Andrew Bennett knows the importance of fishing with a guide. Yes, he is the founder of Deneki Outdoors with destination lodges in Alaska, Andros and B.C. Yes, he has a past history in business. Yes, he is a prolific fishing writer. But his primary focus in life is getting clients out on the water. So he might be a little bit biased, but when we asked him to give us an education on all things fishing for the launch of our Sport Shop fishing line, he had a few things to say about guiding. One topic near and dear to his heart is the importance of fishing with a guide, even for experienced anglers. In the following report, Bennett breaks down what his profession brings to the fishing experience. —LYA Editor
Words and Images by Andrew Bennett
As a passionate angler at heart, I understand the joys of fishing on your own, or fishing with a buddy. There’s a lot to be said for the joy of discovery–choosing a piece of water, doing your research, applying your skills, and “figuring it out on your own.” It’s just gratifying to put the pieces together and have it all work out.
But all in all, these days I prefer fishing with a guide who knows an area well. Here are three reasons why.
Great opportunity to learn. One thing I love about fly-fishing is that there’s always something new to learn. I’m really lucky to have spent hundreds of days on the water with guides of all sorts, and I’ve learned something from every one of them. In our early days as anglers, we might get casting lessons or advice on how to fight fish. After many years on the water, we might pick up a new fly pattern or even a better way to attach a raft to a trailer. No matter how experienced you are, if you pay attention you can pick something up from a guide every day.
Local, up-to-the-day knowledge. Even “professional” anglers know that there’s no substitute for local knowledge. Guides who spend their careers on specific pieces of water will always have a leg up on folks new to the territory. Recent knowledge is even more important: where the fish are, how they’re behaving, what patterns they’re eating. All these factors can change over the course of the season, and you’re going to have a much more productive day when you’re fishing with someone who knows what’s going on, right now. One of our long-time guides at Alaska West has a great quote: “Out here, you live and breathe the river.” What worked last week might not work this week, and fishing with someone who lives and breathes it is a lot more productive and a lot more fun.
Smooth logistics. More often than not, tough fishing days don’t come from actually fishing poorly–they come from screwing up the logistics. Not being prepared for the weather, messing up the shuttle, wishing you had that other rod or that other sink tip or that other fly box…that’s the stuff that’s frustrating. Leaving the logistics to someone who makes a career out of it takes a huge amount of stress out of the fishing day, and leaves you with the fun part–the actual fishing!
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