Mike Holliday writes for ESPN about guide Tad Burke, who besides being a guide to world record holders and tournament winners has been commodore of the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association for eight years. It’s not news to those who’ve fished the Keys for years, but Burke notes that as the number of Keys guides exploded, the chances of getting a great guide decreased. “The fishing is great every month of the year, but only about 25 percent of the guides are seasoned, knowledgeable and going to provide the quality fishing experience that will create lasting memories.”
Besides booking your trip through the Guides’ Association — which holds members to pretty high standards — be sure to vet your list by talking with other guides, either ones you or your friends have already fished with or who have an excellent reputation. In fact, one of the better ways to find a guide is to ask the best guide you can find — someone who is likely not taking new customers — who they’d recommend. They always know who the better up-and-comers are.
(If you’re thinking of exploring the Keys for the first time, Holliday also wrote this brief but informative guide to picking a location.)