Altoona Mirror from Altoona, Pennsylvania on June 30, 1997 · Page 66
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Altoona Mirror from Altoona, Pennsylvania · Page 66

Altoona, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Monday, June 30, 1997
Page 66
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June 1997 Page 39 Guides, clients could do more to make paid outings a success WOLF TRACKS Dave Wolf Good guides are rogues, and they usually have a bad habit or two. They could never work for "the man," or be confined to walnut offices (many have tried and foiled miserably). Thfiy are good men, prone to skin cancer and other plagues of the sun, wind, rain and —•— c snow. Most love what they do. They know the land or water like their own living room, because they spend more time out there than at home. Guides are selling their wares at every sports show imaginable. It's a necessary part of the job they don't care for. I know, I have I**' 1 there - both guiding and manning the booth. Like most guides, I have qualms about clients; as many, in fact, as most clients have about guides. The biggest problem I've seen as a guide is the distinction between guiding and teaching. I have had more than one fishing guide tell me while shaking his head, "How do you get a guy into fish who doesn't know the first thing about fishing? 3 I understand what he is saying, for anyone who has guided has had his share of bad experiences, both as a guide and as a client (most guides fish away from "home waters" when they have the lime). The longer I guide the less I complain about other guides. Guides are not teachers - not leathers of how-to, although many of us spend a half day or more teaching. That's OK, as long as the client isnt complaining that he is not catching fish by the bucketful. When Fm paying, I couldn't care less how good a fisherman my guide is. I want to know if he knows where the fish are and what to use on a particular day. A few years back, I guided a couple of gentlemen on a combination troutAass trip, The two waters were a good 45 minutes apart, so the arrangements were to fish for trout for a half day and bass for the other half. The one man" was a great guy and couldn't have cared less about how many fish he caught; the other wanted a fish on every cast. The problem was the second client could not see the Ssh take the fly. I counted 15 to 20 trout that rose to take his size 16 caddis. He saw none of the rises and never even attempted to set the hook. I could tolerate that; I don't mind changing leaders and flies and the normal things a guide does. My client doesn't have to be an expert caster or know everything about fishing. He simply needs to have learned the basics. I was fine wife the whole affair until the client complained that he had not taken a trout, so we tried some more. Three more trout rose to his fly, and even when I yelled, "Set-the-hookV he never did. Later, we waded out to the shelf on the river where smallmouths gather toward evening. I tied a popping bug on for the client and instructed him carefully: "Make three to four casts, lengthening each one, and then move two steps downstream." After showing him how to work the bug - and hooking one bass in doing so — 1 figured the day was about to turn around for the better. I left the man to work with his friend, who claimed he had taken three bass already and was doing just fine. I looked back to the other man who was now angrily lashing the water. I waded back to his side; he wasn't happy and neither was 1.1 grabbed his shoulder and nearly forced him to take two steps downstream. He cast us I instructed and two bass came to the bug as he retrieved it. He saw neither one. Now I stood at his side akin lo a kindergarten teacher with a wayward student. He cask two more times, and on the second cast a fish rose to the bug. I yelled "Strike!" and he did nothing, We tried again, and five rises later he finally ({lustration by (tennis Vandevantfer set the hook on his first smallmouth. I congratulated him, and before the day dosed into night he took 15 more nice fish. 1 figured he would be happy he wasn't. Bather, he complained about not taking any trout earlier in the day so much for trying. I have sat in cabins with men complaining about guides, and I have sat at the table with guides spilling horror stories about clients they had guided to large game animals only to find the client using a new rifle - not the one they shot in back at the lodge, but an "extra" that wasn't even bore-sighted. Fishing guides from the Keys to Alaska told me some of their fishing clients simply could not cast well enough to take a gold fish out of a large aquarium, even if they stood on the table where it had been placed. Most agreed that clinics are for teaching and guiding is for catching. Clients should take a clinic before embarking on a guided trip, unless they are satisfied with their limitations and the results they will produce. But in the hush of the evening another client told me of a man who booked fly- fishing trips, and when the client asked to be shown how to fish a certain fly pattern, the guide could barely clear the boat with a cast of 20-feet. I understood; 1 have had guides fish a stream ahead of me, or sit in the front of the boat lobbing a lure to ail the ideal locations. On those trips, the guide did well; I did not. I have also been on trips when the weather during buck season was 100 degrees and the humidity hovered around 97 percent. The hunting was tough, to say the least; and although I did take a so-so buck, the deer simply were not moving all that well, anil it was impossible to dig them out of the coolness of the swamps that surrounded our hunting grounds. I didn't complain. The guide was a great gay and we became good friends. I don't expect the guide to control the weather, I just want to know he would like to ifhe cniilri I have fished mud-laden waters - not good conditions for the fly-fisherman when the rains came as I was on the way to the camp. There was no time to call me and tell me not to come, nor could the guide keep the water from rising to flood stage. I had paid good money to take a single fish. The outfitter invited me back for another trip fit a quarter of what I had paid - that's class. There are good guides and bad guides, good clients and real pains. That's life, that's hunting and fishing, but we can all do something to become a little tetter on both sides. The guide will work harder for a client he feels confident in, and a client will be a littie more understanding with a guide who tries to give his client the best service possible. Next month; In the July edition of PENNSYLVANIA AFIELD, don't miss... Bass are hungry for hellgrammites Feature by Mark Nale Have fun this summer goin' after bluegills Feature by Vic Attardo

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