Guides, To Hire or not to Hire, that is the question

Fishing is a great sport to get outdoors and have fun with friends, kids and family. The big problem with kids and novice fisher people is boredom. If you take someone fishing and they spend hours without a fish, your guest will not want to go fishing again. If your goal was to keep fishing alone you have accomplished it very well. If you want to encourage a fishing buddy then you have 2 choices. Take them bluegill, or bream fishing or hire a guide. 
I took my wife and kids to Colorado trout fishing for several years. I have caught trout since I was a kid so it was easy. My daughter caught her 1st brown trout from her stroller at 18 months but for 4 years my wife caught nothing. The fifth year we went I hired her a guide for a half day. She caught 6 trout and from then on she caught trout every year.
What was the difference? The guide fishes everyday, he knows the area, the species and what the fish eats all year long. He will know secret holes and structure so you can catch a fish and have a good time. That is not to say you will catch a fish every guided trip, everyone gets skunked sometime. But hiring a guide will increase you chance of catching fish and maybe a trophy fish of a lifetime.
Now lets change to saltwater fishing. The bay and offshore is a big place. It is one thing to go to a local stream or pond and find fish it is quite another to go to the big water and find and catch a fish. Saltwater fishing is an expensive sport. Rods, reels and lures can cost in the thousands of dollars depending on the species you want to catch. That does not include a boat, gas, maintenance and upkeep. What if you invest the money but don’t catch fish or don’t like fishing the salt. This is where a guide comes in. He will have the equipment, knowledge and experience to put you on fish and have a good time. He will have equipment you can try and if you like it, can get for your next trip. He will teach you how to put the bait on correctly and net and remove the fish safely. When talking about toothy critters like sharks or stinging fish like rays it is the only way to go. A guide will know other species to catch if you can’t find the fish you were after or you limit out. Weather and wind play an important part of finding fish and changes can be devastating to an inexperienced fisherman. A guide will have dealt with it on a weekly basis and will know places protected from the wind and changes in the weather.
What about hunting? I have gone deer hunting many times and never saw a deer. A hunting guide will know the area and will have scouted for the best place to find you something to shoot.
One thing to remember about hiring a guide. There are good ones and bad ones. If you hire a guide that puts you on fish but is a jerk to deal with or a guide that got skunked but taught you things and was fun to fish with you should tip accordingly. I have been with both and fishing for me anyway is about having fun, learning and not so much about the catch. I look at the catch as a bonus and the friendship as the goal. What I do is tip if I had fun and don’t if I did not whether we caught fish or not.
What ever you decide to do try hiring a guide and see if the sport is right for you then you will have a recreational activity you can do for the rest of your life.
Mark Harper