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As I sit here packing for my trip to the florida keys next week I quickly realize I may not have everything I need.  I have heard the stories of tarpon guides tearing strips off rookie fisherman who just cant hit the casts in a timely fashion.  If my guide is female she would surely be a dominatrix.

I decide I need to reach into my sadsim and masochism Mr Dressup ‘tickle trunk’ and be completely prepared for total guide domination.

In all seriousness, it is an interesting dichotomy of how some guided anglers actually enjoy the stark remarks of an over the top agro guide.  Some of the very best in the industry like Scott O’Donnel used to come up with some of the funniest lines I have ever heard a guide utter to a guest and it would be taken with humour (usually).  

Others like Scott Howell have turned many a weak at the knees and wet behind the ears angler into a superstar with stern coaching.  Another one of the greats I have had the pleasure to work with is Chris Coyne who could put the fear of god into an angler with his sheer size.  The look he would shoot guests when they reefed too hard on a fish causing them to lose a trophy leopard rainbow on the back end of a fight was enough to break even the strongest of wills. 

Coyne was on his guests diligently from the first cast of the day to the last, and meticulously watched every single cast his anglers made.  If it was a poor presentation he made no bones about it, they heard it loud and clear.  With all of these great guides, at the end of the day there guests are better anglers, because the guides care so much.  If they didn't they would be sitting in the boat watching anglers flail. 

I wonder now if the world of guiding has swung too far away from this.  Compare guiding to sports and you quickly see some of the all time greats come in with a serious edge.  These are coaches that are elite at what they do, and players know they should do everything they can to stay on there good sides. The old ball coach Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Lane Griffin, and of course Bobby Knight dominated there given sports with a ruling hand of dominance, fear, and aggression with incomparable success. 

Is the world of guiding getting too soft now? Many new Guides carry the fake smiles and routine comments of a bell hop now a days.  Our sport is rugged, and our lives usually a mess from all the time we spend on the water - guides need some kind of edge.  Of course the industry is based in service and tourism, but a guide who gets after his guest all days does so because he cares.  What would the Karate Kid be without Mr. Miyagi?   Not sure what my guide in the Keys will be like, alls I know is I hope he cares as much these guys all do.

"First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule Daniel-San, not mine."         - Mr. Miyagi

 

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