By Josh Boyd
Every year, a countless number of anglers from around the world book fishing trips with the guide of their choice. There are numerous reasons behind these trips, with the most basic being a desire to get out on the water in search of excellent fishing action.
However, according to professional bass angler James Niggemeyer, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind when seeking to make the most of such an outing.
Niggemeyer is not only a professional bass angler, but a guide on famed Lake Fork in Texas. During his time as a guide, Niggemeyer has hosted countless anglers, and has made a concerted effort to not only put his clients on fish, but to teach whenever possible.
Keep an Open Mind
The first piece of advice that Niggemeyer has for anglers who have booked, or are considering booking a guided fishing trip, centers around the avoidance of boxing yourself into a singular way of thinking.
“Try not to have any preconceived notions of what you think is going to happen, or how things are going to go. Even if a guide calls you and says we are going to do this and that, or we are going to be fishing over here, be willing to adapt if things need to change. That watery world is always changing, and he is trying to do his best to put you on fish so that you have a good day,” said Niggemeyer.
Don’t Throw in the Towel
Anyone who has spent much time on the water is well aware that things do not always go as planned, and success over the course of a day is often an up and down affair. Guides are no exception to this general rule, and according to Niggemeyer, this is something that all clients should keep in mind.
“It is always important to stay optimistic. Maybe it is a slow morning, and maybe they will be biting in the afternoon. Stay involved, and stay mentally in it. Throughout the day, things will come together. Just don’t get beat up if things don’t happen in the first twenty minutes of the day,” Niggemeyer continued.
Learn at Every Opportunity
Many tactics that are used to much success on one body of water, are at least somewhat universal to lakes located across the nation. Therefore, one of the most significant ways to get the most out of your guided fishing trip is to learn from your guide wherever possible.
“Follow your guide’s lead. Try to understand why they are making certain decisions, and why they are using a particular lure, as well as what is going into their thought process. Try to get into their minds. Learn what you can about seasonal patterns, and lures as tools, as well as how they are applied to different waters to get more bites,” Niggemeyer said.
Now Is the Time to Ask Questions
Niggemeyer also feels strongly that there is no such thing as a stupid question when fishing with a guide. Guides are there to teach, as much as they are to put you on hot fishing action. Do not leave for home with your questions unanswered, because of a reluctance to speak up when you are left with a quandary.
“The reality is that they (clients) are paying for your time. If they get in the boat with you and do not feel like now is the time to ask questions, it’s never going to be the time. That is the time to get the full experience. As much as you can, you try to help them work through the process of asking questions and getting a better understanding of what’s going on,” said Niggemeyer.
Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck
Taking a guided fishing trip can be as much a learning experience, as it is a viable means of finding the hot bite. Those that remain studious throughout their trip are likely to walk away with a few new tricks up their sleeve, many of which can be used to put fish in the boat for years to come. Much like any other day on the water, a guided fishing trip can truly be anything you make it.