There is an old saying, “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Fishing can bring a lifetime of joy, too. To make sure a trip turns out to be a joyful experience for you, take the following steps and precautions before booking the trip and a guide:
Choosing a fishing guide.
1. Seek recommendations from people who have fished with a guide in the area you will be fishing. Word-of-mouth advertising is the guide’s best friend.
2. Call bait shops and tackle stores in the area for recommendations.
3. Visit websites and social media pages for information and reviews.
4. Ask perspective guides lots of questions. How long have they been a guide? Do they have client references you can check? Do they have the necessary license and insurance coverage required of guides in their area? Do they guide full time? Do you fish the area regularly? What gear and bait do they provide? Can you keep the fish you catch?
5. Inform the guide of your fishing skills and experience to see if they will take you on as a client.
6. Does the guide guarantee you will catch fish? If the guide says yes, consider that a red flag. Everyone has a bad fishing day once in a while, guides included. The better fishing guides don’t guarantee fish.
7. Don’t tell the guide what your catch expectations are. Ask him or her what their expectations are.
8. If you are bringing your own fishing tackle, tell the guide what you have to see if it’s appropriate for the area you will be fishing and for the fish you will be going after. Also, if you are flying, check the Federal TSA regulations for carrying fishing rods and tackle aboard the aircraft.
9. Nail down the costs and get them in writing.
Selecting a guided fishing trip boat.
1. Never book a boat by dock walking. Looks can be deceiving. Ask yourself why the boat is still tied to the dock when others are already out fishing,
2. Chose the captain, not the boat. The size, speed, and age of a charter boat are not as important as the guide who captains the boat. If the guide turns out to be a bummer, your trip will be a bummer no matter how modern and extravagant the boat is.
3. Check the bait shop for any posted catch records by boat. The fishing results are what counts, not the hype of a fancy brochure.
4. Ask other fishermen in the area for boat/trip recommendations.
After you’ve made your guided fishing trip choice, go for it and have fun.