The first time I went fishing in the Smokies I hired a guide. I had read tons of books, articles, blogs, posts, and watched several DVD's....the four hours I spent with my guide taught me more than I had read or seen!! He helped me learn to "read the water and food lanes" and also learn to be patient and not lazy with my short "roll cast" or "flips". I would highly recommend a guide. Not a must, but a great benefit and was WELL worth the money for me......Actually, my wife said it was the worst money she ever spent because it started my addiction......