How To Hire A Fishing Guide with Justin Kerr

How-To Fishing Videos
What you need to know from Justin Kerr when hiring a fishing guide - what to consider, what to expect, and how to find them. Everything you need to know to hire a fishing guide is covered in this video.

Glenn: Hey folks, Glenn May here with, and I'm here with my friend, Justin Kerr. FLW pro, has been fishing as a pro since 2002, but you've also guided for, what, five, six years or so? Maybe longer.

Justin: Yeah I used to guide back in California when I lived there, yeah. For a long time.

Glenn: Absolutely. I wanna talk a little bit about guides. Guys, if you're looking to get a guide, what are some of the things that you should look for? know, you look on the website and every guide says they're the best, right? It's like, how do I figure out which one is right for me, what should I expect? So let's start with finding the right guide for you. Help me. What should somebody look for in a guide?

Justin: My first thing would be someone that's really familiar with the area or the lake. Someone that just moves into town and wants to start up a guide business, been there maybe a year. You know, you could have great days, but you're not gonna have days where someone that has the experience, 5 to 7 years, 10 years on a body of water. So for me, it would be somebody that's been at that place for a long period of time, that knows it the best because they...obviously for their bass, and they love to swim, move, so. That's one of my things, is having someone that's been on that lake for, you know, at least 10 years, you know, 5 to 10 years, and someone that has a lot of tournament experience. You know, that's a big thing with me, is fishing tournaments, and I feel that the guys that fish tournaments are the true guys that really understand bass fishing. And, you know, someone that's successful and fishes tournaments, and is also a guide, and been there for a while, you're gonna get the three good things and you're gonna catch bass.

Glenn: Now is that because they fish so many different conditions...

Justin: Yes, yes.

Glenn: ...throughout the year, so they really know how to get on the fish?

Justin: Yeah. And tournament situations are always different than everyday fishing. It's always under pressure, and same thing with a guide trip sometimes, your clients aren't having a great day because it's not that good, and all of the sudden you're just...your local knowledge and ability to figure out fish and, boom, you figure something out and it turned into a magical day, so.

Glenn: That makes total sense. Total sense. Now, if the guide's...if you've never hired a guide before, like, what kind of expectations...what would they expect to get if they hired a guide?

Justin: You know, yes, no. It is bass fishing, so you can always have bad days. I remember do having to do a lot of trips where guys would be all sighing here and there, they're not catching nothing, and that goes with the territory, you know? So you can have a day that's phenomenal and then you can have a day that's bad, and that just comes along with fishing. Plain and simple. It is fishing, so. 

I just kinda, you know, think that you can't be upset over having a bad day, especially if it's someone that is a very good fisherman, and is known for being a good guide, and a good bass fisherman. You can't be upset, because it does happen. But, you know, if you hire someone that's just right off the deal that you don't have no idea what they're about and they're not catching anything, hey, it might be you're own fault for not hiring that right guide, so. It's's good to do your homework and check it out.

Glenn: Should you expect to bring some lures and some rods or do all guides supply all that, or...

Justin: It depends. It depends, and, you know, some people will have their favorite rods and reels to bring, and lures, but, you know, when I did do it in California and was a guide, I let people bring whatever they wanted, but most of the time I had all the equipment that you need. Because usually you have to have top of the line stuff that makes sure everything's perfect. 

Glenn: Mm-hmm. Now what about food? Guides supply that, or...

Justin: Yeah, you make whole gourmet meals for 'em. Nah, no. Yeah, you bring your own waters and it's gonna be important to have drinks and some snacks, and you ever get off the water, you can always go get dinner, and that's how I've always ran it. I'm always usually supplied the waters and drinks for somebody, and if...because you don't know what people...types of food they like, you know, so. 

Glenn: Right, right. I've hired some guides, and sometimes they've...they bring snacks, and crackers, and sandwiches, and the other times you show up and they're like, "Well I got water." Right? So it actually really pays to talk to 'em first and find out...

Justin: Always. Always communicate with your guide before you go. Either the night before or at least two days before you hire them, just talk to 'em. And usually if they're a good guide, they're willing to help you out. And then, you know, talk to 'em about everything, about bass fishing, and what you're gonna expect fishing, and drinks and food, and you usually have a better day.

Glenn: Now, with guides, what about tipping? It's kind of expensive, couple're gonna spend a few hundred dollars, right, to go out with a guide. Is tipping expected?

Justin: It's not expected all the time, you know, it just depends on the person, you know? If you feel like you feel obligated to tip 'em, feel free to tip 'em. You know, I always liked getting tipped, obviously, you know, everyone would, but. Yeah you're already paying 400, 500 bucks sometimes for the guide trip for the day, so. To me, that's a lotta money. So I don't, personally, I don't expect a tip. But if someone was generous to give me a tip, hey, I'll take it, you know? So...but, you know, I just make it...try to make it enjoyable for somebody, and if they're not having a good time, then they're not gonna tip, so. You're gonna try to make it to be enjoyable and have a good time fishing.

Glenn: Great, great. What are your thoughts on a guide picking up a rod to fishing or not fishing? Some people, I mean, it's gonna be controversial, right? 

Justin: It is, it is.

Glenn: So what are your thoughts on it?

Justin: You know, that is a very touchy subject with a lotta people. You know, personally, me, I don't really fish until it becomes a point where it's not happening and I gotta figure something out. Then if I figure something out fishing, then that's what I do. So, you know, I'll start out the day, we'll, you know, go throw a worm, or jig, or crankbaits, and it's not happening? I gotta start fishing, because we're not gonna go and fish all day and not catch anything, so...because fish change so much, so. You know, I'll fish...if it's not happening, I'll fish. If it's going good, I won't fish at all, so. But that's me, you know? 

Glenn: Makes total sense. I've heard some people say, "Yeah, that guide, he was just pre-fishing. And I was paying him to go pre-fishing for his next tournament." So I can see the, you know, the balance in there. And I can tell you, some of the best guides I've been with actually fished also while I was, so I don't have a problem with that. I actually learn things that way, too, because everybody fishes a little bit different, and if you're ever in a boat with someone who has lots of experience like Justin here, it's great just to watch 'em work their craft. You learn so much. So even if he's catching fish, I'm still learning and I get value outta it. So think that through when you're thinking about getting a guide, it's more than him just taking your fish.

Anyway, that's a lotta great tips, Justin, I really do appreciate it. If you're looking for a guide, take those things into consideration. What it does boil down to is what you're comfortable with and communicating with the guide that you wanna go out with. For more tips and tricks like this, visit