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?

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

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?

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