A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a full, fabulous day on the water guiding Kirk Deeter and his wife (she's a wicked good angler). Kirk is an editor-at-large at Field & Stream, editor of Angling Trade, author of a number of excellent fly fishing books and a guide on waters near his home in Colorado. I'll add a post in the near future about our day together and what I learned from Kirk but for right now I thought I'd post my comment to his current blog post about guiding on Field & Stream's Fly Talk:
Kirk - I really appreciate your thoughts on guiding and a guide’s responsibilities because it makes me reflect on my work, my mission, my weaknesses and my strengths.
In the last two weeks I’ve had two clients come back to fish with me, carrying new rods and reels that they had purchased after their experience in my boat. They were ecstatic about their new set-ups. I found myself thinking “that’s they way it’s supposed to work” in reference to the relationship between tackle manufacturers, guides and consumers: guide chooses gear based on personal preference and experience (not based on best discount)…manufacturer helps get that gear into guides hands by offering discounts…consumer tries gear with guide then goes out and buys what they liked.
Well, as you so clearly pointed out, that’s not what it’s all about. The ultimate goal from the industry prospective shouldn’t be just to sell one more rod but to add one more dedicated, passionate participant to the sport (or a segment of the sport new to that angler.) If a guide succeeds in that mission than all of us reading this blog know how many rods that angler will buy over a lifetime of fishing. More importantly, that angler may teach their kids to fish, join a conservation organization, write a letter to state rep, buy out of state licenses and find fulfillment in being on the water.
I know I’m staying tuned to hear more about what you think about higher standards, higher expectations for the guiding industry.
Check out Kirk's blog. Lots of good thought provoking posts. If you read Gordon's recent post "Clearing the Line..." you'll enjoy this earlier post, Reel Dumb Advice, on Fly Talk that Kirk wrote after our day together chasing stripers. When you can tear yourself away from the computer remember to get out and go fishing. This stretch of mostly stable, south-southwesterly weather flow has really turned on the flats fishing. The fish have been agressive and not very selective EARLY in the morning. Figure out how early you can drag your butt out of bed, set your alarm clock then reset the alarm for at least an hour earlier. You'll be glad you did so once you're on the water.