So you want to be a fishing guide....

Many years ago I was asked by a customer to take him out fishing for some late season smallmouth bass, something I like to target a lot and have had a good deal of success with. I never had any visions of grandeur or more just nervous I could find and put him on some bass. To say I have had some slow days fishing is not an over statement.I would have considered myself a good angler at the time not anything to write home about but I had some success on the Rideau River and the Ottawa River in the fall time so I thought one of those bodies of water would do fine.So off we want one Sunday and he had a blast to put it bluntly. He had never caught as many bass as he did that day and they weren't that big but it really didn't matter to him as he was just happy catching anything I found out. He told me he would go out and catch NOTHING all day and he was getting to the point he was going to sell his boat. That was the day I introduced him to...TUBES on a jig. So now he tries to get me to take him out every summer when he has time. I put a stop to it after he never offered money for gas.That started many years of taking people out to show them how to fish their lake better or to help pre-fish for a tournament or they won a day fishing with me from a prize I donate to PBS each summer for their auction funding drive. The best ones are the winners of the auction because many have never fished much and they have very low expectations and so big fish to them make great memories. The worst are the tournament anglers who have great expectations but with them it's more a mental exercise in finding good fish rather than to just catch fish.Both of those situations provide their challenges but non more than fishing a new body of water with a customer who lives on it and wants to learn more. Fishing a body of water that someone has more info on than I do can be daunting, however the proper preparation can do wonders for your success. I really like fishing a new body of water for 2 reasons, number 1, the challenge and number 2, the opportunity to find a real gem of a river or lake. I caught my biggest smallmouth bass on a pond style lake.Now finding a guide can be very difficult exercise as there are a few in my area who are just "guys who take other guys out to fish". You can tell who they are by their boats and equipment. I was one of these types of guides till I met a "real guide". His name is Jim Miles and he operates Jim Miles Guide Service. // have known Jim Miles for over 20 years and he is nothing but a down to earth kinda guy who loves fishing and also teaching people how to be better anglers and he has been doing that successfully for some 25 years. As a guide I would have to say he is the most professional guide in my area I have met.As I stated earlier there are guides like I am who "just take people out" and there are guides like Jim who provide the whole experience. By this I mean he provides a shore lunch if you want, as he is a former chef his lunches can be very special. He is certified with Transport Canada as a registered guide. His PFD's are Transport Canada certified for guiding something I didn't know was necessary and he is trained in First Aid as well as CPR. Something every guide should be trained in; this sort of goes along with having a first aid kit aboard and a functioning fire extinguisher. The water can be so unforgiving at times.Now these may seem trivial to some but when you go out on the water, I would like to know that the person whose boat I'm going out in, is in good condition so it is not overloaded or it might be prone to breakdown but also if an emergency comes up like it can, ask Murphy, the guide is trained in these situations to know what to do. As was the case last year with Jim when a customer had a mild cardiac infarction and Jim recognised that because of his training and got the client emergency assistance quickly. This is what separates the "guy who takes people out" from a "guide".So now I am re-branding myself from a "GUIDE" to a "guy who takes people out fishing" until such time as I am ready to play in the Big League. Ultimately a guide can be anything from novice amateur to seasoned pro and unless you do some homework you will get what you pay for. If you have little fishing experience and catching 20 fish in a day is a feat then most any guide can do that depending on species but if you want large fish and consistent catches a seasoned guide is what you are looking for and they will cost more than a few hundred dollars. They should also be fully equipped with good equipment not cheap combos and old line. In my case I make my own rods so my customer get to use some very expensive equipment and that makes a big difference.Being a guide is just not going out and finding fish occasionally. You have to find them then catch them consistently and in all kinds of weather. Some customers will go rain or shine, cold front or high pressure and blue skies, so be prepared as the hardest task will be to find the fish then get your customers to catch them. You know you have succeeded when they rebook for the next season early. So if you want to take the challenge it can be very rewarding when you take the picture of your client with their biggest fish ever and you see the big smile on their face that you put their...that's my reward.....and it will be yours too should you decide to be a "GUIDE"....

Recommended Videos

SHOT Show 2019: Browning T-Bolt Rimfire

Game & Fish Editor-in-Chief John Geiger highlights the Browning T-Bolt Rimfire at SHOT Show 2019 in Las Vegas.

SHOT Show 2019: Accumax Carbon Fiber Bipod

Game & Fish Editor-in-Chief John Geiger and Jarrod Grove of Caldwell discuss the features of the Accumax Carbon Fiber Bipod at SHOT Show 2019 in Las Vegas.

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.