Far Bank Go out with a guide!
It takes planning and patience in spades, but being a fishing guide is a great way to become a professional angler. So why aren’t more coarse anglers taking this route, asks Dom Garnett?
IT’S something that has always baffled me about fishing. If you want to improve at anything - from taking pictures to improving your golf swing - you join a group or get some tuition. So why don’t more anglers draw on the experience of a coach or guide?
In the game fishing world, it is already established. You get someone to show you the right spots, iron out the little faults in your cast and pick the right fly. In the space of a few hours they can impart seasons’ worth of knowledge. Many of us also pick a guide when we travel to far-flung places, but closer to home coarse fishing has been slow to catch up.
The hoops and red tape are one barrier. Some guides wing it, but for anyone serious about making an income from it, a course not only makes you legal but also imparts those vital coaching and listening skills.
The coarse fishing world is slowly catching up. Des Taylor takes a small army of anglers fishing each season, while others such as Nick Watkins and Sarah Collins do a sterling job taking youngsters fishing in all weathers.
Make no mistake, guides and angling coaches often work long hours. Perhaps many of our more fanatical anglers don’t follow this route because it means sacrificing their own fishing time: being a successful guide is all about putting someone else first.
“So much of it is about being good company,” explains my friend Steve Pope, who takes a lot of anglers barbel fishing each summer, from all over Europe besides the UK. “You meet some wonderful people. Some become friends and keep coming back. It’s about more than just fishing though, you have to be a good listener.”
You also have to tie knots and provide rigs and tea. You have to supply optimism even when you feel little, and be ready with a plan B and C if required.
There are easier ways to make a living, but being a fishing guide is one of the most rewarding things you can do as an angler, in more ways than one. We all guide one another to some extent, whether it’s taking a friend to a new spot, or teaching a son or daughter to fish. But coarse fishing will only really reap the benefits when more of our most talented anglers get their game together.
In the fly fishing world, guides already play an integral role. Another day’s work for river guide Steve Pope (right). But why aren’t more top anglers passing their skills on?