Larry's Fishing Hole

"Guide or no Guide ?"

  Some anglers would never hire a guide, even though there is a lot to say for learning a lake on your own. We have recruited the help of guides when fishing a new lake for the first time with little time on our hands. It is very hard to catch fish on unfamiliar water when you have so little time while on vacation or with just a short time to learn a lake.
  Many people think they cannot afford a guided fishing trip nor do they realize the important and useful lessons that can be learned from a Professional Guide, someone willing to share info on locations and techniques is a time saving investment.
  There are some things you need to know or do so it can be a memorable fishing trip for you. First of all, do a little research to assure they are not a seasonal guide as full-time guides are going to be more capable. Ask for references from the area and avoid those who make unrealistic claims. Determine all the cost involved before you commit to a trip. Asking questions before hiring a fishing guide will ensure an enjoyable and productive day on the water. Find out what is provided, what equipment do they use, type or size of boat to help you judge the level of comfort. If going to large bodies of water, such as Lake Michigan, see if they have a Coast Guard Captain's License.
  When you have decided on a guide, now is the time to agree on the length of fishing day, will there be lunch and what tackle or gear do you need to bring. Now is a good time to make any special requests, such as certain techniques you would like to learn, what fish you wish to target and be honest about your skill level or how you fish so the guide can help.
  Prepare wisely, tailor the trip to your own style and stamina. For bad weather, bring proper clothes, food or drink if needed and always take a camera. Be punctual and ask to wear a personal flotation device. You will need a license for the state you are fishing in and usually the guide will provide gear and bait, (although we prefer our own rod and reel), the boat, the gas and they will take fish off the hook if needed and clean the fish at the end of the day. Yes, you will be allowed to keep fish you catch, but only keep what you will eat.
  As for cost, prices will vary widely and for Charters you can usually bring friends. Most guides work hard for their fee, they are teachers and don't mind showing how it's done. They enjoy seeing someone catch fish, so it is customary to tip at the end of a successful and enjoyable trip. Remember, even an excellent guide can have a tough day.
  Many fishermen find it a better investment to periodically hire a guide instead of making the major expense of a fishing rig that may only be used seldom. So take a guided trip to learn and have fun, ask questions, relax and let the guide do the work.
  So why spend much of your valuable time when hiring a guide is a great way to learn some good techniques, learn a new lake and about fishing. Hopefully you paid attention and can put to use the things you learned from the guide and start catching more fish.
  As you know, we have been traveling to Arkansas for years because of great fishing opportunities. We had heard about the trophy striper fishing on Norfork Lake and always wanted to catch these pole bending, hard fighting fish. After some researching we decided on a fall striper trip 3 years ago with Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters and truly enjoyed it. Fighting these big fish was awesome, as was the experience being out with Tom who fishes year around for stripers, hybrids, and walleye and has been fishing and guiding on Norfork for over 25 years. He told us that his striper fishing techniques will vary based on the seasons, therefore we contacted Tom again for a possible trophy spring striper (during the spawning run) fishing trip and maybe even a day of Walleye fishing.
  We are there now as we write this article enjoying fishing with Tom even more, learning a lot about striper fishing and taking in his great knowledge of the lake and the entire area, therefore, we highly recommend you let STR Outfitters provide you with professional guide services for fishing if you visit Norfork Lake. You can contact Tom by calling (877) 246-4896, or on web at And if you are looking for guides this year in Illinois, we know several good guides we could recommend, just email me at address near bottom of our home and I will forward contact info.
  Guide or no guide, do not let your tackle gather dust for this year should be Good Fishing as the lakes all have good water levels starting out. Visit us at for current fishing reports, fishing events in area and make sure to read our Product Reviews and watch for photos and more on this Norfork Lake trip.

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