Working With Your Lodge Guide-Problems Part 3

I’ve had some unbelievably bad guide experiences over the years, from a Cuban guide swearing at me because I couldn’t cast 50 feet to a permit into a 25 mile an hour headwind, to a guide in Montana who was livid that I did not want to fish with his two big dogs in his drift boat when I met him at the put in on the first morning of the week. You just never know what can happen, and while 19 times out of 20 your guiding experience will be a good one, this is about what to do when you encounter that odd situation where the guiding is not up to par.

Here are four things that you should never accept from a guide

  1. Habitual lateness of more than 15 minutes If my guide is late more than once in a week, I ask him to make sure he’s on time for the rest of the trip. I don’t let this slide more than once. I’m polite but firm.  
  2. Rudeness and swearing While it’s only happened a few times, this is the fasted way to kill a trip with me. If I’m dealing with a guide who is rude or swearing, I will ask him politely to not swear and to just relax. I point out I’m on holidays and that I don’t want any negativity while we are fishing. Most guides will get the hint. If the behavior continues, I recommend to end the day right then and there. When you get back to the lodge, find the general manager and explain the situation and then request another guide. Life is too short, my friends, to be dealing with an Ahole!   
  3. A dirty skiff or drift boat An extremely important part of a guide’s day will often go completely unobserved by the clients and that is what happens after you have been dropped off at the end of the fishing day. A good guide will spend 20-30 minutes cleaning the skiff or drift boat after a day of use, before he finishes his work day. If a guide shows up to fish with me and his boat is dirty, I will ask him to make sure it is properly cleaned and ready for me for the following day. I do not like getting into a dirty skiff and no client staying at a fishing lodge should have to do this. If the lodge GM is around, I will let him know that the boat was not ready for me and why.         
  4. A hung over guide or one that smells of alcohol If a guide shows up smelling of alcohol, I am not fishing with him. End of story. Unless it was me who was putting the alcohol into him the night before, in which case I made my bed and now I have to sleep in it.  This situation was a lot more common 15-20 years ago but with the development and evolution of the lodge industry, a hungover guide is now a rarity. If it does happen and the guide noticeably smells of alcohol, decline to fish and tell him why. Then tell the GM. 

I am actually a very easy client to guide but I do have certain professional expectations that have to be met and when they are not, I have no problem advocating for myself and my trip. The bottom line is that, if things are not working out, there may be times when you have to advocate for yourself and for a change to be made. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t be afraid to rock the boat. This is hard earned and often expensive vacation time. It does no good to suffer in silence if you are unhappy with the guiding you are receiving, regardless of the reason why. While it’s unfortunate that this situation has occurred, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your hard-earned holiday time. Always be polite and never afraid to ask lodge staff to address a problem, if it’s warranted. Speak to the guide and clear the air. If that does not work, then talk to the fishing manager about the situation and be very honest.

A lodge GM cannot help you if they do not know that a problem exists.