Choosing A Guide

What types of things do I need to consider when choosing a guide for a Crappie fishing trip?

     Ok. You have a vacation coming up. You have saved your money. Now you want to take that dream-fishing trip with a professional guide at an excellent crappie lake. You have looked at the ads in the fishing magazines and found one you like.

      Whoa there, partner! Not so fast. It would be great if it were that easy, but as often times happens in the real world, it does not work that way. Anybody with money can run an ad. If you want this to be a real dream trip, maybe a little more time should be spent considering which guide to hire. A good guide can make a mediocre trip still seem enjoyable. A bad one can make the best trip seem like a nightmare.

      Let us say we are going crappie fishing at Lake Weiss, in Alabama. Are we going to night-fish, day fish or a combination? Not all guides offer all of these services. Next, see if you can check references on any of these guides.  Ask around and try to contact people who have used them before. Ask many questions. Are they licensed? Bonded? What kind of boat do they use? Is anyone onboard qualified in First Aid? Do they carry First Aid kits in the boat?

     Now we come to pricing. Find out what their fee covers. Do they furnish rods, reels, lures, or can you bring your own?  Is boat gas included in the price? How about transportation to and from the lake?  Rain gear? 

Most guides DO NOT include these items in the price: food, live bait, lodging, and fishing licenses. Check on license fees BEFORE YOU GO! Some states have hefty Out-Of-State fees. In addition, many times, a license can be purchased ahead of time on the internet.

    Items you will want to bring would be hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a jacket. It can be chilly on a lake in the morning and evening, even in the middle of summer. Bring appropriate clothing for the season.

     Some guides advertise that they include all services, plus a room, for a very affordable price. What you usually find is that there is a minimum tip required, and the room is a dump. Beware of full package deals at supposedly bargain prices. Again, ask many questions.

     If you follow these guidelines, you have a good chance of a very memorable fishing excursion.


Happy Fishing.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow crappie fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on crappie fishing since 2004.

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