Inevitably, if you fish the four corners of the earth, you'll need a guide because you are not familiar with their waters, but they are — hopefully!
Although anglers do not have to pay attention to being the "greatest," they should expect their guide to help them to be the very best they can be. In addition, you are paying them, and you should learn from them on your dollar, not the other way around. There are characteristics you should look for in a guide not just as a fish hunter, but as the provider of an experience.
When I got started in the '60s, I had two guides who were to become my mentors and friends. They were Captain Bill Curtis of Miami for flats fishing and Captain Buck Starck of Islamorada for reef and offshore. I never had a bad day with either of them — ever! I had fun, adventure, laughs, great stories and lots of exciting fishing. Above all, I learned a lot.
I have fished with guides all over the world, and I feel they ideally should have the following characteristics:
- An absolute commitment to safety;
- Attention to details on boat, tackle, etc.;
- A love of fishing and the outdoors;
- Ambition to be the best they can be but no ego;
- A hunter's soul;
- Mastery of fishing techniques;
- A source of knowledge of their land and waters;
- Lots of experience;
- A hunter's skills;
- A sense of humor;
- Prompt, courteous and efficient;
- Quiet dignity in the sense of not being overly or overtly full of bravado;
- Optimism and adventure for what lies around the bend;
- Absolute respect and responsiveness for you the customer; and
- Totally weather-attuned.
Maybe you can think of others, but for those that haven't given this much thought, or are just getting started, maybe this will help.