How to Be A Better Fishing Guide




“Comparison is the thief of joy.”


I got a question from a listener named Nick asking about how to be a better guide. This is a topic that I have mentioned or talked many times, but never dedicated an entire show. It is a good question and I think I may have some advice based upon my study of other highly successful guides and my own experience. What makes the great guides great? Well, in my opinion there are several factors:

  1. Time on the water and journalling

There is no substitute for time on the water. PERIOD. Guides need to be on the water as much as possible…including days off, and become familiar with the areas and tides that you are fishing. One important thing to do is journal. What I do is I quickly markdown the date, time, location and what I saw because I don’t want to spend a lot of time journalling when I could be fishing. For more about keeping a great fishing journal see HERE.

2. Have a plan A, B, C, D, E….

Maybe you have communicated with the client and understands what he wants. You create a plan and head for the best area to make his dreams come true. When you get there a storm runs you out so you think on the fly and head to another spot but there are already several people fishing there. You head to another spot and by the time you are arrive the tide is different than you anticipated… You get the idea, you need to be prepared to show your client a good time no matter what things happen outside of your control. Have a good plan but also have a C,D and E in your back pocket.

3. Be Dedicated to Professionalism

This means getting their early - it is a surefire way to start off on a bad note if your client gets there before you and is asking other guides if they are you. Be there 15 minutes before the scheduled meet time and ready to head out. Also be sure that your gear is in perfect condition and you are dressed well. Also be cautious about your language, you don’t want to offend anyone. Some people might be okay with it, but it is better to let them set that tone.

4. Communication

Managing expectations and communicating well is absolutely crucial and I have talked a lot about this in How To Manage Expectations and How To Communicate With Your Guide. Be sure to look more into this one because it is very important to everyone having a good time.

5. Maintain your health

Staying hydrated is incredibly important, eating well, sleeping enough and keeping fit are all recipes that I see the best guides paying attention to. The more you watch those things the longer you will be able to stay on the water and the fewer days off you will require to recover. The more you are on the water the more experience you will become more seasoned as a guide. Read more about this HERE.

For other similar podcasts check out:

How To Keep A Better Journal

How To Communicate With Your Guide

How to Manage Expectations

Survival Guide To Primitive Environments

5 Things to be Successful

Check out the show notes:

00:00 - Introduction and reading of listener email

00:40 - My Reply

01:05 - Not to necessarily be a better guide than the next guy, because comparison is the thief of joy

01:36 - Don’t waste the clients time, do your homework and have a lot of plans

01:50 - My email, number 1 nothing is more important than time on the water

02:30 - Are you keeping a journal? How To Keep A Journal

03:00 - For journalling you need to know what time it was and what date it was, that way you can look later at the tides

04:35 - For journalling you want to do it the best way for you to remember

05:25 - Use your journalling to have a plan A, B, C….

06:36 - Learn how to be the best communicator possible, use them before the trip, during the trip and after the trip.

07:00 - Examples of several different things to look for when trying to communicate with your client

11:22 - Be dedicated to professionalism; show up early, keep your gear in perfect condition, have a plan D, journal and mind your appearance and language

12:46 - Always have a lot of different plans to get what the client wants

13:11 - Keep your gear in perfect condition

13:45 - Show up early, getting their late is the easiest way to start off on the wrong foot

14:33 - Maintain your health, stay hydrated, watch what you eat, get plenty of sleep and keep up physical fitness (Survival Guide To Primitive Environments)

15:40 - Find time to read, so that you can carry on good conversations, have ideas and communicate with anyone (How To Communicate & Manage Expectations)

16:49 - I hope that helps, this is from my experience of being a guide and from watching incredible guides and admiring how they work

17:33 - If you have suggestions on how to be a better guide, tag me on instagram @tom_rowland or email me