Friday, March 28, 2014

Why Guides Don't Use The G Word

Yes fish is a four letter word. So is work, wife, and boat! But it's not these or other four letter words that most fishing guides are scared of. In fact its a whopping 9 letter'er that we all shy away from, GUARANTEE. Why don't guides guarantee fish? It's a question even I've asked myself over the years. It's no secret that there are several guides on Blue Mesa Reservoir which makes competition a little fierce at times. Luckily, it's a very unique situations where we, for the most part, all get along. We frequently text back and forth, helping each other where we can, tossing each other trips when we can't accommodate them and so on. But the thought has crossed my mind that if I offered a GUARANTEE perhaps it would give me a competitive edge.

Up until the end of last season, I had only caught the five letter word (skunk) three times in my guide career and two of them where with the same client, back to back years! But still, over a hundred trips a year for almost 5 years, only three skunks. Then the end of last summer happened. It didn't just happen to me, it happened to the whole lake. Water levels remained low, oxygen content tanked, and fish got the lock jaw. All of us guides cancelled trips, moved trips to other lakes and grinded out miserable days fishing followed by a great one, then a terrible one with no rhyme or reason to it at all. It made me think harder about the G word thing.

Here's my conclusion, I know that day in and day out there are only a handful of guys on each body of water that can consistently produce fish even when they don't want to bite. These doesn't mean that the same group of fisherman could go to an body of water in the country and produce fish, but the waters they fish for a living I honestly feel they provide anyone the absolute best opportunity to catch fish. I can honestly say I put myself in that group on the reservoirs I guide. But all of us have our days. It's always interesting to come to the cleaning station and see who has done what. Some days I win, some days I don't. But the truth is, if all of us (guides that is) come to the cleaning station with a decent bag of fish and happy customers then we all win. But we have all had the day when we show up with far less than someone else. It has happened and will happen again to all of us. We can fish the exact same lure, in the exact same spot, and someone will catch more. It's just the way it is, it's fishing!

I can remember a bass competition I was watching a few years ago. It was  pro event and featured the absolute very best fisherman in the country. These guys catch 5 lb smallies out of mud puddles in my front yard. I remember very clearly in this competition two of the competitors had found a hydrilla pad.  I also remember one of the contestants was Gary Yamamoto. Yamamoto and the the other guy we're the only two fishing this pad and they where using the exact same skirted jig. To the color even. Yamamoto was killing them and built a huge lead on the field while the guy next door struggled to catch a limit of keepers. Yamamoto was culling several fish an hour and his competitor barely got enough bites to weigh. The very next day, the exact same guys on the exact same pad and the roles reversed. Yamamaoto struggled and the neighbor set the world on fire. It happens to the very best in the world too.
And so it is with guiding. If you've done your homework and you know you're with a good guide, put your faith in him or her and give them some credit. We all have our days. I would love for it to be my day with everyone of my clients, but the chips just don't fall that way. We have spent hundreds of days on the water just tinkering and though we all have a few little secrets or quirks of our own, when it comes time for you to jump in the boat with us, rest easy that we have put a ton of work into your trip. Enjoy the view, pick our brains a little, and more than likely we'll catch fish.But please don't mentino the G word, because if feels like that's the kiss of death for some trips!

Tight lines and shoot straight!
Ryan Johnson

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