Having once been a light-tackle fishing guide, I can attest to the fallacy of believing that using a guide is for rookies. Undoubtedly, a guide can greatly improve the skills of a beginner. As I have mentioned in multiple other articles, blog posts and every other forum I write in, there are moments of leaps and sprints in the evolution of every angler, and a guide can definitely be a catalyst for those moments of acceleration. But never forget that guides are also a mainstay for some of the best amateur and professional anglers there are.
When guiding, I had numerous regular customers who would book me at least once per season. The thought was that we would likely fish different patterns and often different bays through any given year. The anglers could see a diversity of approaches and locations while also revisiting patterns they had previously fished. A focused, fulltime guide lives for fishing. For the good ones, it is an obsession. He or she is immersed (literally and figuratively) in the lifestyle, usually spending most of their time on and off the water with fellow guides, groupie-like followers and folks in the angling industry. They are commonly up-to-date on the newest innovations in tackle, advanced electronics and have a stream of insights from the anglers they encounter every day. The more-established the guide, the larger his or her network is. A heavily booked and popular guide often is plugged into angling patterns along the entire coast due to the steady stream of realtime insight from their peers and those who fish with them.
Time spent with a good, thoughtful guide is rarely a waste of time or money. If they are in it for the love of the proverbial game, they will help improve even the most seasoned expert’s skills, and if you get the right one, he or she may even improve your outlook on life. Having guided full time, participated and occasionally succeeded in many tournaments, and written about fishing for years, I still can learn more on the bay with a great guide than any other way.
Guides are definitely not just for beginners.