: Guided float trip
09-12-2005, 09:34 PM
Hi. I'm going on an all day guided float trip for trout next weekend, my first. Any guides who check this forum I'd love to get your opinion.
Any do's or don'ts as the client? I plan on asking questions all day long, I'm doing this to learn as much as possible. But I want to be a good client also. The guy is aware that I'm a beginner, this is my first summer. I've taken a casting class but there are certainly things he might be asking me to do that I'm just not very good at (mending line comes to mind). But I'm a quick learner and a good listener, I hope I can do what I need to on the water to catch some of the fish he's going to put me over.
And what's the deal, do you tip? Like you would at a restaurant? And if I asked him if he minded if I brought a couple cold beers along would that give the impression I'm not very serious about it?
Just wondering about some of the etiquette involved.
I don't know what the situation is on eastern streams, but I can give you some input gleaned from my 15 or so seasons as a float-trip guide on Oregon's Deschutes River.
Sounds to me as if you're an ideal client. Certainly your attitude is 100% right on. Trout guides (most of them anyway) are quite pleased to provide all help and assistance to the novice, provided he or she has the attitude you seem to have. I've worked with lots of beginners and enjoyed the experience the vast majority of times. One thing I did try to do was to work on casting and presentation away from the likely fishing spots. This was so that we could concentrate on developing technique without being distracted by the presence of rising or otherwise active fish. I wouldn't spend a lot of time on this, usually less than an hour was needed to get people casting nicely 25-30', learning a drag free float on the dries, mending a swing for the sub-surface caddis, and (horrors) casting and steering a strike indicator rig for deep sunk flies. Once they had the basic techniques down, we'd actually start fishing, with me keeping close watch to offer advice and encouragement.
You didn't mention how many others are on your trip. A quide must divide his or her time among the clients. If all are of about equal ability and attitude, the guide's time will be divided equally. In cases where the party varies in ability, the guide will spend the most time with the client who needs the most help.
Sometimes, having a guide perched right on your shoulder can be a distraction. Don't hesitate to suggest to your guide that you've got it for now and would like to practice alone for a bit, if you feel like you're being overwatched or overcoached.
Guides really appreciate clients' paying strict attention to their advice on matters of fly selection, tippet sizes, drift lines, and proper presentation. They want to see you catch fish and will give you the best advice they can, based on years of experience on their home streams. Nuff said.
As to the matter of a couple of cold beers -- in my boat, that was always the client's call, as long as it didn't get out of hand. It's your trip and it's for your enjoyment. However, if the guide does have a strict "no alcohol" policy, that's that.
Tipping: Yes. It's always appreciated. Again, I don't know how it works on your rivers, but, as a head guide, I wouldn't be tipped but my subcontracting guides would. Where I was the only guide, or when I was subcontracting for another guide, I would be tipped. Tips usually varied between $20 and $50 per guide, depending on the length of the trip. Of course, it's been a while since I've been guiding and things may have gone up a bit since then. Tipping on a restaurant scale (15%) would probably work all right.
I hope this helps.
Good luck; let us know how you make out.
09-13-2005, 07:21 AM
Thanks Eric, that's exactly what I was hoping to find out. It will be just the guide and me on this trip.
I had wondered about doing a little practicing in an area where I would be less likely to scare off any fish with my clumsy attempts before actual being put over some fish, I hope we do a little of that anyway.
I will certainly report back and hopefully have some pictures too. Thanks again.
09-13-2005, 12:08 PM
Hi Eddie, I have to support everything that Eric has said. As a guide, I always enjoy taking people out who want to learn. Just remember that it is fishing, not necessarily catching. If the fish don't want to play, the guide will work his heart out anyway but he can't make the fish bite! It is more frustrating to him than it is for you. Based on on your post, make sure you communicate your expectations (learn a cast, relax, learn about trout lies, how to read water etc) sometimes you may not know what to ask so follow his guidance.
Also have your expectations aligned with and not exceeding your skill level and you will have a great day. One or two beer is OK with me, a six pack is not! There is a matter of safety that the guide will be concerned with, you know slippery rocks and such.... Tips are at your discretion, 15% of the guide fee is usual, more if you feel the day was better. A typical day drift on the Bow is about 6-8 hours, any "overtime" should be compensated and remember that the guide usuaully has at worked least 1 1/2 to 2 hours before and after the drift (making lunches, drive to pick up, drive home, set up gear etc). It is difficult for some guests to quantify this when it is their first guided experience, so use your better judgement and you should feel good about the tip.
Lastly, spend 75% of your time fishing, 25% practice/learning/correcting. Practice on the grass at home before you go and fish in the water while you are being guided.
09-26-2005, 12:17 PM
So, my float trip was really fun. I learned a LOT and my guide was very helpful and patient.
I found that all in all, my casting was pretty good. I could get the fly most of the time where he wanted me to. And he sure knew where the fish were. But I also learned that him finding the fish and choosing the flies, and me putting it where it's supposed to be and getting a good drift, and even the fish doing his part, doesn't mean I have a fish! Those suckers were LIGHTNING FAST! And as you all know, unlike my friendly neighborhood smallmouths, these trout do NOT catch themselves! I was so slow with the hook set that I left a lot of fish out there.
But I caught several wild rainbows and this, my highlight of the day. A tiny and beautiful brook.
I told my guide (I tipped him well, by the way, all fish lost were 100% my fault) that I was going to practice a lot, then go back and do the same float in the spring. Amazingly beautiful piece of river, the North Branch of the Potomac. I had no idea.
09-26-2005, 01:30 PM
That is a beautiful picture.
I'm glad to hear that your trip was so good. There's no turning back now. :lildevl:
09-27-2005, 01:16 PM
This is just the beginning of a lifelong passion, just make sure you pace yourself at the "turbo" level and then slow down a bit after that phase! I do miss the brookies but I'll leave them to you for now.