Chris Hendriks: Why hire a fishing guide? 


Tenkara guide Chris Hendriks
A lot of the time people are kind of intimidated when seeing the prices that fishing-guides ask for a full day of fishing, even the people that really like fishing and are passionate about it. A lot of people still see it as; paying money for just a day of fishing, anyone can do that. This attitude is quite common in Europe when it comes to fly fishing for trout en grayling. This attitude is somewhat smaller in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, but also there the guides need to be very active when it comes to marketing and promoting themselves.  Especially in New Zealand, Australia and the USA the competition can be really fierce. As a guide you have to stand out in what you do, what you offer and how you present it. And a lot of the “guests to be” are looking for one thing in particular, what do I get and for what price?
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What I am trying to do here, is to explain a little bit what a professional fishing guide does, to what you could compare it to (pricewise), what you as a guest should look for and to explain why you should hire a guide during your holiday.
The thing that most people forget is all the knowledge, work and years of experience that are put in the profession that is called; “professional fishing-guide”.  But it isn’t all about the fishing, if a guide has his own guiding company, a lot of other things need to be taken in consideration too, such as running a business with has insurances, employees, equipment, business- costs, etc.  It isn’t all about the fishing.

A professional guide tries to acquire as much information as he can about you as a guest.  “Never assume something”, is a saying that always should be in his mind. For each scenario there has to be a plan a, b and c. This goes for weather conditions, water levels, possible health issues that the guests are coping with, when what is hatching, which techniques to use under certain circumstances, which fishing spots are good to go during which circumstances and what is the fishing ability of the guests, how good are they? And now we are just talking about some of the aspects when it comes to the actual fishing.

There are also aspects such as reading the customers, to be service minded, knowing a lot about the nature and the history of the surroundings that you will encounter. Let us not forget some basic knowledge about cooking, indoors as well as outdoors. And a good portion of first aid is always handy.

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As you see, a professional fishing guide goes beyond his hobby; fishing becomes a passion and turns slowly but steady into a lifestyle.  All this acquired knowledge doesn’t come on a plate, ready served. It takes years to achieve this. And actually that is what you are paying for.
When we look at a completely different kind of sport, where it is really common for us to take lessons, then it would be skiing. A ski instructor is asking very quickly between the 100 and 200 dollar for an hour (or everything between the 80 and 150 euro an hour), in Europe that is. We are more than willing to pay that as well as for the daily ski pass, rental equipment and off course a lunch. Now the classes are not for a whole day, most of the time for three to four hours. Now here in Europe prices for a professional fishing guide vary between the 275 and 350 euro for a full day. And what I have seen in the USA, it varies between the 350 and 500 American dollars for a full day.

Now you got a rough overview of the time and prices. Basically you will just get a couple of hours skiing while for the same amount of money you will get a full day with guided fishing. During this full day of guided fishing you will get a lot more personal guidance and learn therefor a lot more!

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Now we will answer the most important question of this article, why should you hire a fishing guide?

As I told you before, professional fishing guides go beyond their hobby, it becomes a passion and it turns into a lifestyle and their experience and knowledge is achieved during the years. 

There are several reasons to hire a guide.

One of the most important reasons is that it saves you time. You do not have the time during a two week holiday to find the right fishing spots that produce the best during different situations. You do not have the time to find out what the local flies are and which techniques are best suited for different fishing spots and circumstances. A guide has all this knowledge available for you. And he will also, even if you booked him for just one day, give you advice on where to go during the coming days and which flies and techniques you should use.

You have this person beside you who is able to teach you, what you need to know, in several ways.  And what normally would take days, months or even years for you to learn, could be by the right guide taught to you in a day. Those small little details are what you need to know when it comes to fishing techniques and casting techniques. Sometimes you are just using the wrong equipment or you make just a small movement to the wrong side while casting, which can make all the difference. So if there is something that you want to improve or want to learn this is a very effective and good way to do so.

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The next aspect is that a guide knows exactly to which fishing spots he needs to go during different circumstances. This goes for a certain fishing technique that you want to learn, which species you want to fish for, which spots are good during certain weather circumstances etc. Beside the fishing techniques, casting techniques and fishing spots he will teach you what to look for at a fishing spot, how to read the water and what flies to use. All this will and should be explained to you during the trip.
Another very important aspect of a guided trip is the experience itself. Fishing for species that you have never caught before, fishing in a country you have never fished before and showing you what that specific area has to offer when it comes to the fishing and the surrounding nature. All these are important aspects of the whole experience that a guided fishing trip has to offer you.

And have you ever thought about sharing your joy and happiness while fishing with your wife? I have seen it often happen that while the husband is trying to teach his wife something about fishing, the wife gets frustrated because he makes it look so easy but for her it isn’t. And the husband often doesn’t know how the explain it and gets inpatient when she doesn’t get it. What better option would there be then to hire a professional fishing guide? He has the knowledge to teach her and to point out what she could do to perform better. Because of that, she learns a lot quicker and easier.  And future fishing trips with her husband will be more fun and more likely to happen.

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When you have a passion for fishing but you have some physical problems, which are normal for people that are getting older, a fishing guide can give you the safety you need and show you the proper spots to fish at as well. So you do not have to miss out on all the fun!

How to find a proper fishing guide?

In some states or countries there are certain rules and associations that a guide has to apply to or to be a member of. This makes it for “guest to be” a lot easier to select the proper guides. In the countries or states where anyone could call themselves a guide it is always wise to look at the website what the guide is telling about himself. What kind of experience he has, which courses he took, what is his speciality, how long is he guiding, etc. 

To find a proper fishing guide can be difficult, but the ones that take their job serious, do promote themselves in a lot of different ways. They write articles, visit shows, have really good informative websites and some guides even make short clips or video’s. They supply their “guests to be” with a lot of information about their type of fishing, what the guests can expect and inform the “guest to be“, about themselves or their company.  This information should be readily available to you as a future guest and readily traceable. With this I mean that you can go to the organisation which the professional fishing guide is linked to and find information about this particular guide and the linked organisation. One of the logos of the certified tenkara guides is:

tenkara guides
Now you might think “Is Tenkara not easy to learn, and are the keywords not simplicity and efficiency? So why hire a guide when it comes to Tenkara?” the answer to this is already given, but I will explain it a little bit more.
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Yes, the basics of Tenkara are easy to learn, but within Tenkara it does come all down to the fishing techniques. The better you perform and control these fishing techniques the better your results will be. And you can do a whole lot to refine your fishing techniques. And to do so, to know when to use which technique, how to read the water, which fishing spots to go to and when it is better to apply Tenkara as a tool or to fish pure Tenkara style, is a lot easier if there is someone around to teach you. Someone who has the knowledge and experience to teach you all you want and need to know. So in the end you have effectively learned a lot during a day and experienced that what a certain area or country has to offer you when it comes to a certain fishing method, which is in our case Tenkara.

So when you decide to hire a fishing guide, give him the information he needs: what are your weaknesses and strengths when it comes to fishing and casting techniques, your health such as allergies, fitness, are you used to walk through the forest, your age and what you want to see and learn from this trip. If you supply a professional fishing guide with this information than he can make a tailor suited trip for you, which can result in an experience that you will never forget!

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