“Don’t Guess About Your Guide” Part 1
“Don’t Guess About Your Guide”
By Stan Fagerstrom
It doesn’t matter what desirable endeavor you’re involved in, anticipation is always a part of it. This applies in spades when a long awaited fishing adventure is coming up.
You know what I’m talking about. Suppose, for example, you’re going to travel to New Zealand to fish for trout in that beautiful country. It’s something you’ve been dreaming about all of your adult life and now it’s finally going to really happen.
You finally get on the airliner that’s going to take you to the land of the Kiwis. As your flight nears an end some 14-hours later, you're pooped. It feels like you've been flying for days instead of hours. You breathe a big sigh of relief as the seat belt sign comes on and the captain announces the plane is on its final approach.
As soon as the aircraft stops you tug your tackle box out from under the seat and slide your rod case from the overhead storage bin. The thumping in your chest as you head down the aisle to exit the aircraft reflects the excitement you feel at finally reaching the destination you've wanted to fish for so long.
Moments later you walk into the waiting area. On all sides friends and relatives are greeting arriving passengers. You wait and watch without anyone showing the slightest interest in you. The guide who had promised to meet you isn't there. You think perhaps he plans to meet you in the baggage area so you head in that direction. Your bags are there but not the guide. He's not there when the baggage comes down the ramp and he's not there an hour later.
Now anger begins to replace the exhaustion and excitement that has been building ever since you signed up for the trip. You have a gnawing sensation in your gut. You find the nearest telephone and dial the number the guide gave you. He doesn't answer, but the recorded voice of an operator does: "We're sorry, but the number you are calling has been disconnected. If you think you've dialed in error, please hang up and try again."
If you think all this sounds like a fairy tale---guess again. New Zealand is probably not the best example because it’s less likely to happen there than many other places around the world. But it does happen wherever anglers book long range trips and unfortunately it happens more often than you think. But it doesn't have to. It's not all that hard to take the guesswork out of hiring a guide. All it requires is a little intelligent planning.
Nobody is better qualified to tell you what those steps are than some of the top guides themselves. Pull up a stool while I help them tell you how to make certain the guide you hire turns out to be everything you want him to be.
Let's say you're planning a trip to Alaska. Perhaps you're halfway across the United States without a chance of talking over an Alaskan trip with a guide or outfitter. How in the world are you going to know what to do? There are answers and over the years I’ve talked to some of the best guides in the business to find out what they are.
The first thing to do, they advise, is ask for references. Once you get references, take time to check them out. Check several and listen to what's not said as well as what is said. Seek a guide who is a full time operator. Most full time guides really work at giving a client his money's worth. They resent the part timer or the fly-by-night who burns a customer because even though they had nothing to with it, it reflects on the entire guiding and outfitting industry.
There are a number of steps you can and should take to assure the success of a long awaited fishing trip. We’ll take a look at more of them in my next two columns.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the
intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- Whoo hoooo! -- What a Ride!"