age is the boat are things you should know. There are "guides" out there that have inadequate equipment for both safety and comfort.

*Do you need a fishing license for the fishing location and if so, how is it obtained? HOW TO BE A GOOD CLIENT FOR A FISHING GUIDE Just as there are lousy fishing guides, there are lousy fishing clients. Those clients make the unwritten list of people who are not welcome in the guide's boat a second time. Some guides are vocal about their displeasure and others will simply be busy whenever the lousy client calls. Here are tips for being a good fishing customer:

* Be honest about your fishing skills. Don't pretend to be an expert angler if you're a novice. After watching for a few minutes, the guide will know the truth, anyway.

* Never book fishing guide and simply fail to show up because you changed your mind at the last minute. The guide may have turned down other clients because you had him booked. If there's a last-minute emergency, at least call the guide and let him know you won't be there. Offer to pay a portion of his fee for costing him a day's income.

* Don't try to tell the guide where and how he should be fishing. He is the professional, and that's why you hired him.

* If you enjoy fishing with a guide, become a regular client. By developing a long-term relationship, you'll get calls when the fishing turns on. HOW TO LOCATE A FISHING GUIDE

* Call marinas at your favorite fishing lake. Ask the marina operators to recommend a fishing guide. Marinas make money when you catch fish.

* Watch for guides who advertise in the newspaper or in fishing magazines. Ask any guide the usual questions and check his references.

* Ask fishing buddies to recommend a good fishing guide. Word of mouth recommendations are often the best.

George & Scott

Imagination Bassin Guide Service

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Well George,

I'm glad you didn't make this your first post on the other thread because we wouldn't have been able to have an extended discussion! (Which for the most part I found very interesting and informative).

This list is great.

Thank you.

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Well George,

I'm glad you didn't make this your first post on the other thread because we wouldn't have been able to have an extended discussion! (Which for the most part I found very interesting and informative).

This list is great.

Thank you.

I agree. :)

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Great Stuff, George.  I copied this and saved it for future use.

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Good information George. I have no objection to having the guide fish. If he is catching fish and I'm not then I have a technique problem and he can help me.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

That was pretty comprehensive.

More about the mention of fishing license. Many a morning has been ruined having to wait for a marina to open to get one, or head for the nearest internet computer. An out-of-state client can be reminded to get online and buy a special 3-day permit, but busy professionals just don't always get around to that sort of thing. In states not offering online services the guide will need some personal information required to buy one or more, and he'll want that paid up front in addition to regular fees, or the client needs to arrive in time to get one before getting to the ramp, or maybe order it from the state through the mail, which requires allowing for slow response and mail delivery.

Jim

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I hire guides when in Florida and you need to really work to find 1 that will fish artificals. They all just want to shiner fish because it's very easy to get novice anglers hooked up.

Be very clear what you want and that you no the fishing will be tougher. From the guides side he/she can't believe there luck when somebody can handle there eqipment. I'm even make it clear that I want to run the trolling motor some, helps my winter blues.

Also if you want to technic specific fish like matt fishing in Florida this cuts your bites way down and guides get worried.

All guides go for #'s spots and take better fish as they come. Be very clear what you want.

I like to see resent tourney results and that the guide is actively fishing for enjoyment/competion.

I like both phone and e-mail written record.

Also don't book the day after a major tourney on his/she lake. If i've hired the right guide they are exhausted from fishing the event.

Garnet

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Guest ouachitabassangler
I hire guides when in Florida and you need to really work to find 1 that will fish artificals. They all just want to shiner fish because it's very easy to get novice anglers hooked up....Garnet

Lots of folks come with no experience with artificials, and will prefer to use whatever is best to catch fish. Well, that would be livebait. But if that wasn't arranged for in advance it won't be an option unless buying some at a marina when they open. I can't blame a guide wanting to encourage livebait fishing to assure a successful catching experience, but not many C&R guides would likely offer that. I never met or even heard of a C&R guide on my trips to Florida anyway, the first and only one on the Delaware, and one in Oregon, so probably most offer livebait options, certainly in the South. Releasing their bass could be a really good way to torque a customer without plenty of time to explain why the concern. They very often want to take something home besides a photo, not getting out much at all, and in their mind not much of a threat to the bass population anyway. Those in Florida made a big deal of cooking up the day's catch if staying in their cabins, or packing fillets on ice for your trip home, or offering to ship them frozen. My PB got released partly because it wouldn't be good to eat.

Jim

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Another thing is gas consumption cuts in to a guide margins so I pay the guide fee plus gas and a tip not based on amount of fish but if I got the trip I asked for.

The last guy I hired in Florida was the best but have not seen anybody naming names on this board.

Garnet

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Freshwater Lic. in Florida: 1-888-FISH-FLOrida (347-4356 - no waiting at a marina.

Excerpted directly from my wegpages: http://www.imaginationbassin.com/guide_services.htm We can use artificial or live bait for your trip, however we prefer artificial bait if conditions permit. There will be the occasional times when live bait is the better option but it is always your choice.

With all the time that I have invested in bass fishing and guiding it still amazes me that most haven't sorted out the "shiner fishing deal". For some guides it is a very legitimate method of catching bass, and they are very successful with it. However, for even more, it is a way to fish a lake and have no need to know anything about the lake or guiding. They simply take you out and drag shiners behind the boat until something bites - These are the "have boat, am guide" types, and there is an abundance of them here in Florida. How do you pick them out?: they advertise that they fish half the state and usually can't produce much in the way of references.

Take a look at the photos in the lunker gallery on my pages if you think shiners will give you a distinct advantage. http://www.imaginationbassin.com/PHOTOINDEX.htm I always keep several years of photos so people can see some history of the lake. The majority of those fish were  caught with artificial.

Cost of a trolling motor: $800.00 approx. Cost of boat: $35000.00+: Cost of insurance: $1200+ per year: Cost of a lawsuit if you hurt yourself while being a non-insured operator on my boat - yeooow!

Nope, I don't turn the operation of my boat over to clients!

Filleting and prep of fish is a saltwater thing. It isn't something very common on freshwater, and as I have previously stated: regardless where I take clients fishing, the practise is catch and release.

Active tournament fishing guides: Being active on the tournament scene in no way ensures that a guide is the least bit capable of instructing or passing on any of his/her knowledge. Again, we go back to the importance of references as the best source to find out who you are talking to. Today, in addition to what a guide can supply as references, you have the internet. Thinking of hiring a guide: plug his/her name into google or similar search engine and see what kind of history they have. Just because they are posting heavily this year doesn't mean they were even around anywhere near the time they are claiming. As for tournament claims - it might be interesting to find that those claiming an active tournament history will, out of a 150 boat field, almost always place in the 150th position.

All guides go for number spots: I just love that word "all". It's a curious and interesting thing, but I have yet to meet a client that doesn't want both lots of fish, and big fish. Knowing what I do, that is the goal every time we go fishing. I never go out seeking dinks.. Again, references will tell you if a guides claims are reality or fiction in reference to both numbers and size.

A sample of references: http://www.imaginationbassin.com/Comments1.htm you will note that the clients that posted the comments included their e-mail addys. I have seen lots of pages where there are no e-mails with the comments. Heck anyone could have written those.

The links I have posted are not to advertise, but rather to let you see some of what you should be looking for if you plan on hiring a guide. When you come to Florida as an example there are tons of "guides" to select from, but not quite so many that aren't "have boat am guide" types.

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I can go either way, I like them both:

"Good ole bigun's or big ole goodun's"

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Thats a good point George I never ask guides about tourney success but what clubs they belong to assoc. ect. if they frequent any fishing forums. Then a quick search wll get club results maybe see some post on forums it all helps.

I never ask for references because they are for the most part hand picked.

Guides are not use to getting clients that have fished a lot so are sceptics on people abilities. The good guides pickup on on this quick the not so good guides are just struck on there abilities.

Garnet

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I guess I am really lucky, because most of my clients are not only real fishermen, but pretty good at it also..  Might have something to do with "artificial preferred."

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Guest ouachitabassangler

Contrast your Florida experience to over here. 40,000 acre upland reservoir, 11 full time striper guides, 22 bass-only, and more guiding part time, holding various jobs on the side to cover the cold months. The Corps maintains 7 fish cleaning stations. Unless the weather is bad enough to stop the guides, about 28 large metal trash cans are emptied of striper and black bass carcases every day. Sometimes there are crappie & bluegills, but mostly it's a raccoon paradise if they are left full overnight, crews scraping up the bones. Most of them keep their catches, and filleting is a standard service. I think all of the striper guides troll large shad for bait, while the bass guides will striper guide using mostly artificial lures. The striper guides are holding the record for both stripers and black bass, guiding as quickly for one as the other fish.

I guess my Florida guides were among the "have boat-will guide" type, found in the newspaper want ads, but on short notice I took what I could find. Different guy every time, but they did put me on some fine bass, the biggest ever. I guess you could call them meat hunters. They get you to catch a dink first if possible then guarantee you'll do better. You won't likely come away skunked. Near Orlando one offered a cabin included for overnight if booking a second day. That night they fried up way more fillets than could be eaten, including him and his family of 5, and the two of us.

Some of the local bass guides have websites, and they post tournament wins by name, year, place and winnings, or they provide brochures with a lake map on one side, etc. They claim those numbers are quite influential on people deciding who to go with.

Jim

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