A guided fly fishing trip – you’ve been waiting for some time to make it happen. In the past month, you’ve sorted through your gear and thumbed through back issues of Fly Fisherman and Trout magazines. You even spent a few hours on You Tube watching fly casting videos by Lefty Kreh and Joan Wulff. But today you will embark on a guided trip. You are taking a guided trip on the Bighorn or the Au Sable or the Metolius River. You’re looking forward to a stellar day. What could go wrong?
Well, a lot. Here are six ways to spoil your guided fly fishing trip if you are so inclined:
1. Do not communicate your limitations or expectations.
After all, your goal is to impress your guide. You don’t want to embarrass yourself by admitting that you can’t cast your fly much farther than the end of your rod or that you don’t know the difference between a mayfly and a caddis.
It’s not worth learning more about the craft of fly fishing if you have to admit that your skill level is at a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Just keep your mouth shut and pretend you know more than you really do.
2. Ignore your guide’s advice.
Never mind that you paid big bucks to spend this day with a guide. You know better than he or she does, right? Forget that your guide has fished this river dozens (or hundreds) of times. You are the real expert. Even if you’re not, why humble yourself to admit it?
Better to act like you’re right than to admit that your guide might know more than you do.
3. Expect the perfect day.
You are paying to catch a fish of a lifetime. Or at least you’re paying to catch 50% more fish than you usually do. Also, you have a right to expect that the weather conditions and water conditions will be perfect. That’s all part of the package, right? If these expectations are not met, you should ask your guide for your money back, because you deserve a perfect day for the money you’re paying.
4. Forget about your surroundings since you are on a mission to catch fish!
Do not take time to look at the snow-capped Beartooth-Absaroka mountains as you float the Yellowstone River through Paradise Valley south of Livingston, Montana. You can see those grand peaks from the highway later. Right now, you’re on a mission to catch fish. Don’t worry if you miss the five-point buck in the brush near the bank, or the bald eagles perched on the high branches of a Cottonwood tree.
You can look at pictures of these creatures later in a wildlife calendar or on the internet.
5. Assume your guide will have all the clothing you need.
The weather app on your cell phone predicts a 50-degree, sunny day. So there’s no need to take rain gear or an extra jacket. The weather never changes, and weather forecasts are always spot-on. Besides, the guide probably has extra rain gear and shirts and coats in your size. He or she probably has a nice cache of sunglasses, too.
6. Never ask a question of your guide.
Since you are the only bright one in the drift boat, there’s no need to be curious. No need to ask the next question. You’d hate to be perceived as someone who needs to grow in your knowledge or skills.
Okay, you get the point, right? To get the most out of your trip …
Do take advantage of your guide’s expertise. You’re paying for it.
Ask, ask, ask, and you will receive some great insights.
Be realistic, too. Your guide doesn’t have a deal with the trout. Some days just don’t fish as well. You could have Bob Jacklin and Joan Wulff and Bud Lilly and April Vokey and Joe Brooks in your drift boat (alright, that would be a bit much) and you still couldn’t catch fish if the conditions are not right.
Enjoy the day for what it is. That means taking in the scenery and whatever wildlife you encounter. Stop fishing every now and then just to take in the experience.
Take along extra clothing.
Consult with your guide ahead of time to set the right expectations.
And take plenty of pictures. Put your smartphone on airplane mode if you are tempted to fret over a work email just as you enter a great run.
You’ve paid good money for this guided trip. Let’s make it a great experience.