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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
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What A Good Guide Does

Posted by Mark Thursday, March 15, 2012

After seeing some post's lately about what a guide does(loved Marty Sheppard's),I would like to weigh in as well. The first and most important thought is one that many guides loose focus of.

A good guide should know right up front that THE TRIP IS NOT ABOUT THEM, IT'S ABOUT THE CLIENT! Sadly, this is not something that is always the case in the guide world. You have many guides who are worrying about numbers and pumping their ego and business with no respect to the needs of the customer. They say "It's my business were doing things my way, I know best!" This may be true but your idea of a fun day may not always be what the client wants. A good guide is sensitive to these things and it can make the difference in a good day or a great day.

I learned from a wise guide friend of mine years ago that a good guide asks his clients what their expectation is for the day. THIS IS KEY! Listen to what they say and formulate your plan as a guide.Balance the  responsibility for teaching and maybe catching some fish,with their expectations of what they would like to get out of the day. Sometimes those expectations are very different from yours. LISTEN! Other times you get the guys who have a plan that fits yours exactly and you can go hog wild and fish hard and take names. Don't let your ideas cloud your mind about what the client wants......ASK THEM!

There are times a good guide will forgo his plans and expectations of the perfect day, even if it means not catching many fish. Going against all logic and and reason sometimes is what it takes to satisfy a client. A good guide will do what has to be done. Remember, IT AIN'T ABOUT YOU! If a client wants to skate flies in 34 degree water in winter all day with little chance of any action, GIDDY UP, LET"S GO! Even if I know we could take multiple fish swinging tips and big flies,and have advised the client to this, I will do what the client wants, IT'S THEIR TRIP! If they want to spend two hours working on his snap T and snake roll with a ball of yarn on the end of their line when fish are rolling around eager to hit a skater in the summertime, COOL WITH ME!

A good guide always has a plan to optimize time in the water and put his client into the best possible situations. He must also be able to cater that plan to the needs of the client. Sometimes the client is not all about catching as many fish as possible and really needs help on technique or casting. Help them do that if that is what is needed most.

A good guide is a perpetual student in fish behavior, water levels, fly choices and styles.

A good guide is up on all the latest techniques and equipment and can converse about and use it all easily. If someone comes on a trip with me and has the latest and greatest Skagit,Scandi, short head,mid belly longbelly,Rage-O Rama with the newest tips, I have done the research and have already cast the setup before hand. A good guide should be able to pick up any rod,line, and reel and cast it. A good guide knows what a balanced set up is for all casting styles and can relay that to a client easily. If they don't have a proper set up, a good guide will have a rod and combo that will fit that clients style and ability on hand.

While a good guide may not necessarily teach every technique out there that is "cool", he should still be able to teach it at a moments notice, to satisfy a clients needs or curiosity about a given style.

A good guide is a cheerleader, a coach, a friend, and should be considered an equal with his client. A good guide does not need to raise himself,his knowledge or skill above a client.We are teachers and servants,we are no better than anyone else out there, we just have the blessing of being on the water a little more.

There are many great guides out there, find one that is about YOU and your experience and you will have found a winner.

1 Responses to What A Good Guide Does

  1. truchacabra Says:
  2. Defining the perfect guide is my lifelong pursuit. It's the holier than thou stuff that drives me out of my mind. I've heard they should retire early, and I've heard they should start late. One way or another, guides should pay better attention as a rule. Guides Part 2


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