So, you love to fish. And maybe you’re good at it—great, even. If the thought has crossed your mind that becoming a fishing guide could be your calling, it’s definitely worth looking into. It’s an indisputable fact that the only thing better than doing what you love is getting paid to do what you love. Here’s how you can get started.
First and foremost, you need to do your research to make sure that everything is done by the book. Every state has a specific set of qualifications you need to complete to become a fishing guide. You can contact your local Division of Fish and Wildlife to discover these requirements and guidelines. Most states will require you to have a coast guard license, or Merchant Mariner Credential, which allows you to take clients on a vessel in federal waterways. You’ll also have to become certified in CPR and first aid, so that the state knows you are able to effectively handle emergency situations. Finally, you’ll have to obtain business insurance to protect yourself and anyone who hires you from accidents.
Once you get all the boring stuff out of the way, you can focus on what kind of fishing you want to do. Do you prefer fly fishing or spin fishing? Do you want to operate on flats or bays? Is there a specific type of fish you’re particularly interested in? You’ll need to stock up on high-quality equipment. You have to purchase rods, hooks, nets, bait, and other gear that both avid fishermen and newcomers will be able to handle. Keep in mind that many guides won’t pick up their own rod during an outing—your job as a guide is to help others by answering questions, sharing expertise, and demonstrating technique.
Which leads to the next requirement: You can’t just expect to be a great guide because you know how to fish—you have to know people, too. Any professional guide will tell you that being able to effectively communicate and work with the people who will be commissioning your services is key to being a great guide. Are you good at interacting with people and being patient with beginners? Can you help others succeed and will you relish your part in another person’s catch? Being a people person goes a long way in making a great guide.
You can’t just expect to be a great guide because you know how to fish
You’ll have to hit the ground running and start marketing your business as soon as possible. Create a free Yentna listing which gives you mobile optimized landing pages built to convert viewers into to bookings, you can then link that landing page to a Facebook page, and an Instagram account, email signatures anywhere you want to market your services to online buyers, specifically the younger generations who turn to the internet to find virtually anything. The easiest way to drum up business is to purchase advertising space in publications that specialize in outdoor recreation and tourism. Of course, Yentna will be one of your most effective online tools for connecting you with anglers and sportsman and allowing those users to book with you instantly.
It may take a few seasons to build your credibility and rake in clients, but once you’ve established yourself as a reliable guide, repeat customers can eventually make up the bulk of your clientele. If you don’t think you have enough cash on hand to start your own business, you can always start a part-time venture and see where it goes from there. There’s no time like the present to start doing what you truly love. It takes a good amount of investing to become a successful guide, but the grind pays off when you’ve arrived at a career that’s as rewarding as it is exciting.
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