Moving Your Game Up a Notch

Fly fishing guide Randal Sumner turns a question on its head and asks, “Who makes a perfect fly fishing client?” His answer says a lot about what you should expect in a great guide. “The real trick in my job is to match the client’s skill level with the fishing conditions on the day they have chosen to come fishing with me. Sounds simple, like making contact with the Mother Ship with my Tommy the Spaceman decoder ring. My perfect client is a person who is a student of the fly-fishing game — maybe not the greatest caster or angler, but interested in learning, moving their game up a notch or two.”

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  • In guiding, I learned several years ago that the biggest mistake I could make was to assume I was a better angler/hunter than the folks who hired me as a guide.
    Most folks who hired me did so to benefit from my access and my experience/knowledge of the LOCAL area. I learned a LOT from my clients. And I resolved early on to only teach when ASKED.
    In my experience with FF guides, they almost always make this mistake. I would think the perfect client would be one who just wants you to take them to the fish safely and enjoyably, and return them in the same fashion. I know that was my “perfect” hunting client.
    Being the guy who was getting paid to be there, I always figured it was MY job elevate my game by providing a memorable hunt for the client’s skill level…whatever that might be. I would never take someone’s money and say, “now you need to elevate your game.” If I want to be a TEACHER, then I would bill myself as a teacher…not as a guide.