On the Fly: Pretrip Sermons | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Pretrip Sermons

Guide Kevin Sullivan and a guest on the Colorado River.
Kevin Sullivan/courtesy photo

If you have fished with guides, you have surely listened to your share of “guide spiels” before your day on the water together. In my experience, whether you are the guide or the guided, this little chat at the beginning of the trip sets the tone, lays out expectations and helps create an understanding right out of the gate. The spiel usually explains everything you need to know for a successful day, boiled down into easy-to-digest nuggets. Some clients get with the program right away, others still need to be reminded to set the hook well into the afternoon.

If you listened to 10 different guides give their pretrip sermon here in the valley (or anywhere in the world), you’ll hear ten different approaches concerning how to catch fish. There will be some universal truths (setting the hook, reading the water, what insects are hatching now) but also completely different takes on technique, philosophy, methodology and goals for the day.

Many people (and rightly so) find a guide they click with and feel they’re set for years to come. I’d argue that it is important to experience more than one approach on how fly-fishing is “done.” I personally like to borrow this and that from different people, plus a few things I have managed to distill myself, combined into what works for me.

There is a clear difference in guide spiels, once you listen to your fair share. Like any career, once you perform a task a few thousand times, you learn how to break it down simply and deliver clear and concise instructions on how it is done. A seasoned guide also learns to read people. Some clients just want to catch a pile of fish, others are more concerned with tuning up their cast or learning more about entomology. Different strokes, different folks. Whether you are a guide or a “sport,” take time to listen to each other. It makes for a great day on the water, regardless of how many fish you catch.

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This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.


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