If the planned fishing vacation consists of heading to the local state park for a weekend of camping and fishing, the prospective anglers probably can handle the details on their own. If , however, the trip is to a distant vacation spot, a good investment might be to hire a guide.
That is not to say that one could not find a guide to find the best fishing holes at the local reservoir. All it really takes to be a fishing guide is some knowledge of the activity and the desire to do it for a living. Of course, only the guides who really know their business are actually going to be able to make a living in the profession.
Picking a Guide
The trick then is to be able to pick the good guides from the bad. The best way to do that is to talk to other anglers who have used the guides. Did they catch as many fish as they wanted? No, (anglers rarely are satisfied) but did they at least come close? Many guides list testimonials in their advertising or on their web sites if the angler has no other personal contacts with whom to confer.
Vacation planners also can check with fishing guide industry sources. Yes, there is a fishing guide industry, complete with numerous professional associations. In fact, every popular fishing vacation destination would seem to have its own association. While it might not be the best place to find the best guide, anglers certainly should be wary of a guide not listed or accredited by the association in his area.
Other sources to check for fishing guides would be angling associations, particularly ones associated with a particular type of fishing, such as the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) for bass fishing guides. These organizations are numerous and their web sites usually contain a wealth of information about fishing. If nothing else, sending an email to someone at one of these organizations probably would link up the angler with a reputable guide. Lastly, if the guide has been featured on one of the several televised fishing shows, they probably can be trusted.
What to Expect
What to expect from a fishing guide will depend mainly on what they offer and the expertise of the vacationing angler. Usually the guide will provide the boat and tackle and some of the other essentials. What gets put in the cooler probably will be up to the client. Expect to pay upwards of $100 a person for hiring a guide, although rates will vary greatly depending on the location and length of hire.
In all cases one should expect a guide that knows the craft and knows where to find the fish. A guide also should be someone willing to give instruction and spend time helping the anglers get the most out of the fishing experience. Make sure that the guide hired is not just someone being paid to go fishing with the clients.