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Choosing The Right Fishing Guide

April 23, 2017 | Jamie Sears Rawlings

There are at least a hundred reasons why you might decide to hire a fishing guide for an outing on Kentucky Lake. Perhaps you are a beginner fisherman looking to score some tips from an expert so you can start your new hobby out on the right foot.

Maybe you and your family are vacationing on the lake and you, quite frankly, need a little extra help with your little ones’ poles. Hey, even other experts need help from time to time, so maybe you are a career fisherman new to Kentucky Lake and want someone who knows which holes hide “The Big Ones”.

For whatever reason you are looking to hire a fishing guide, here are few tips to make sure you get the best fit and the best results from your day or weekend on Kentucky Lake:

Do Your Homework

As much as possible, fishing guides encourage you to do plenty of research before your fishing trip.

Steve McCadams, a professional guide who has worked on Kentucky Lake for more than 40 years, says that early research is one of the keys to a successful fishing trip.

“Some of the first steps to hiring a professional guide likely need to start before the angler makes the call or email inquiry,” McCadams says.

The two biggest factors that McCadams says you should consider are the size of your group and your desired species of fish. If you and a buddy are traveling to Kentucky Lake trying to catch a trophy bass, then you are looking for a different type of guide than if you are bringing your family for a day of fishing for bluegill.

“The internet has made it very easy to find a guide,” says Captain Rich Bay of Kick ‘N Bass Guide Services. Kick ‘N Bass operates fishing guide services via pontoon, allowing Bay to take up to six anglers on one trip, making him a prime candidate for family-sized outings.

Most qualified fishing guides around the Lakes’ region are listed in the fishing guide listings of this website. So before you book anything be sure you’ve utilized the resources available to you here.

Ask the Right Questions

Even after you’ve found the right fishing guide, there is still some groundwork to do to make sure that you have the information you need to make your fishing trip successful. McCadams suggests asking the following questions during your initial phone call or email with a potential guide.

  1. What does the trip include and what is the duration of the day?
  2. What is the fee and does that include equipment, tackle or bait?
  3. Is a deposit required?
  4. Is there a better time of the year/season to fish?
  5. Is the guide licensed and insured?

“Explain your objectives to the guide, but be willing to adapt and listen to his recommendations as they may differ from what you had in mind,” McCadams shares.

Plan the Right Trip For You

Fishing may be a leisurely activity for most, but even if you are there for relaxation, you want to maximize your time with a guide, especially if you are traveling a long distance.

McCadams uses an old adage to help sell his anglers on multi-day bookings.

“Should weather come into play, then setting up several days keeps the client from putting all the eggs in one basket,” he says.

He also recommends booking well in advance, as well as focusing on weekday fishing trips if possible.

“Don’t wait until the last minute to book a reputable guide as his schedule likely fills weeks or months in advance,” he says. “Although, it never hurts to call or email as sometimes openings pop up.”

Pack Your Bags

Before you start packing your bags for your trip, be sure to talk to your guide and get his recommendations for proper gear.

“I use all of my own equipment and I believe most guides will provide equipment,” Bay says.

Equipment needs aren’t your only consideration for a day spent on Kentucky Lake warns McCadams.

“Clients need to be prepared for inclement weather and always be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best,” he says, saying that anglers should pack ample clothing, rain gear, sunscreen, drinks and snacks.

Have A Great Day

The expertise that an experienced fishing guide can bring to fisherman of any level is often invaluable.

“Anglers increase their odds of finding and catching fish when hiring the services of a professional guide who has years of experience,” says McCadams.

That experience may not be the most invaluable thing you are learning on the lake that day, though.

“A successful day on the lake is much more than catching a limit or a trophy size fish,” says McCadams.

So, now that you know what to look for in a qualified fishing guide, get moving and plan your next Kentucky Lake fishing trip.

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