View Full Version : Ever had a grouchy guide?

05-04-2012, 12:41 PM
I decided the last time I hired a guide it was more trouble than it was worth. This guy, who will remain unnamed, is one of the more prominent guides in the GSMNP.

I had used him before, and each time it seemed he would give some odd responses to me, as if he was irritated. But this last time, he seemed rather irritated from the get-go and really acted a bit "put out" to be guiding that day. Almost like he crawled out of bed and thought "oh crap I've gotta guide again."

totally understand that everyone's job can get old, but guiding is an entertainment business as much as anything. i decided i wouldn't be doing any more guided trips - when i'm fishing on my own free time/vacation the last thing i want to deal with is some stranger's ticks and foul moods.

05-04-2012, 01:07 PM
I've never been good enough to guide anyone. I would like to give it a shot in the next couple of years (doubt it happens though). I can see how difficult it could be, especially with those just taking up the sport. However, I agree; A guide should be nice to their client, even on a bad day. Word can spread and soon he/she might not have any clients.

05-04-2012, 03:32 PM
totally understand that everyone's job can get old, but guiding is an entertainment business as much as anything.

You hit the nail right on the head...
Guiding is more about customer service than actually catching fish and if someone doesn't recognize this, they are in the wrong business IMHO. Even the most skilled guides are unlikely going to be able to produce every single time they take someone out. However, if the client still has an enjoyable and memorable experience, then you at least stand a chance at repeat patronage in the future. Doesn't sound like that happened here... :frown:

Sorry to hear things didn't live up to your expectations but don't necessarily shy away from hiring a guide as it can often be a very rewarding and informative experience. Now, on the other hand, just fishing along side some of the folks on this forum can also be a rewarding and informative experience as well. Just sayin'... ;)

Tight Lines,

05-04-2012, 04:25 PM
Only once. In Florida on a mangrove flats Snook trip. The guide was pointing to snook under the shadow of the mangroves and we were casting to them. We weren't seeing a lot of fish and I wasn't good enough at casting long distances to them. The guide started getting really pissed at my casting and frustrated that we weren't seeing fish. My dad had to tell him to calm down once and that it was just good to be out fishing. He didn't speak a word to us on the way back in and yelled at me to "tie the $%&# boat off" at the dock. We had prepaid, so we just packed up and left without tipping. I felt it justified.

As far as the GSMNP guides, there are a handful of them that can't be beat as far as experience and friendliness goes, so don't get discouraged and give up on them.

05-04-2012, 04:35 PM
Yes, their are bad apples in every bushel. Mine was on box canyon of Henry's Fork (Snake).

05-05-2012, 12:57 AM
I am sorry you had a bad experience. I am starting to hear and see this much more often. A little like i experienced tonight....

Within the industry you hear things like.....ok...im not going to go there.......not now. :cool:

As Granny stated...there's some GREAT guides in the area. Although...if your not a complete newbie..do some research...get a good map....and ask questions here. Then go fish!!!!!!

Im just sayin.....

05-05-2012, 06:26 AM
Had the opportunity at least 11 -12 times to get associated with Ronnie Parris - Bryson City on a very thorough basis. Enough times to have the opportunity to have a bad time. As I searched for a smallmouth guide on Fontana I found a picture online of him on a boat Jan. 1st with it snowing and holding a fish. I was sold instantly. If this guy can fish and guide in those conditions----he's my guy!!!

This fine gentleman is passionate about what he does. When I find passionate in any endeavor I usually find pretty greatness at what they do.

Forte is for sure fly fishing and an excellent smallmouth guide on Fontana.

Very reasonable prices and a great teacher.

HuskerFlyFisher or anyone for that matter, if you would like his contact info for future learning and great memories shoot me an email.

tnflyfisher, your statement about "by the side" of some on this board couldn't have rang the much louder.I would like to meet you sir.



05-05-2012, 07:13 AM
I had never used a guide prior to this year and after some research have used the same guy twice , once by myself and then with my adult son who is a newbie at flyfishing. we fished in the park both times and did pretty good , but the guide was a real great guy who worked with my son primarily as requested and was very helpful to me in helping me wade some tricky areas for me due to my being somewhat
handicapped. Anyone wanting his name can email me at memcconk@gmail.com

05-05-2012, 08:35 AM
Thanks for not naming the guide. I'd hate to see someone tossed into the mud over a bad day.

Keep in mind that guides see it at all some point - from the client who is enjoyable and who thinks of the trip as an investment and learning opportunity to the client who has never fly fished and knows it all. I've seen both sides in people that I have offered help...I spend more time with the folks looking to learn.

05-05-2012, 09:28 AM
It definitely has to be a tough job. Especially when they have been guiding umpteen days straight and they don't get a break even though they probably have the same sore joints and pains that we get from just one day in the back country. However, the good ones I think recognize when they are falling into that trap and pull out of it mentally or maybe schedule a day off once in a while to recharge. I know I get grumpy and overly sarcastic when I get in a grind at my work. But during their busy season I am sure it is a tough decision to schedule day off. If any guides are out there I would be curious how they guard against this happening to them.

I had a bad experience with a guide up in MI. He had just finished up with a group for the two days before us and before that had been out of the country on a guide trip. We had scheduled a trout/steelhead trip. My first time steelheading. Anyways, the second day was the steelheading. After a whole bunch of driving and boating he tooks us to his "secret spot." It was a backwater area with a spring in it that had about 12 steelhead just stacked in there. Well essentially what we did for several hours was roll cast past the stacked fish and let the fly drift through. He would stand up on the bank and signal when the fish took the fly, that is how subtle the takes were. Didn't relly feel like fishing to me. I got two or three hook ups but my initial set was too hard and I would quickly break them off. The other guy that was with me had already landed two. After my third break off the guide started complaining about my breaking off and that he had investors coming in the next day (he was buiding a new lodge/resturaunt) and was bringing them to this spot and he couldn't have them catching fish with flies in their mouths. He proeeded to cast one from his perch, hook up and handed me the rod. Then when we landed it he wanted to take a picture with me with it, I told him to take his own picture with the fish, he hooked it it was his. When we got back to the launch I just got in my truck and left. I will remember the look on his face forever. He was standing there, I swear waiting for a tip. I appreciate that guides have a hard job, and you get all skill level guys out there, I certainly was a tough one that day, but I really feel like he went way over the line with his comments.

I still haven't caught my own steelhead, been a couple more times, have had hook ups and had them on for a little bit, but have not landed one yet, When I do, I will take a picture and will be tempted to send him a copy of my first steelhead. Probably won't though.

Having said all that, I had one trip in the Smokies with a well known guide about 7 years ago and I thought he was great. If I ever do Raven Fork I think I will ask him to take me there.

No Hackle
05-05-2012, 09:43 AM
Having a bad day doesn't justify being cussed. My dad didn't cuss me and I'm sure not going to let someone else do it. You've paid your money and I wouldn't blame you for leaving off the tip. People do have bad days but that doesn't mean you give up on the effort of doing a good job. I know my day would get better if I had a good tip in my front pocket.
I was guided in Panama City and I cast crappy, didn't allow for the wind, etc. and my guide had a good time with it. His name is Capt. Rob Cochran.

05-05-2012, 12:42 PM
Used the same guide during the hard-to-fish times because he can put you on large trout. Did have one instance where he was short with me and found out a week later that he had been diagnosed with cancer the day before we went out. He didn't say anything about it, but did explain his behavior.

old east tn boy
05-05-2012, 07:04 PM
Used a guide for the first time in March out of Marco Island, south Florida. My eight year old grand daughter and I arrived at the dock at 7 AM to find a smiling young fella who not only put us on fish but was an absolute joy with Lydia. She talked about our trip all week. He requested photos to post to his website (which he did) and was very flattering in his remarks about our trip. Needless to say, he got a good tip and will certainly see us again!

Seems to me that fly fishing may well be the most difficult type of fishing to guide, especially if it is someone new to the sport. Personally, I would think hard before I committed to it, especially in the park. I have watched guides with clients wading on the Clinch and almost always see the client struggle with casting. To try to teach casting while also instructing on the finer points of line management, drift, hook set, etc., yeah, I can see where tempers might flare.

Flat Fly n
05-05-2012, 09:32 PM
This guy: search
fly fishing guide amelia island (http://flyfishingameliaisland.com/)

They designed Ducolox suppositories with him in mind!

Not only did I have to jump his boat off that morning for the dead battery in it. The guy yelled just about every cast I made, AND at my 12 year old son too. My son finally just gave up. The jerk even said as my son started putting on some sun screen, "just let him burn, it will give him a good base". He was put out IF you dared ask him a question about the area and was truly a piece of work! I obviously didn't tip him and I cut the day short after catching one redfish!

05-06-2012, 08:16 AM
I gotta bunch of grouchy friends that are guides, does that count? :D Na, they are all good people and have a great disposition, on and off the water. You hear plenty of war stories though and just like any profession - there is the good, the bad, and then sometimes the down right ugly.

Flat, hate to hear that, but thanks for the heads up. I'm heading to St Augustine soon, and was thinking of using a guide - there is a ridiculous amount of fishy water around there. That site popped up in my previous searches. Regardless, probably am leaning toward just using the money on a kayak and go exploring on my own...

05-06-2012, 09:21 AM
A couple of years ago my wife and I floated and fished the Snake in Grand Teaton National Park. While the guide was pleasant enough it was obvious he had other things to do that day. Other then that all of the fishing guides I have been with have been very competent and friendly. I can't say the same with all of the hunting guides I have been with over the years. I also have heard a lot of negative comments on fishing guides in Florida. I think when you hire a good guide you should be able to learn something from him that day. After all he should know the water better then you and the habits of the fish. If he doesn't you did not need him. I also think it is important to listen to the guide because of this. It does you little good to have hired a guide and then not follow his advice.

Flat Fly n
05-06-2012, 07:20 PM
"I think when you hire a good guide you should be able to learn something from him that day. After all he should know the water better then you and the habits of the fish. If he doesn't you did not need him. I also think it is important to listen to the guide because of this. It does you little good to have hired a guide and then not follow his advice."

Being impatient at a kid because he can't handle an 8wt rod or the Dad because at that time I couldn't pick up 50-60ft. of line and with one backcast shoot it again is not advice......it's idiotic, and certainly not worth $400 for that kind of abuse.

Good luck with that kayak..lots of great water down there and certainly alot more peaceful than..."no no, not that way".. We still laugh about that jerk, although it wasn't funny at the time.

05-07-2012, 02:47 PM
I've hired a guide twice, once in the Smokeys and once in Yellowstone. Both times were enjoyable. The guide treated my son (12 yrs old in Smokeys and 14 yrs old in Yellowstone) with respect and acutally gave him more attention than they did me. As his dad, that is what I was hoping for. They both were rewarded with good tips.

The guy in yellowstone even had a mishap with the shuttle service that took his truck and trailer to the pull out point. When we got there, the keys were not in the box under his bumper. He had to call them and it took about an hour to show up with the keys. Instead of being upset about it, we all went below a nice shade tree and talked fishing. My son and I waded out in the Madison a little and fished. The guide had some candy in his pack and gave it to my son because he was hungry.

When he learned we were going to be fishing a few more days, he got out his map, marked a couple good places to fish inside the park and gave us a handfull of flies he thought would work.

The time in the smokeys was our first time fishing there. I told the guide that we were more interested in learning how to fish there than catching a bunch of fish. He did put us on some really nice fish but he listened and spent most of the day talking about how to read the water, hiding behind rocks and high sticking, approaching the water, etc. Basic stuff but to a newbie it was good information and helped establish our baseline for fishing the streams in the GSMP. If memory serves me correctly, he also handed us a bunch of flies at the end of the day.

I'm sure either of these guys could have been surly on a bad day. It does stink though when you spend good money and catch a fellow on a day when he got up on the wrong side of the bed.


05-08-2012, 06:29 PM
Some days you get chicken; other days you get feathers. I guess that is about the same with guides. I have "guided" people on the Hiwassee, unofficially as a courtesy, and pointed out places where to fish, flies, etc. Forgive me if I might sound conceited but I have never felt the need for a guide, unless it would be for a driftboat if needed. I have fished for about 60 years and am "sot in my ways." If I had a bad guide like some have described, I would report him/her to an appropriate agency or licensing organization.