Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sharing Information

In recent preparation for our camping/fishing trip to The Keys, i contacted several guides regarding information that they specialize in. The basic questions i was asking pertained to flies for bonefish (size, color, pattern so i could tie some) and tide stages to fish. i explained in my e-mails that i was fairly new to fly fishing and had never fished for bones before however, i had read everything i could get my hands on so i was semi-educated. All of these guides state on their websites that they welcome any and all questions and would be glad to steer anyone in the right direction (this is fairly standard for most guide services). Of the 3 guides that i e-mailed questions to, only one responded and all he pretty much told me was that the best thing he could advise me to do is hire a guide.

i get how information can be a premium....i wasn't asking the guy for his spots....just info on flies.

i don't have a problem sharing any information that i might have (not spots or locations) but anyone who wants to know what to use,ect....i don't have a problem steering them in the right direction.

i understand that things are tough out there financially for most folks but this type of response trying to sell me a days worth of fishing with him is unacceptable to me. i already had read his rates and seen his photos so if i really wanted to pay him $525 for the whole day bonefishing, then i would have clicked on the link to book an excursion...... and don't state that you'll answer all questions if it's just a ploy to "sell" someone a trip. i'm not expecting to catch any bonefish....but at least i'm going to have a go on my own.

Now i completely respect how much work these guys do for their customers. It's hard work getting the skiff ready, catching bait, and poling the skiff around all day to get you in position to catch fish....that's what they're supposed to do.....

i hired a guide once out of Key West. i had a bad feeling about it from the get go because he was around $200 less than everyone else for a 4 hour trip.....but what did i know? So after an hour and a half trying to locate bait, he starts targeting nurse sharks (exactly what i was looking to catch...not). When we would catch one, he said that he had to tag it because he got paid by the University of Miami for every nurse shark he tagged for research purposes.

The purpose of this post isn't to trash guides or their services. i'm sure that most guides aren't like this....it's just to urge you to do your research before booking anyone anywhere.


  1. well, your experience was pretty typical. in fact, it was better than mine was with the tampa bay guides for my upcoming trip to your neck o the woods...and partly reponsible for how we got in touch w/each other. and i am a pro and got very little prof courtesy!

    i contacted about a dozen guides from naples to port richey. i got replies from 3, 2 of whom i have pre-existing relationships with. and i was asking about booking! lol

    so don't feel bad. when you ask guides for info, you aren't going to get any. they aren't there to help unless they get paid...and even that doesn't mean they'll be good at it.

    when you need info call/email the area FLY SHOPS and fly fishing clubs. they are typically very helpful and pretty free-flowing with info and recommendations.

  2. Thanks Ken,

    Even though i know ALL guides aren't like that, i respect the fact that they're trying to make a living and information is an important part of thier craft. Most of the guides in this area that i know personally are always very helpful.

  3. yeah, knowing them personally makes a big difference...so does living in the area where they work. they don't see you as nearly as likely of a prospect in such a case, and they know that their local reputation depends more on the way they respond to and interact with their neighbors.

    key west is also a particularly "rough" market bcuz it is so tourist-oriented. those guys stay booked and aren't nearly as customer-service oriented toward generating new biz as guides in many other places where there is stiffer comp and less demand.