Today’s post comes from a conversation with a relatively new guest at one of our lodges. He’s a super guy, and he wanted to be a ‘great dude’ – someone our guides would really enjoy spending the day with. His quote to your humble editor was something along the lines of “I just wish I knew enough to know how I could make it easier on my guide.”
So just to clarify, this does not at all come from a perspective of “today we complain about things our guests do to annoy us”. We were asked the question so we’re passing on the answer, and we totally understand that not everybody knows and does these things, and that’s totally cool!
Really and truly, if you want to make things easier on your guide, we offer this handful of simple suggestions.
5 Things Your Guide Wishes You Would Do
- Center up. If you’re in a drift boat or a sled that’s being rowed downriver, try to stand with your weight in the middle of the boat. If you stand way off on one side, it makes it harder for the guide to row the boat straight.
- Strip off line once the fish hits the net. At the instant that your guide nets your fish, there’s tons of tension on the line – that’s what helped pull the fish into the net. If that tension stays on the line it makes it really hard to pull the hook out of the fish’s mouth, and it also makes it way too likely that the fly winds up buried in your guide’s hand. As soon as your fish is in the net, pull off a couple of strips of line so the hook removal process is safe and easy.
- Don’t stand up until the sled hits the beach. We know, you’re trying to be super helpful by being ready to jump out of the boat and maybe help with the anchor. The problem is that if you’re standing up when the boat comes to a stop, that stop may be a lot more abrupt than you think – especially if you’re pulling up to a rocky shoreline. We don’t want you diving face first into the bow of the boat – so just stay in your seat until the boat comes to a full and complete stop at the gate…er, beach…and then feel free to hop up and have at it.
- Clean off your boots before you step in. The desire to keep mud and sand and gravel out of the boat isn’t just because your guide is a neat freak. Mud and sand and gravel are really hard on fly lines and reels and wet hands too. You don’t have to go overboard – just sit on the bow of the boat, bang your heels on the hull a couple of times, maybe slosh your boots back and forth in the water, and then swing your feet into the boat. Easy!
- Have fun! We saved the most important one for last. Everybody wants to be out there with folks who have smiles on their faces. Realize how fortunate we all are to experience such incredible places and resources, and have fun out there!
Hey, did you notice that nowhere on this list did we talk about fishing really well? Contrary to the belief held by many novice anglers (“oh man, my guide is going to be so mad that I can’t double haul”), the amount that we enjoy our guiding day has almost nothing to do with how well you fish.
If you do nothing other than #5, we’re going to enjoy it. If you want to make our lives a little easier, think about little tidbits like #1 – #4.