10 Things I Like To Remember as a Guide

I love my job. I’m a professional fly fishing guide in the beautiful Roaring Fork Valley…Angling on the Fork, The Frying Pan River, The Crystal River and even down on the “Big Muddy” aka The Colorado river. as my mentor, John High use to say. We have so much access within an hours drive, no matter what direction you point.

We are lucky.

During the high season, many of us guides are on the water from 7 am until dark, 6-7 days a week, by choice. As the saying goes, “Make hay, while the sun shines” or something like that. In short, we need to work all we can, it will ineveably slowdown and guide work will dry up. But the inevetable will happen as summer passes by and the days get hot, we all start to get crispy, grumpy, short, sarcastic or more fishing appropiate, salty.

Just the other day I was out with some great people, some neverevers, but still nice people. Our day was strong, really strong, however that caused me undue stress and my temperment to be tested. Trust me, I was pleased with our success, but what triggered me was that the clients thought that this was the norm. They began to make it a compitition with total disregard for the fish and the art in which it took to catch them.

Nothing will set me off more than that. So I bit my tongue and tried to educate the newbies that we’re out here for more than numbers and a InstaGram photo.

This bring me to why I wanted to write a post on the 10 things I believe that all of us guides need to remember. So here we go:

  1. Always be educating all aspect of our sport from technique to etiquette, habitat to knots.
  2. Remember it’s a day of fishing for you, but it’s the clients “big trip” they may only do once a year. They are paying real money for your full attention.
  3. We are to be the example of what our sport coveys: Tradition, Awareness, Problem-Solving, Beauty, Stewardship
  4. Treat the fish with care and respect. They’re not disposable entertainment, they are our business partners
  5. Try to limit photos. There is no reason to take pics of every fish. Truthfully, if you do that it’s kinda sad really.
  6. I love this one. Think of how many “family memories”, stories, photos you’re part of. Daunting if you think about it. We are many peoples “life highlights”
  7. We are ambassadors out there-act like it. Don’t be a dick.
  8. Let things go, literally and figuratively, Release the fish quickly, let go of conflicts, don’t get agro if someone snakes your water, don’t get angry with lost fish, bad clients always go away.
  9. Try to get away from “numbers” as an endgame. Fact is, if you condition your clients to count fish that make it to the net and disregard the ones that “long distant released”, their next trip may not be as successful due to a number of varibles, so it will never produce enough as last time. Remember why your out there. Catching fish is awesome but a memorable experience and leaving happy far surpasses the count.
  10. Be a class act, we have a great job, the best job, that many people wish they could have..

Remember that.

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