Fishing Guides/Instructors... Thoughts on choosing one

rookstorm

Pro Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2007
Messages
3,602
Location
On a river
I guide and fish on the river Leven in fife,it can be a hard river to fish if you dont know it . It also has some great sections for various techniques. If your being guided you will be taken to these sections all in a day otherwise you would struggle to find access to these on your own .You will also be guaranteed to catch fish if your with me which is what most visitors are looking for i would think.
 

BobP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
8,785
Location
Wiltshire
Well, you're a bolder man than me rookstorm. I will never guarantee that the clients will catch on any given day though I am always confident that I can get them in the right position to do so. But, in the final analysis it is down to them to carry it through from cast to net.

One thing I will always say to myself on any guiding day is that I have to be on top of my game today. Doesn't matter what happened yesterday, or last week; today is different with different challenges that I need to be ready for.
 

jerryrum

Well-known member
Joined
May 13, 2016
Messages
280
Location
Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard
When trying a new type of fishing I have always found that a day spent with a guide is a great investment.

A prime example of this is a few years ago when I set my heart on catching a Grayling. Due to my location I have to travel 2 hours plus to get to a decent Grayling river.

I think I spent two winters, of about four cold and lonely days each,fishing various rivers with no success (apart from a few OOS brownies). I studied this forum, read books (new and old) and watched hours of youtube, but didn't hook a single Grayling.

As autumn came on the third year I bit the bullet and hired a guide. I had three Grayling that day, but more importantly, had learnt the skills I needed. Since then I have gone back to fishing on my own, but don't think I have had a blank day since, when targeting Grayling.

The same goes for when I switched from small stream to big rivers. When on my own, barely a nibble. Spend a day with a guide, instant boost in river craft and confidence to go it alone.

So to get back to the original question. What do I look for in a guide? Someone who knows the location and type of fishing I want to learn. Websites with testimonials are a great start, recommendations on here are useful if they match your requirements (rather than just 'I know them, they're great' ).

Also a few quick phone calls to the guides. I was very put off by one guide who set out a very regimented day while I wanted to keep it casual, but I see how that could work for other clients. You're going to spend a whole day with this person, so it's better if you have similar attitudes.
 

BobP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
8,785
Location
Wiltshire
From reading many of the above posts I thought it might interest members to know what a day's chalkstream guiding entails.

We will assume it is a beat I've guided on several times before and therefore already have a game plan in mind based upon fairly extensive knowledge and experience. It is a large estate fishery totalling some five miles of main river and carriers and therefore it is near enough impossible to cover all the water in one day.

I arrive at the fishery a good 45 minutes before the client is due. On the way down to the fishing hut the track crosses one of the carriers and I usually stop the car and have a quick look at the water. This is one of my go-to stretches. If the keeper is around I'll have a chat with him for any up to date info on fly hatches. The fishery record book is also well worth a look. I'll also carry my "company" fishing case down to the hut.

I'll get the kettle on the go. If the client has had to drive down from London as many of them do, a mug of tea or coffee on arrival is often very welcome. When the client arrives I'll meet & greet at the car and check whether he is equipped or needs my "company" kit. He'll usually want to know if he needs waders, or wellingtons. I only ever wear decent walking boots whether guiding or picking up, but usually wellingtons are more than adequate.

At the hut I'll make tea or coffee and as we chat I'll tackle up & explain where we are going to fish and the tactics I think are most suited to the day, which given my favoured go-to spot is usually a nymph under an indicator. I explain that as this stretch receives overspill from the Canal the water clarity is often less than perfect and therefore sight fishing for nymphing fish is not a possibility.

When ready we will walk about 400 metres to the carrier I fancy for an early fish. The carrier is only about 6 metres wide at most and there is a small pool below the bridge and then the next 60 metres or so is about 2' deep and fish can be found almost anywhere along it, but particularly close to the reed margin on the far bank.

We'll walk down to the bottom of this short stretch and get ready to fish. My favoured fly is a shrimp pattern that is now on Mk 10 since I first tied it in 1971. This stretch rarely disappoints and fails to produce at least two fish. The bridge pool is more difficult to fish due to some swirling currents and back eddies.

Above the bridge there is at least 800 metres of the carrier to fish and this will take us up until lunch. I would expect to catch a further four fish out of this on a reasonable day. It is also a good mayfly area when that insect is on the water, and the infamous Robjent's Daddy is a good pattern to have as a back-up.

After lunch I will suggest that we fish the main river. 150 metres above the car park is a metal farm bridge and above that is a riffle that was installed as part of a habitat project. There is plenty of water movement here and I would expect to get one or two fish from this 30m x 12m wide stretch. If the nymph doesn't produce, the Robjent's will most probably pull a fish up.

After that we will head down stream past the fishing hut. The main river has a number of pools along it and all hold good numbers of fish. Each pool can take a good 10-15 minutes to fish and I would expect to catch a fish from most of these pools. After about 600 metres a track branches off and takes us across to another smaller carrier. A smaller nymph is needed here as this carrier is smaller and shallower than the other one. It needs careful stalking and is a good place to pick up one or two smaller wild fish.

By the time we have fished this we are about 300 metres from the hut and a cast or two in the hut pool effectively brings the day to a close.

So, a not untypical day at the "office."
 
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