The importance of understanding the basics
Fly fishing to me is similar to golf in many ways. There is a huge mental aspect to the sport and harbors many elements in executing properly. This topic will most definitely translate over to other discussions but want to focus on the basics for now. Our responsibilities as guides are to be ambassadors, teachers and stewards of the sport for our guests, clients and the industry We are expected to provide the best experience possible.. rain, shine or otherwise.
Proper customer service is always a top priority, especially if your trying to be an industry leader. This is common sense, I know, but ofter there are guides out there that are just in it for the limelight or glory and the quick buck. Not even taking the time to get to know their clientele a little bit ahead of time to help curate an even more memorable experience. It drives many of us in the fly fishing and food industry crazy.
Over the years, I have been asking my clients in the initial conversation about their upcoming trip about skill level as a fly fisherman amongst other things. Some are very candid while others tend to embellish a bit. There are even a few that come right out of the gate hot...where it's a numbers game and who's going to catch the most fish. We get it.. every guide wants to catch (catch & release) as many fish as possible for our clients too, not always the case. i.e. another topic for discussion later. But I want to talk about some steps I recommend for any of you going either on your 1st trip ever fly fishing or maybe if your only able to get out a few times a year, whatever. Or even if you've been fly fishing for decades and would consider yourself a fair rod. Go back to the basics. We all do this, even myself. One of my mottos is " The day I think I know everything, is the day I need to hang up my hat and move on to something else" I'm always learning, picking up new techniques... all the time. It's whats makes me better and grow constantly.
Couple things to either start from scratch or brush up: Get to know and understand your equipment. Learn all the components of your rod | reel & proper lines for each application. This is super important when it comes to casting. Start watching videos online. There is a ton of great content out there. YouTube has countless tutorials, along with Facebook. Orvis is another super solid platform. Pete Kutzer of Orvis Fly Fishing Schools posts a lot of videos, watch them. Take a casting lesson from either your guide the day before or of your trip. I am more than happy to do so myself as well. Most guides are happy to help you brush up a touch before you get on the water. Take a class or multi-day course. Again, Orvis has schools all over the country and many are year round. If your looking for something local to us in Jackson Hole, I highly recommend Spencer Morton of Jackson Hole Fly Fishing School. Super solid experience. In the Bozeman area, call up the guys at Fins & Feathers Love their operation. Looking forward to seeing you this season.