An eight part series on taking people out on the water.

Part one.

I have been fortunate to be an active member of AAPGAI and full time fly fishing guide/instructor now for many years. I am frequently asked many questions about taking people out on the water, especially novices and how to avoid some of the potential pitfalls that can occur during a typical day (if there is such a thing).

As professional instructors we have a duty of care to uphold , not just to give your charge a great day out, but that they have a safe day, a positive experience and an enjoyable time.

At first glance, guiding people for a living on a river that is in good condition, set amongst beautiful surroundings along with great weather would seem an ideal, glamorous, sublime way of life, and often it is. Your client turns up on time, fully equipped, experienced and with a cheery demeanour, the fish are “on the fin” and he/she has a fantastic day out, just perfect! Unfortunately in reality, the above scenario is seldom the case. More often than not, human nature, fish behaviour or adverse weather, can cause the exact opposite to happen or anything in between that and the perfect scenario.


As professional game angling instructors, a title that will often cover several categories such as guiding, teaching, fly fishing enthusiast, demonstrator, wild life expert, social worker, weather controller, confidant, entertainer, friend, psychologist and even on occasions marriage guidance councillor, we sometimes have to be equipped and well prepared for just about anything and everything! I have many times over the years wished that I had started out in this wonderful business when I was much younger, as I have made many true friends though the sport and have had a great deal of fun during my time on the water.


Hindsight they say is 20/20. But on hindsight though, it would have, in my case been probably the wrong thing to do. Being young, I would not have had the maturity or much experience of life, I would not have had the long apprenticeship needed to have the confidence of dealing with the days that sometimes inevitably head in the wrong direction. Besides that, there was a young family to raise, bills to pay and a mortgage to contend with, the things that guiding just could not subsidise at that particular time.

So, here I am now, many years on with a little more experience, grey hair and hopefully a little wiser. Guiding and instruction, the two titles are more often than not inextricably linked, it is a vast subject. I have broken this article down into several weekly parts and hope there is something in the content that you might find of use.