Sunday, 24 August 2014

Choosing a fishing guide 2!

Photo 01 - My membership of the cane club! see below.
A guide to choosing a fishing guide!

Following on from the success of our initial “choosing a fly fishing guide” site which brought about significant and welcome changes in the local scene we now offer our revised guide. For expediency fishing guides should be taken to include casting instructors also. Personally I think local clubs have slipped up badly in allowing these people to come in and make a living out of club or association water. In our club if there is any tuition or guiding required then we see to it ourselves rendering the services of these people redundant!  Informed choice is the only way to make a decision when hiring a fishing guide, here we give you the information to enable you to make that choice.

We currently have a submission to the Scottish Government asking for mandatory regulation of these people. We felt this necessary due to the shambolic situation we uncovered in the Scottish Borders with unqualified people everywhere calling themselves fishing guides or instructors demeaning the standing of those who did go the extra mile and gain suitable qualifications. These people are responsible for your safety and wellbeing when hired and we found have a go Harry’s with no first aid qualifications, no instructor’s certificates and no vetting by Disclosure Scotland! Quite frankly it was a joke and Marine Scotland should be thoroughly ashamed that they are allowing this to take place!

Unqualified, unaccountable and non regulated fishing guides may be operating in this area! It is imperative if you are seeking the most fulfilling experience with a fishing guide that you book one that is fully qualified and accountable!

With the well being of anglers coming to the Borders in mind we have constructed the following notes to help those anglers who may wish to use the services of a fishing guide. The fishing guide set up in this country is different to that for instance in the USA where mandatory registration, education and regulation is commonplace as indeed it should be! There is no government regulation in this country which has led to the embarrassing situation of unqualified “overnighters” pumped up with their own importance springing up and inflicting themselves on unsuspecting anglers!

These unqualified “overnighters” despised by the general angling population and alienated by their qualified counterparts are just that – waking up one morning magically transformed into a fishing guide and deciding to earn some easy money “guiding” anglers! With no thought towards personal development and acquiring advanced qualifications these people should be avoided like the plague! They are unqualified in fishing skills and life support techniques! They are unregulated! They invariably have not been vetted by Disclosure Scotland! They are unaccountable!  You need to ask yourself why they have not sought to attain readily available qualifications and develop skills to demonstrate commitment, professionalism and ultimately by use of measured advanced skills give to the angler the best experience possible! These people treat anglers with utter contempt by the very fact that they have taken no steps to professionalise themselves, content to invest in nothing and yet take from angler’s often exorbitant sums of money! 

Photo 02 - locking ferrules and clean cork!

A “fishing guide” who cannot demonstrate a degree of commitment by investing in his “profession” can only offer his client a second rate service! A qualified fishing guide has expended much time, money and considerable effort in order to give the angler the very best of service!

What is the difference between a qualified and unqualified fishing guide?

It is imperative that you check qualifications against the issuing body eg APGAI as it is possible some unqualified types may slip through the net. 

You will encounter guides that have spent some considerable time, money and effort to be at the very pinnacle of guiding! With unqualified “overnighters” you have no such facility, your moneys gone, end of story! 

 Professional development is of the utmost importance to ensure the anglers experience is the best it can be! Unqualified “overnighters” invariably offer a second rate service due to the low level of skill and knowledge!

Gaining advanced qualifications serves to demonstrate to clients that significant time, money and effort have been expended with the specific aim of optimising the client’s experience!

Photo 03 - nicely glossed mid section!

How to avoid booking an unqualified “overnighter”!

Simply put, do your homework and get in touch with local clubs who will be happy to advise you. If however you come upon a fishing guide website here are some easy ways to determine their status –

(1)  Try and check the site with locals in the area using agencies such as angling clubs!

(2)  If they advertise being APGAI trained go to the GAIC website and if they are not listed then they are not qualified with this body!

(3)  Ask to see evidence of their qualifications, and if they cannot do so dispense with them! Do also speak with a member of the local fishing club they will know the guides worth hiring!

(4)  If a guide is part time you need to ask why this is the case. The best guides seem to be mostly full time guides!

Be careful of booking a guide on the advice of a B&B or hotel as there are often financial links involved and your experience could be at risk!

Remember your guided day will cost a significant amount of money; we want to ensure it is spent wisely giving you the best possible experience! We only recommend one guiding business who has advanced qualifications in all the areas we call for and that is Damsel fly fishing - 

Our words were penned only after a thorough investigation lasting over six months and a modicum of common sense! Our aim in this exercise is simply to raise the standards expected of fishing guides and to expose those unqualified “overnighters” who treat anglers with derision and utter contempt by not being prepared to invest in education and training thereby denying the angler the best possible experience. These pseudo “fishing guides” also demean the standing of those guides who do put their clients first by investing heavily in advanced training!

 In order to obtain a first rate guaranteed fishing guide service you must book a guide who list qualifications that can be verified!

Photo 04 - Original Agate butt ring, tip ring is also Agate.
The bottom line!

There is a simple choice to be made between booking fully accountable, trained, educated, subject to regulation and experienced fishing guides and greenhorn unqualified “overnighters” whose credentials (if indeed they have any) are to say the least dubious!

If a fishing guide cannot demonstrate a commitment to anglers by investing in further education then he is a charlatan and unworthy of being hired as a guide! It is a continued source of embarrassment to right thinking anglers and I would imagine qualified fishing guides in the Scottish Borders that such unqualified “overnighters” exist in the area! There is an urgent need to increase standards and levels of regulation with regard to the operation of fishing guides, allowing unqualified guides to roam the area does not progress this aim! Dragging down the standing of angling in the Borders these overnighters will not voluntarily tell you that they are unqualified! However the fact remains that such unqualified people do exist, it is therefore only right and proper that you be made aware of this!

In everyday life for peace of mind we invariably lean towards those who can demonstrate education, integrity and professionalism for our well being. You would not hire an unqualified electrician to come and rewire your house, hiring a fishing guide is no different! Booking a fishing guide who operates out with these parameters will invariably lead to a second rate experience WITH NO OPPORTUNITY FOR RECOURSE!
For your own peace of mind please book a qualified, accountable and subject to regulation fishing guide with verifiable qualifications! Do not accept at face value what is written on websites, check advertised qualifications in the manner we have described above! You may find people listing terms such as being an associate member which invariably means they are apprentices who are seeking money before they have obtained the correct qualification!

Gala angling Association were recently pulled up by two of their riparian owners for "allowing "fishing guides to operate commercially on their waters. We warned this situation would arise and we can fully see why the owners took this position. You should check your guide has the required permissions before entering the water!

Please do not e mail us for a recommendation as to the choice of a fishing guide, we have stated clearly the company we recommend. All e mails in this respect will be unanswered!

The cane club!

I first had a split cane rod back in the late sixties learning my craft on the river Gala. Like every other youth I always wanted what I perceived to be better and had a brief excursion with fibreglass before moving on to the all singing and dancing carbon fibre. There was no denying that the new tool was lighter making an all day session that bit easier. What followed was all on the carbon theme with various mixes such as boron, lamiglass and others whose name eludes me.

I read an article on the Rawson & Perrin website about cane and immediately became enthused about the type of rod that I (shamefully) quickly ditched in favour of space age carbon. And so it was a couple of years back I bought my nine and a half foot 1955 Carter of London fly rod and was immediately captivated by the lazy full through action rod that was a delight to cast and even better when playing fish. Most fly rods today are tip action or middle to tip action. Oh you can’t put the pressure on a fish that you can with a carbon poker, gentleness and thought is called for!

There is a sense of total involvement as the rod responds to minute changes made by the played fish and the rod is actually much stronger than it feels but if a heavy fish is encountered then the fish would have the best of it! With this in mind I bought a 1948 10ft split cane fly rod originally owned by a Dr Tom Bliss a GP in Edinburgh a couple of months ago.

I found out from the vendor that Dr Bliss had bought the rod new just after the war to re engage with a pre war hobby. The rod was thought to be a Hardy but this is not verifiable as Dr Bliss had the rod restored later with brazed and cleaned rings and new whippings and cork handle thought to have taken place in the late fifties. The maker’s marks were lost at this time; apparently Dr Bliss was a modest unassuming man and would be quite happy with an anonymous rod unlike so many of the brags seen today! Dr Bliss apparently often loch fished around the Edinburgh area so it may be that the rod has previously fished St Mary’s loch!

Sadly Dr Bliss died soon after and his widow gave the rod to his long time angling friend the father of the vendor from whom I purchased the rod. The rod was hardly used from then on and lived in an attic in Kent until a few months ago when I purchased it. The Carter rod is good as a light Trout rod but this is on an entirely different level with regard to versatility. As happy playing 3-4lb fish as it is a 6oz tiddler from the Gala. I would be confident of landing a sizeable Salmon on this rod such is its capability. The rod has an all enveloping through action bending from the tip to the butt in a most pleasing curve

Who cares if it is a Hardy, it is a great rod crafted by people made with devotion and know how! All I have done to it is cleaning the handle and brass work and re varnishing the blanks. This of course joins my 15ft Alex Martin Salmon Greenheart rod which to my eternal shame has yet to be christened! Imagine my surprise when Les Henderson announced that he had purchased locally a mid sixties 9ft Forshaws of Liverpool fly rod the model being the “Palace 10”. I have seen it but it has not yet had an outing, watch this space for a review on what looks to be a very capable and satisfying fly rod.

Another angler re visiting the past, rediscovering the peerless pleasures of cane. I wonder who will next rediscover split cane rods, Stevie Nimmo Elliot Fraser or Pete Young! Check out e bay for a thriving market dealing in split cane, still masses of bargains to be had! Go buy one and join the cane club!
Once again we have to extend our thanks to bailiff Aaron for the important work carried out yesterday. We cannot reveal the nature of that work suffice to say the club benefitted from their endeavours!
Thanks lads!

Gala angling association article here

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