Callan Wink on The Guiding Life

For better or worse guiding and drinking go hand in hand. In this essay, Callan Wink writes about the guiding life and all the pitfalls therein. “Eventually, after their trip, all the clients go home, back to their lives in places that aren’t quaint little drinking towns. We, however, remain. Booze-soaked Peter Pans—the perennial inhabitants of an endless vacation in Neverland.” Via Anglers Journal.

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  • Paul Boote

    Young, seemigly indestructible, bomb- and life-proof, formerly ‘On The Road’- and more lately ‘Trout Bum’-inspired youngsters becoming booze-soaked, badly disillusioned, often very bitter, hard-bitten Peter Pans. We all know the type. I once met a lot of them myself, lovely guys in their early twenties but a Burnt-Out Case by little beyond thirty (and certainly totally gone much beyond forty), so declined all offers to be a Star or Super Guide for some suddenly fish-struck and newly ranch-heavy, post-River River Runs Through It, big bucks-waving Angling Sugar Daddy over the years. Thank God that I did: as I still love everything to with fish and fishing and still actually go fishing, which so many of the burned-out Pros don’t. Still ENJOY a drink in good company too, for the buzz and not merely to numb the non-piscatorial pain before reluctantly getting out of a Guides’ Quarters’ filthy bunk to get to a river I haven’t fished since that pre-Season Start “Guides Scouting Week” about three months back.

    The dream become nightmare. Just say “No”. Just go fishing, whether you catch or not..

    • Well said, Paul. Those of us who have been down the road know that the epic moments happened when we practiced restraint–in fact they often felt like part of the reward. My own best years as a guide were spent living like a monk. It’s far too easy to let loose, and much too much to be missed when you do.

      • Charles Chuck Brodzki

        ….although typically entertained with the author’s work, he really dropped the ball on this story. i fish/guide the YS frequently and i am not impressed with seeing or reading about these antics.