Originally Posted by monello
I'd be interested in knowing what it means when they say a GREAT guide. Is it numbers of fish or would not catching anything but getting excellent advice and tips be sufficient.
In my opinion a great Guide does everything they can to meet or exceed the expectations of their client. A great guide can properly tweak/improve an anglers technique if that is the desire of the client. A great guide comes to the table prepared and professional and in my opinion should look and act the part of a professional. At some point a great guide might become a friend but even then the guide can still retain a professional approach to the guiding portion of the experience. A great guide will determine or provide for the following before they get on the water.
A great guide will determine what fish the client wants to be placed on. Some clients want that one great specific species of fish willing to risk all for just one shot at the right fish while others may want a shot at lots of fish or different species.
A great guide will do their best to put the angler in a position to accomplish the above. Nobody gets to insure the fish will be there but Great Guides provide the best opportunities, based on local knowledge, to hit the best spots from the correct directions in order to give the angler the best chance to meet his or her goals.
A great guide knows what kind of attitude and vibe the client wants and delivers that feeling to the best of their ability. Some anglers just want to be poled around with no conversation. Some anglers want to wade only using the boat to get them from point A to Point Z. Some anglers want to chat about everything under the sun, some anglers want to eat great food and drink as supplied by the guide and others just want enough to get them through the day. Some anglers are completely focused on the catching of fish and others want to focus on a more wide area of items such as taking in a few sights while fishing.
A great guide finds little ways to make the experience better for their customers what ever that might mean. Picking up the anglers in a cleaner vehicle and better/cleaner boat if one is not wading only. Better loaner gear if that is required, fast and quickly tied quality knots and connections if that is the angler's need, respect for the environment and the fish is always good for those of us who practice C and R while Flyfishing. And of course Respect for the client and the sport.
A guide teaches by example/action as well as teaching by words.
As a note a great guide does not have to be the most expensive. Generally, great customer service costs nothing as it is just an understanding of what people are looking for and knowing how to discover that information without pestering the client. Knowing what few questions to ask when the client first books the trip or the guide follows up with a few more pertinent questions prior to the trip is what great guides do. Not everyone is looking to drink Champagne and eat Caviar. Giving a great experience does not have to cost the guide money just going the extra mile to determine in advance what the customer is looking for and giving real value to best meet the expectations of that client.
For those of us who have had the great fortune of having guides like I note above as well as some who exemplify the opposite of what I have noted then I can assure you there is absolutely a hierarchy of guides servicing all areas of the world. I have been very fortunate to have found and continually use so many of the great ones. I am also cursed with the knowledge the next unknown guide might not meet my expectations but that part is my job to try and perform my own due diligence to find that local guide who might best meet my requirements. Sometimes we can improve the chances of finding the next great guide. Thus the reason I asked my question on several fly fishing web sites.