Being a 100 % guy I've written often about the craft of guiding and what I've learned about the magic of successful interactions after having guided thousands of people in the last 35 years. In fact when I first started this blog I wrote ' Lessons to Guide by ' in June of 2010.' I have reprinted that edition of Mile 14 after this blog entry. Now I know this is a sensitive matter as some people will say they don't need advice on how to be a great guided customer but you know me....I'll take that chance. After all I've had the advantage of learning how to meet people and of course chase the fish, many people I meet it's their first time they've ever hired a guide...I tell people all the time in complete honesty " the best friends I have today are people I just met one day and introduced myself to b4 we left for a fishing adventure "....we start as customers, we leave friends. Here's a pic of me and Nikki a couple years back, we're great friends.
1. Learn. Ask questions, test your guide. People like me that have devoted there lives to this thing want to share what they know and you'll be surprised how much that is about the environment , the biology of the fish, the nature of the tides and water column, politics, the history of the area and the fishery. When people ask me insightful questions it reaffirms to me that I'm doing some good and that my life has left something behind.
2. P.M.A. I'm a big believer in being positive and trust me, no matter how relaxed a guide might look there is nothing more that he or she wants to see happen than you catch a fish... So we have that in common. I have people ask me what their chances are of catching a King quite often and of course I hate to quote statistics or percentages but I know one thing for sure.....if you don't go fishing its the only sure way to catch nothing and forget that you don't experience the chase. Be positive right up to the bitter end, it's good chemistry. Be positive , have trust, believe and if it helps you bring along your charms etc.
3. Keep in mind you're part of a team...and teamwork prevails.
4. Don't freeze up. Some of our fishing can be tedious, like the guy said about flying airplanes ' 99 % boredom and 1 % sheer terror. Every trip I encourage people to be ready and when ol slimey surprises us do your part quickly, clear your lines, lay the rods in the tackle tray, clear the middle of the boat so the hooked up person can move around the boat....and oh, then get the camera out.
5. Be honest.....if you're cold let me know as we always have spare clothes in the boat and my shed at the boat launch is just a short run away and it's full of good rain gear and warm wraps. You can't have fun if you're uncomfortable and I can't read your mind.
6. Let's talk fishing....I got questions for you too ya know so share with your guide your fishing experiences and locations. I had a couple out last year who guided on a river in south Texas and I was fascinated to hear all about the chase .
7. Safety is no accident.....pay attention to the safety drill an act as another set of eyes for your guide. No one will ever be cross if you mention something you see that he might not that could cause a potential problem. It's a team.
8. Just have fun.....it's the easiest thing in the world.
9. You might spend a day with people a lot different than you, it's really part of the magic so just be sure not to offend , that.s easy.
10. Have faith....we wouldn't suggest you use a certain lure or color combo if we weren't absolutely sure it'll work. On the other hand the first fish on fire/chartreuse might be a coincidence but after the 3rd one we better get that thing tied on for you....
2. What I call ' Proper Neglect'...not to intense, be coooool.
3. Bring a 12 year old.
4. Be detail orientated, 4 and 1/2 passes of the level wind or whatever each time.
5. Bring banana's....I don't believe in that old Charter fishing maxim. When and if we fail we do it with dignity and just admit it, no excuses or blaming the potassium smell of banana's.
Here's pics of Dick and Loretta Hahn and Irv Evenson...our relationship after having met them 35 years ago underscores more than any what I always say....our best friends started out ......caught a few slimey's that day didn't we Hahny ?
1. You're going to see other people catch fish, heck you might even see other people catch a lot of fish... There's no need to point them all out to your fishing guide, he see's it too. In fact he can probably tell you what lure and what color is in it's mouth. For me it's distraction and a breach of faith, I always trust my experience, my intuition and hope you do as well....And it's not a competition, we like to see everybody catch fish, everybody have fun.....that's it.
10. There's no 'I' in team. That's what you are out fishing. Always say 'we' caught this or that, 'we' had a bad day......'we' ain't giving up....
11. If you're a democrat admit it, it'll liven up the conversation.
12. Don't tell jokes.
13. The word 'client' is waaaaay to formal. You're not a lawyer.
14. Your boat is just a tool. Keep it clean , comfortable and serviceable. Anything more than that is a waste of time.
15. Never hurry. This is a biggy.
16. Humpies are Salmon too. Who wouldn't be as happy as my friend Howard Brown with a beauty like that?
17. Never take a guy fishing who has a chest freezer in the back of his truck.
17. Be healthy and stay hydrated.
18. Some days when its cold and rainy and your mood begins to sour just remember you could be running a shovel instead of a boat right now. That makes for an instant smile on me.
Please come back to Mile 14. This next week I'm going to walk you all through a day on the Kenai, start to finish....