Guiding -By Jordan Simpson.
Guiding, in what it is, is taking people fishing. And I love doing that. That said, being a great angler doesn’t make you a great guide. I know lots of great anglers who shouldn’t be guides. On the contrary, I know lots of people who love to fish, who aren’t the greatest of anglers, that make amazing guides. But that’s the key, they ‘make amazing guides’.
Guiding isn’t for everyone, that much is true. I’ve seen it. I’ve also had to experience it being the guest.
Guiding can be 3:30 am mornings and 11 pm bedtimes. It can be 16+ hour days on the water. It can be stuck in a boat with guests we can’t stand. It can be hoping not to die as waves go over your bow, or pushing a skiff through water that just “doesn’t feel fishy”. It can be brutal weather and unbearable heat. It can be a lot of things. But one of those things, the thing that makes it all worth it, is that it can be amazing.
It can be a guest’s first fish. It could be their biggest fish. It could be the last time a guest gets to spend with a loved one, or the first time they spend with a future loved one. It might be the first time they see a bear or get to see an eagle swoop down and pick up a rotting salmon.
Getting to be a part of that, is what makes it all worth it. Being able to get just as excited to just be a part of a fishing experience is what makes the early mornings and late nights worth it. Being able to feel the power of a fish as your guest sets the hooks, without you being the one holding the rod, is what makes you a good guide. Getting just as stoked or jacked, or even more than your guest, is what makes it fun.
“Do you ever get bored watching us fish? Like, seeing us pick up the rods when you can’t, and playing fish, does that get old for you?” Hell. No.
“If I didn’t love watching you guys get into fish, I wouldn’t do it- plus, this is the best office in the world” I say to them as the sun comes up over the horizon. I point East, to Alaska, which looks like it’s on fire as the sun starts to cross the zenith.
Besides the guests, besides the firsts or lasts, is the feeling of having figured it out. It’s the feeling of knowing you put in the hours, the time and effort, to figure it out and own it. The years, the sweat, the miles. Knowing you paid your dues, and finally being able to say “I got this” with confidence, is also what makes it worth it. Being able to share that confidence, knowing you know, and being able to pass that on, is what makes it worthwhile.
When people say “I love fishing and I want to be a guide”, I like to remind them what it can entail. The sacrifices, the hours, the lack of sleep.
So why do we do it then? Why do we as guides subject ourselves to this? Because in the end, it’s worth it.
The lack of sleep means first-pass on the kelp or first drift or swing through untouched water. The late nights mean you worked hard all day and shared stories over beers on a patio. The bad weather means good weather is on its way, and not playing the fish means you get to net the fish.
That’s why we do it. We do it because we get to share in the experience and life of someone else who may have never had the opportunity to do it before. We do it because we get to be next to them as they land their first or biggest.
We do it because we know that even though the fishing is tough today, it will get better eventually. It’s probably one of the few jobs where there is always hope and a light at the end of the tunnel. You always have that chance at something great. No matter how dim or gloomy a moment may be, it can all change with one pull.
Each day is a chance at greatness.
That’s why we do it.
From the first time that Jordan wet a line, he knew it was something that would become an obsession. Fishing shows on TV replaced the usual weekend cartoons, and outdoor magazines grossly out-numbered any comic books.
Pursuing his obsession and growing it into a passion, he’s fortunately been able to turn it into a full-time gig. Working at Vancouver’s store for the fishing enthusiast, Pacific Angler, days off are often spent exploring the local lakes, mountains, and rivers; or heading out on the salt in pursuit of salmon. Jordan’s favorite Hook And Vice cap is the Camo Trucker – Bear.
Follow Jordan on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/saltandsand808/