By. Andrew Scrivo
In this, the age of DIY-everything, you may be pinterested to know that there still are a few good reasons to ask for a little help once in a while.
1. What you will learn
When you go fishing with a guide, at least a good guide, the biggest bonus you will experience may not be just in the number of fish you catch, but in what you learn. One of the best parts of my job is just talking with people. I love teaching people new things and helping them not only catch fish, but understand why. You will learn new techniques and sharpen your fishing skills and that’s going to help you catch fish even after your trip ends.
The great outdoors is an amazing classroom for all of us and when you’re outside, engaged in nature, having a guide to answer questions about the flora, fauna or tell short stories can really make a trip. I don’t know about other guides but my boat is always filled with great conversation.
2. Try new gear
Let’s be honest, it’s seemingly impossible to know what to buy: rods, reels, flies, waders, nets… maybe even boats; there are just too many! Getting to test drive new, quality equipment under the tutelage of a guide that uses it day in and day out can be a huge advantage. You can bet that your guide will have good reasons for choosing the gear he/she puts in the hands of their clientele.
3. Catch more fish
Now, I don’t want to get you over excited, but hiring a local, knowledgeable guide will catch you more fish. Is it because they have super human fish catching powers? No. It’s because they are on the water all of the time! All waters, in my opinion, especially rivers, are dynamic systems with hundreds of variables ever changing over the years and throughout the season. We at DragonFly fish our home waters year-round and in doing so, strive to understand and keep up with the changes. It’s the only way to do it: experience. Your guide is going to know where the fish are and why they are there. Cut the learning curve, no guesswork.
4. Be Safer
Especially here in Alaska, water kills. If you’re going fishing, you’re heading to water. Hiring a guide that knows the water and its hazards and is trained in things like CPR, first aid and cold-water immersion (like all DragonFly Guides) could save your life.
5. It’s Easier!
Let us handle everything. The boat, gear, safety, fishing, arrangements, where to go, what to use… the list goes on. When you hire a guide all you should need to do is FISH! Take the stress out of the situation and enjoy your experience. It’s what we do.
I had a special week on the river. Jared Lindquist (one of my former students) and I decided to fish on Tuesday after sitting together through a two-day Coast Guard class in Anchorage. Watching really old demonstration videos while listening to an instructor drone on just like Charlie Brown's mother, prompts an atavistic inclination toward adolescent behavior. Frankly, we found humor in parts of the class that were not intended to be humorous. We laughed at some really dumb stuff. Much to the Coast Guard's chagrin, we both passed.
Jared is a guide for Chugach Backcountry Fishing, and although it has been about five or six years since he graduated from Seward High, it was great to connect and I soon learned that he has become a seasoned fisherman and guide. When he was in high school, I used to take him, along with my own two sons, as well as a few other high school boys in the drift boat after sockeye salmon and rainbows. I remember that I had to gear up mentally for these trips with the boys on the river. I was the adult. I was the one in charge. It often left me entirely exhausted and seldom was I allowed the autonomy of actually fishing. I ran the boat. I assisted with all matters associated with the process. I was the unofficial guide, entertainer, driver, parent, and primary decision maker.
Still, I do like oaring the boat. I like taking others on the river, and I thought it would be nice to have Jared up front - fishing, since he is almost always manning the boat for others as a guide for Chugach Backcountry. My sons are both away in college, and I have to admit that I was feeling a little nostalgic about this trip. Experiences and moments seem to give me pause these days, and I am grateful to have arrived at this place in life where I can take the time to acknowledge and enjoy them for what they are.
Jared said, "Dan, let me oar the boat so you can fish." He didn't call me "Mr. Marshall" or "Coach." He called me by my first name. I love to hear former students use my first name. Sometimes it is an awkward transaction and the word seldom rolls off the tongue naturally, but when Jared said it, it worked.
So, there I was, in the front of the boat where I seldom have the opportunity to be, and it was not long before I realized that the oarsman had fallen into his natural guide state, giving me quiet, subtle suggestions: A little slower on the retrieve. Give the fly just touch more time on the drop. Lay it into the head of that seam on your right. Let me take the boat back upstream and we'll fish that stretch again. Alright, keep it in the tube.
I have been teaching and coaching for the last twenty-five years and I typically find myself in charge whether I want to be or not, dispensing information and directions, guiding and delegating. On this day though, the transfer of authority happened so naturally, that even as I watched it happen, I not only allowed it, I welcomed and reveled in it. I was being coached, taught, encouraged, and directed by a young man that had once been a boy in my classes and on my athletic teams.
I caught big water-busting, hard-porpoising rainbows on a six-weight rod from my own boat, oared by a once-boy who has over the last five years become a seasoned professional. He was the teacher, and I was the student, and the day was bright. The fishing was fine. Thanks Jared.