In my 30 plus years of fly fishing I've had the pleasure of fishing with six different guides in California, Utah, Montana, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and New York. Every experience has been good, but I've yet to have a great guide experience. I'm hoping that will change Saturday when I get to spend the day with Eric Stroup of the Spruce Creek Fly Co. Eric's new book, Common-Sense Fly Fishing, has paid for itself many times over and I review his tips nearly every evening -- if I cannot be fishing, I might as well pretend. The book is a godsend for anglers like me that don't get enough fishing time in to hone our limited skills. Following Eric's tips and strategies has allowed me to spend more time this spring catching fish and less time pondering what the heck is going on in the stream.
And that's what a good guide does; he strips away all of the distractions and helps the "sport" focus on what it takes to hook a fish. The first guide I fished with said he could help me hook a fish, but landing them was pretty much up to me. And after fishing with multiple guides, I've decided that's pretty much captures things. There are a ton of factors that are beyond a guide's control -- weather, flows, hatches etc. and the "sport" needs to accept that reality. But the good guides know where the trout hang out and the techniques required to get at least a few to strike. And the best guides share enough information to enlighten and entertain the "sport."
After listening to Eric speak earlier this year in Cleveland and after reading his book, I'm pretty sure I'll be enlightened and entertained. And I'm pretty sure he'll be able to show me where the trout hang out on the Little J and surrounding streams. But whether it turns into a great guided trip is really going to be up to me and all those factors outside our control. And right now the "weather" factor doesn't look promising with scattered thunderstorms forecasted for Friday/Saturday. And the flows are looking pretty low. Yep, I'm trying to prepare myself for things not living up to expectations. But I will stay optimistic tha the fish gods will smile on guided trip number 7.