If you’re thinking about employing Alaska fishing guides as part of your upcoming Alaskan fishing expedition, you’re already on the right track to fisherman’s success. A guide will significantly improve your chances of bagging a massive King Salmon or trophy Halibut – they know the waters, the fish and how to pass that knowledge on to you.
However, fishing guides come in all packages, and there are both bad guides and good ones. So, how do you choose? How do you differentiate between a quality guide and an overpriced charlatan? How do you tell if you’re hiring an Alaskan fishing expert or a con artist with a boat? For answers to these questions and a brief overview to hiring an Alaskan fishing guide, keep reading.
References Should Be Evaluated
Before you lay down a few grand for a private, multi-day fishing charter in Alaska, always check their references from previous clients. Ask for a phone number or email so that you can speak with the former client directly. If a company refuses to give you any references, don’t be inhibited about walking away.
In addition to verifying references from former clients, you can also try a quick phone call to the local tourism office. Remember, Alaska may be big, but it has small communities. Ideally, you want to hire Alaska fishing guides that are not only known by their tourism office, but also recommended.
Investigate Qualifications of the Crew
Before you arrive or upon arrival, you can ask to see the crew’s licenses and certifications. These can be faxed ahead of time or presented to you before departure. You also want to look for a crew that has a lot of experience in Alaskan waters and a strong understanding of the area.
Look for Local Experience
Ideally, your Alaska fishing guide or tour operator should either be an Alaskan native or have extensive working experience and history in the area. You want a guide that knows the waters, knows how to navigate them, can find the fish and lead you to the catch. Otherwise, you could simply rent a boat and go out alone.
One way to quantify a guide’s ability is to simply request their success rate and track record? How many fishers go home with a catch? What’s the average size or weight? And their biggest fish caught? Also, you should inquire about their safety record.
Check What’s Included and What’s Extra
Some Alaska fishing guides include services like filleting, freezing, fish processing, equipment rentals, bait and licenses. Others charge extra for them. So, if a deal sounds too good to be true, make sure you ask exactly what’s included and what isn’t in your fishing expedition.
Most people only find the opportunity for an Alaska fishing trip adventure once in a lifetime. That being the case, you want to ensure that any guide you select is knowledgeable, professional, service-oriented, and has a wealth of experience on the Alaskan waters.