A few days back, the coffee crew at Keith’s were discussing how owning your own boat and traveling to an area to fish compared with the cost of hiring a guide.
Having your own boat is great, as long as you annually spend time on the water, but there’s a lot more work and cost involved in having your own boat than one might think with things, with costs and things that need to be done on a regular basis.
Let’s look at all that’s involved in guiding, a guide, needs to know the water, how it changes from season to season and how the locations of the fish changes throughout the year and to understand this requires numerous hours, throughout the year on each bodies of water.
It’s a tough job with long hours, unpredictable weather, that requires good equipment, boat, motor, electronics and tackle.
I guided anglers for numerous years on the river, lakes and reservoirs in several states and as a guide, not only do you need to be a good angler, you need to be a promoter, with the ability to entertain your quests and expected to produce, day in and day out, no matter what the weather conditions.
When I and my partner guided, we had smaller boats, generally around seventeen feet in length, powered by a fifty or seventy-five horse-powered motor.
Our boats weren’t equipped with all the modern era electronics, the locators and GPS units with side imaging, as our flashers or early graphs were all we had to find the spot and locate fish.
Our boats worked well, and because of the numerous hours spent on the water always needed something done to them.
Now days, this equipment is much bigger and not cheap and as with anything, things wears out, so replacing your rig, depending on how hard you’re on it and the numbers of miles you put on the motor, every few years it needs to be upgraded.
Guides need to have insurance on his boat, motor and other equipment, which is not inexpensive, this along with the cost the guide pays when filling up the boat and vehicle with gas is expensive, it costs a lot to run a boat.
If they guide both open water and hard water, they have to be available throughout the year, to know where the bite is and what baits are producing.
They may spend long hours on the water and once there back on shore, after cleaning that days catch, and dropping off the clients, there’s still a lot of work to be done as when the clients show up in the next day, the boat needs to be ready to hit the water, which means that the evening before, no matter how late you come in, the boat needs to be gotten ready, gassed upped, batteries charged as well as having a plan for the that day.
Anglers that hire a guide, don’t see all the guiding expense needed and hours that most guides put in.
Hiring a guide can actually be inexpensive if you figure out the costs associated with it if you were to own a boat.
First, boats and motors aren’t cheap, especially if you want one that’s good on the larger reservoirs, it needs to be equipped with locators and other on-board equipment, all of which will surprise you once you start adding their costs up.
There’s the licensing of the boat and the taxes on it that need to be paid over the years, which aren’t cheap.
Then, you have to figure the fuel costs getting there and the fuel to run your boat, and the hours spent on the water trying to locate the fish.
If you have a nice well-equipped boat, you’re going to need insurance for it, as things happen and you need to be covered if it does.
Think about not having to worry about all the things needed to be done before you hookup your boat, making the trip to wherever you plan on fishing, un-tarping the boat, getting everything situated, and backing it into the water.
Once this is done, you’ll have to burn up a lot of boat gas as you motor out exploring, hoping to end up on the spot the fish were biting the last time you were there.
Sure, they may have been hitting like crazy on your last trip, but things change as do the fish location and what will make them bite, so you’ll need to spend more time on the water and instead of all the coats and hassles associated with owning you own boat, in the long run hiring a guide doesn’t cost that much.
The time you’re on the water will be better spent fishing with a guide, as they know where the bite is, putting you on the fish quickly, taking care of the boat gas, have all the equipment and bait needed and cleaning your catch, giving you time to get back to the motel, clean up, time to relax with your buddies, have a drink or two, be ready for supper and get to bed early as you have no boat chores needed to be accomplished before you turn the lights out.
Guiding is a time-consuming hard profession, believe me, I enjoyed the less hassle and excellent results when fishing with a guide and when I put a pencil to it, you’ll find the cost was reasonable.
Gary Howey is an award-winning writer, producer, broadcaster, former tournament angler, fishing and hunting guide and in 2017 inducted into the "National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame”.
He developed and was the Producer-Host for 23 years of his award winning gary Howey’s Outdoorsmen Adventures television series. He’s the Host of the award-winning Outdoor Adventures radio program carried on Classic Hits 106.3, ESPN Sports Radio 1570 in Southeastern South Dakota, KWYR Country 93 AM and Magic 93 FM in Central South Dakota, As well as on KCHE 92.1 FM in Northwest Iowa. If you’re looking for more outdoor information, check out www.GaryHowey'soutdoors.com , and www.outdoorsmenadventures.com, with more information on these Facebook pages, Gary Howey, Gary E Howey, Outdoor Adventure Radio, Outdoorsmen Productions and Team Outdoorsmen Productions. The Outdoor Adventures television show is available on numerous Independent markets, and the MIDCO Sports Network.