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Thread: My advice to ALL Alaska fishing guides !!!

  1. #1
    Member ysr_racer's Avatar
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    Default My advice to ALL Alaska fishing guides !!!

    Greetings All,

    I just got back from a great week of fishing in AK. I had some good guides, and I had some “not so good” guides.

    Caught a bunch of silvers, and saw some great scenery.

    Here’s my advice to ALL Alaska fishing guides, free of charge. No need to thank me.

    1. Don’t tell me how good it was last week, last month, or last year. If I’m having a good day, I don’t care. If I’m having a slow day, that’s the last thing I want to hear.

    2. Don’t fish. I’m not paying you to fish, I’m paying you to help me fish. You live in Alaska, do it on your own time. Plus when you come home with bigger fish than I have, your tip suffers.

    3. Have a personality. If I spend 6 – 8 hours on a boat with a butt-head, how much fun do you think I’m having? I’ve spent the day with a good guide and not caught a thing, but still had a nice time. On the flip side, I limited out with a guy I won’t use again. It’s not all about fish, it’s about customer service.

    4. Remember, I’m just a beginner. I’m not the master fisherman you are. That’s why I’m paying you. You may have to show me the same thing 3 or 4 times.


    Funny story:

    I fished last week with a guy on the Little Su, he was a butt-head. I saw him the next day and tried to be friendly, he acted like he didn’t know me. Guess we won’t be fishing together next year.

    For anybody that wants some recommendations for guides on the Little Su or the Deshka, just let me know.

    brad g.
    So Cal, USA
    Visit my Sporting Clays website
    http://www.ysr-racer.com

  2. #2

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    I hope this was written with tongue in cheek humor. You don't make the rules when you come to our state from Cali. When I was in Cali, I didn't tell you folks how to drive!

  3. #3
    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Default Good points

    Brad-
    Many thanks for taking the time to distill the things you learned about your experiences with guides here.

    As a new guide I appreciate your thoughts about what you want to hear from a "pro", and what you expect from one. I will certainly incorporate your points into my approach to clients in the future.

    Your opinion is just that, you own well-though-out experience put into words. I don't care where you're from, your opinion counts. Thanks again....jim

  4. #4
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    AKHuntTrap- If he's a paying client, he most certainly makes the rules in a sense. I think his advice is spot on, and as a client he speaks with his dollars which is what supports the guide in the first place. Honestly, what is objectionable about his advice to guides?

  5. #5
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    AK when i pay for a trip i have the same expectations as he does. If not no big deal i will not come back and let people know who not to use. When i am paying i think i have some things i should be able to expect. Many guides i have fished with were OUTSTANDING and they followed his rules. I tip them VERY well. If you are a jerk no tip and i will let you know why. I do not go on a trip and pay hundreds of dollars to watch the guide fish. I dont pay him to ingnore me and not do his best to put us on fish. Yes i can set some reasonable expectations as i am paying good money for the trip.

  6. #6
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    I think he was just trying to outline some basic principles that he did or did not enjoy with AK guides, that's all. I don't think he was trying to dictate what "code" Alaskans should live by. On that note, I think his guide points are spot on. Luckily the guide I use on the Kenai for 'bows is great and I have a great time with him, and when I bring someone that doesn't fish, he is great as well. We have a good time regardless of how the fishing is, which is beyond his control. Many guides (and I have experienced this with Chugach Powder guides for backcountry snowcat skiing) in Alaska pick up guiding so they can be out doing their favorite hobby everyday. They don't realize customer service is part of the job. For me with skiing, it was like they were out there to chaperone me and get some good skiing in, not be a guide. It is as if they didn't even care they had a group of people to guide, but simply wanted to get in some fresh tracks. I have heard of awful fish guide stories on the Kenai and out of Homer for halibut.

    On that note no guide should be fishing, unless you know them personally, are a family member, or you've been out with them tons of times and you don't mind as the client (granted they ask). If you are coming from out of state and hire a guide, to fish while out with your client is ridiculous. You get paid to get the client on the fish, give them pointers on what they are doing right or wrong, help land the fish as needed, and boater safety. When the fishing is slow a good personality and having fun is a plus!

    I don't think he was trying to be a jerk and tell us how to live our life.

  7. #7
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    I have been guiding for 25 years and that is exactly what I expect in a guide and how I guide as well. Granted I don't river guide (I'm a big lake guide) I have fished with my guests on occasion but only at their insistance. I have the luxury of being able to change species fished for if the main target species is not co-operating plus I have the same guests for the entire week. Oh yeah, I'm also fun to be with in the boat.

  8. #8

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    Well said, Brian. If so-called native Alaskan guides don't want "outsiders" being their bosses then they shouldn't have a job in which non-residents cut 90% of their paychecks. Seems like AKHunt believes it's perfectly acceptable for an Alaskan guide to have a rule (unwritten of course) that he's allowed to fish non-stop as long as all clients on board are non-residents.

    Yep, I see the light now.... So to all you non-residents with a guided trip coming up: Please remember that no matter how many hundreds you fork over for a few hours of fishing, you're the employee and your guide is the omnipotent boss who makes all the rules (and makes them whenever he feels like it simply because its "his" state). So for instance if the reel your given locks up and the guide wants to keep fishing instead of fix it, you have three choices: fix it yourself, quit fishing, or handline (his only responsibility is to do his best to put you on fish). And for goodness sake, if everyone (including the guide) is soaking eggs within a few feet of each other and that 18lb silver happens to grab the guide's gob of eggs, you are to drop your rod to root him on and net it for him. And when you get back to the dock you are to take his picture with the fish so all your friends back home can see what a good time he had. (Just don't forget to pose for a pic with your two or three six-pounders).

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    AKHuntTrap- If he's a paying client, he most certainly makes the rules in a sense. I think his advice is spot on, and as a client he speaks with his dollars which is what supports the guide in the first place. Honestly, what is objectionable about his advice to guides?

  9. #9
    Member ysr_racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKHuntTrap View Post
    I hope this was written with tongue in cheek humor. You don't make the rules when you come to our state from Cali. When I was in Cali, I didn't tell you folks how to drive!
    It wasn't.

    If you come to CA and HIRE me to drive you around, you call the shots.

    Like others have said, it's just my opinion. However, my opinion comes attached to your paycheck (or lack there of). Like I said, it's not about the fish, it's about the customer service.

    I knew a guy that owned a restaurant. He served what he wanted, not what his customers wanted. Now he sells cars for a living. I love AK, and visit once a year. I'm just trying to let you know what some of us from "the outside" would like on our vacation.
    brad g.
    So Cal, USA
    Visit my Sporting Clays website
    http://www.ysr-racer.com

  10. #10
    Member 907_flyfisher's Avatar
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    Default Right on YSR

    YSR - you're right on. AKH - come on, are you serious? Tourists keep the Alaskan economy rolling - how long do you think that would continue if everyone who came from 'outside' AK to fish or hunt had a guide who gave him or her a lousy experience.
    It's basic business ethics - the customer is paying for a service, that's all the guide has to offer. If the service offered by a given guide is sub-par, awesome! That's more room for a good guide next year, because a guide who doesn't keep his clientelle happy won't be in business next year.

  11. #11

    Default I agree

    YSR is right on about this one. Also, he said that one of the guides was fishing too? Someone correct me if I wrong, I thought you could only do that if the customer was disabled?

  12. #12
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Default ok...

    Quote Originally Posted by ysr_racer View Post
    Like I said, it's not about the fish, it's about the customer service.
    Ok, well last I checked, the little su is not Wal mart. Every guide has his own personality, and he is simply doing his occupation. I have yet to see a guide with a sign saying "customer satisfaction guaranteed".
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  13. #13

    Default A lot of overreacting.....

    I think all he is saying is what he thinks makes for a nice experience with a guided fishing service. You can argue, you can say he is wrong, you can say whatever you want. All of this is opinion.

    There is one thing that is FACT though. What he stated is what many people want in a guided fishing service and there is no arguing that as I want very similar things in a guided service. He is the customer and his opinion right, wrong, and from the outside matters. Fact is, you need him telling 50 of his friends that ask him which guide service to use. And more importantly, you don't need him telling 50 of his friends which service to stay away from.

    No guides have to do what he is recommending. Put it in one ear and out the other. But, I guarantee you if you do something along the line of what he says you will have more customers, happier customers, and a lot of repeat business. And, best of all, it is likely that you will have tips coming out your jet pump.

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default blah blah,,.,

    The customer is always right. There is no exception to the rule. From the local diner, to the emergency room, to the drift boat. Customer service is expected when people are stroking checks. And from my limited experience, many of the guides in Alaska are not from Alaska. They come up to make a buck. Nothing wrong with that. But I would caution anyone from leaving Alaska with a bad impression of Alaskans due to a bad guide. Many that I have met were from other places. That is off subject a bit, but I had to mention it. All guides are not equal. From Nantucket, Mass for stripers, Outer Banks of NC for false albacore, or kings on the Kasilof, there is always a range of average to excellent guides. Good home work and referrals are a start. At the end of the day, some people are just more fun to be around. That is a reason why some people have repeat customers over and over, year after year. And it is the reason some guides eventually have to get a real job. Ha ha.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  15. #15

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    Well I don't agree with this person's comments. They were taken as rude and self righteous in nature. People are always expecting good customer service rightfully so, but good customer service also starts with the client/customers attitude. Not everyone is going to get along, Maybe, just Maybe that guide that you didn't get along with has many repeat customers that he does get along with.
    If it were me guiding you? I can already see the problem, but that of course is only my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt.

  16. #16
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    AK thats a valid point. The customer MUST have a good attitude as well. I have had customers want me to put them on 10lb walleyes and that is not going to happen. I had one customer that still cracks me up. We got up early and hit the boat. as we left the dock the waves were rolling a bit. The customer told me to do something about the waves as he did not like them. I asked him what he meant and he he told me to do something about the waves as he did not want to fish on a day like we had. I took the guy back in and that was the end of the day for him. For me it was PERFECT walleye chop and i went out and got a limit of good fish in an hour. I did my best to accomodate my guests but that was out of my controll. He was the only guy that i did not get along with. I did have some people insist i fish so they could see how i did it. I would NEVER fish and neglect my guests and i really did prefer NOT to fish

  17. #17
    Member zekeski's Avatar
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    Default wow.

    Tip to tourist fishing with an "Alaskan guide":

    1) Ask them where they live. Duh.

    in my opinion people who aren't residents have no place guiding here anyhow.

  18. #18
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Some folks are just ********s. I didn't take the initial post as YSR being an arse at all. Thanks for pointing out what you expect and what you are willing to pay for. Most Alaskans that I know are far more considerate than some.
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

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    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

  19. #19

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    Resorting to name calling have we? I just explained to this person what I expect in return, Its a two way street up here, if you don't believe that, you haven't lived here long enough.

  20. #20
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    AKHuntTrap, I stated that YSR was not being an ********. If you took that as you being an ********, that's on you. It was neither stated or implied that you were an ********.

    I'm new to southcentral, having spent most of my time in SE and a couple of years in the Aleutians. I didn't have many run-ins with ********s until I moved to Southcentral.

    Most longtime and lifelong Alaskans that I know are too busy to badmouth tourists that are kind enough to offer their review of services.

    Some
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

    "People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

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