Do’s and Don’ts For An Enjoyable Guided Fishing Trip

Give the Fishing Guide an Honest Assessment of your Fishing Skills

People from all types of backgrounds and fishing skills book trips with professional fishing guides around the Texas Coastal Bend.  When booking your trip, it is important to let the guide know what fishing skills you have (or don’t have) and what you would like to take away from the trip.  Using a fishing guide is a great way to get an introduction to fishing.  It will accelerate your learning curve and let you see the joy of fishing right away.  If you nothing about fishing, tell the guide.  They will customize the experience accordingly. 

Many experienced anglers use a professional fishing guide to explore new areas or learn new techniques.  Let know your guide know where you are on this fishing knowledge continuum and your fishing trip will be greatly enhanced.  

The fishing guide doesn’t care what level of knowledge that you have. They care about giving you a great experience.  As soon as you hold that spinning reel upside down, the fishing guide knows that you haven’t been clear on your skills!   Don’t be that angler that lets their ego diminish the quality of the trip that they could have had.  Be clear on what you know and don’t know about fishing.

Ask questions – most guides love to teach

While all fishing guides get into the business because thy love to fish, the successful professional fishing guide also loves to teach.  Don’t be afraid to ask your guide questions.  Use the trip to expand your knowledge of the sport.  Most guides love to help their clients to be successful not just on the day of the trip but for the rest of their lives.  They willingly share what they know about techniques and fish tendencies when asked.

Be clear with the fishing guide what you want

The guide will automatically use the technique that will give the highest opportunity for their client to be successful that day, but most professional guides will gladly switch techniques if a client is more interested in learning a specific way of fishing.  For instance, if you want to learn to catch redfish on artificial top water baits, let the guide know ahead of time.  Keep in mind, that the trip may not be as successful as soaking a croaker in pot holes that has been producing all summer but, in this situation, you are not investing in a meat haul.  You are investing in an education to make your future trips successful.  Not only does this benefit your long-term fishing success, the fishing guide will welcome the change of pace.

Conversely, if you don’t care what technique you use.  Let the guide know that too.  If your goal is to have a great day on the water with friends or family and just want to catch a nice cooler full of redfish and trout, you need to be clear that is your goal.  A professional fishing guide will take your goal and give you realistic expectations based on current conditions.

Follow the Fishing Guide’s Instructions and Advice

The professional fishing guide has committed their lives to learning the best approach to both catching fish and safety on the water.    The advice the guide offers you is intended to give you a safe and productive trip.  You can always do things your way when you are on your own boat, but take the opportunity that time on the water with a professional fishing guide offers to learn best practices for both fishing and boating safety.

Respect your guide

They feed their families and provide great experiences for clients by taking them to the most productive place they have at any given time. The next day they may well be doing the same service for another client.  It is a very unfortunate situation when they pull up on their current spot and yesterday’s client is sitting on it milking it.  Try to treat the guide that took you on a great trip with respect that they are trying to make a living and rather than go to their exact spot, learn why that spot was productive and find other similar habitat to fish.

Tip your guide

Your guide spent hours preparing for the day they spent with you.  This included making sure all of the equipment was in good shape, getting up early to get bait and making unpaid trips during the week to stay on fish.  The tip should not be based on the number of fish you caught.  Fish are fickle and even the best guide can’t make them bite if they have lock jaw.   It should be based on how well prepared the guide was and how hard they worked to provide you with a safe and memorable experience on the water.  Just like any service industry, if your fishing guide did a good job and provided you with a good experience, reward them with a tip.