My First Full Season of Guiding

I took a rather unconventional approach to this season. I was in a transitional period professionally and was ready to explore what guiding had to offer in a “full time” capacity. I partnered with a friend and we began promoting and coming up with a strategy early in the year and felt pretty confident in our plan going forward, though we really had no idea what we were doing with the business side of things. 

We began buying gear, partnering with some of the best brands in the business, like Jackson Kayak, Lews Fishing, Big Agnes, Bending Branches and Stohlquist. The customers started to trickle in and we quickly began booking trips. I was very confident in my abilities as a guide, I had done it several times in the past, but there was still some nervousness there. My biggest fear was that this would become work, even though that’s exactly what it was. My second biggest fear was potentially creating a bad name for myself by not being ready or forgetting something. I ended up making a process for myself that included a check list so that problem was pretty easy to solve. Now all I needed  to do was perform well as a guide.

 

As I got further into the season, I came to a pretty amazing realization. Customers are just as interested in having good conversation and fun on the river as they are catching fish. The great thing about that is that you can’t control the fish. Sometimes they just don’t want to bite. That makes guiding tough sometimes. What you can control is being a people person. A guide should always have 3 or 4 topics ready for them to talk bout. Just general life things that everyone talks about.  This is an underlying fact that I believe goes for the entire kayak community, not just guiding. Comradery is one of the reasons that kayaking is such a huge hit in my opinion.

After it was all said and done, this was an amazing season! I met of lot of great people, learned a lot about my local waters, learned a lot about fishing, spent a lot of time on water that I love, learned a lot about people and even myself, became more comfortable with awkward situations and discovered that at the end of the day, kayak fishing is something that I do genuinely love (even if it is work) and its something that I LOVE to share with others. I saw more big fish caught than I’ve ever seen before. It made me very hopeful and excited for what the next season holds!  

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