When looking for a guide, you’re really shopping for the experience itself, so keep a few of these things in mind before you put down that deposit.
Choosing a guide is not something to be taken lightly. There are so many factors that go into determining which guide will be the best fit for your and your group out on the water.
1. Book early – This will give you the widest range of options. Obviously sometimes things don’t always fall into place months in advance, but this is your best bet for finding the match you’re looking for and getting on board the right boat.
2. Get to know your guide – Social media is clearly the driving platform for most guide businesses, and you can find an endless range of options in the way of guide services and charters.
Look around at a few different guides and select a handful that appeal to your needs. Follow their guiding adventures and spark up conversation with them about coming seasons, for instance, start talking to them about their plans for Fall during the spring and summer. The nature of their work keeps them away from being online, so it’s good to get a jump on what they have in mind for the next season and if that fits your own plans.
You also want to know if you mesh well personality wise with your guide for the best experience. Ideally, at the end of the best days, you should feel like you’ve gained a fishing buddy rather than paid for a service.
3. Find a guide experienced with the target area – Fisheries like the Columbia River bring guides from all over the Northwest, but if you’re looking for a more specific target area, you’ll want to search for guides that are local to those areas and have more experience with that specific water.
Most of the guides that are fishing Buoy 10 have set up shop there for the season. Some of them might change location depending on the success of fishing, so make sure you’re either flexible to move to a different fishery or the guide is committed to spending the season in Astoria.
4. Get in where you fit in – If you’re booking a guide for a large party, you’ll need to plan further in advance and try to reserve the boat. If you’re going solo or bringing a friend, you might want to talk to the guide to see if they have dates booked where they need to fill a few more seats.
Take a chance on meeting some other clients and making some new fishing buddies on the water. Everyone is there to have fun anyway.
5. Don’t rule out the underdogs – Guiding has grown in popularity in the Northwest in recent history, and there’s no shortage of youngbloods trying to squeeze their names into the spotlight with their more experienced counterparts.
There’s also a growing group of highly experienced anglers that have only recently started guiding, and guides that have only recently started guiding the Buoy 10 fishery.
Many of these guides will usually have competitive pricing, or deals on “buying the boat” for a day (filling a minimum number of seats to reserve the whole boat).