That’s a picture of Kray and me about 5 years ago, fishing the N. Platte River in Wyoming. Kray is by far the best guide I have fished with and it’s not even close.
What makes him so good?
It is not about the fishing, he knows that inside out, having guided since he was 14. Let me tell you a story from this past spring and I think you will get the picture.
For the last two years, a friend of mine has come to Wyoming to fish for a few days. This year he brought Austin and two other friends.
We usually book one day with fishing guides, because it pretty much guarantees a great day of fishing. (Not all the time, but odds are good.) It can be an epic day if you get the right guide.
Up until this trip in May, Austin had never casted a fly rod, but had fished many times before using spin casting gear.
I don’t usually make fishing bets, but I bet my friend that Austin would out fish him over the course of the day. He laughed, figuring he had the upper hand due to his experience with a fly rod and given he had fished here a year ago.
Why was I so confident in Austin?
See, Kray, our guide for the day, is an exceptional fishing guide and not just because he knows a lot about fishing. There are plenty of guides who know fishing inside and out, but that does not necessarily mean their clients will do well on the water.
I was fairly sure Austin would do well. If he listened to Kray, Austin would have a day of fishing to remember.
I know when I fish with Kray, I am going to get these great qualities – qualities important for any guide in any type of endeavor.
Kray radiates energy and enthusiasm for what he does. It is genuine enthusiasm for his clients and the business of guided fishing trips. I can tell you as a client, Kray’s enthusiasm is magnetic and keeps you engaged. Kray is all about ensuring you are going to have a great day period, even if the fishing is off.
Have you ever tried something new? Usually your confidence is low. Real low. We had Austin practicing his casting the night before, but 10 minutes with Kray the next morning and you could tell he was getting comfortable with a fly rod. Kray always gives positive feedback and instruction. Nice cast, perfect Austin, nice drift Austin. Mend that line Austin. You got this Austin. By the time we were two hours into the day and had caught a few fish, Austin was beaming.
The N. Platte is a big river and with the snowpack this year it was really running. You expect this with a fishing guide, but I am fairly certain every run Kray targeted we caught fish. He knew where to go and moved us there with ease. See, there are many miles to fish, but discerning the key stretches to fish is where Kray is a master. Many times we fished a run other guides had skipped. Kray had a plan and knew which direction to head.
Obvious one right. Yes, but critical. It wasn’t so much the communication and instruction, it was the positive tone and consistency that made the difference for Austin. Gentle reminders on key casting points and key techniques for landing a fish were delivered throughout the day. Even into our 8th hour of fishing Kray was reminding Austin of the same pointers we started with at 8 am.
I tell people if you can’t get along with Kray, then you can’t get along with anyone. Kray is engaging, friendly, easygoing and just plain fun. He is firm when he has to be and even after 9 hours of taking a rookie fishing, he was friendly, enthusiastic and pretty excited for Austin.
So, how did Austin do compared to my friend? Austin did real well, caught a few more fish. Not significant, but for someone who never fly fished, job well done.
Kray made all the difference.
Great Guides usually do!
One more thing – Great guides need great clients. Austin was a great client. He was engaged, listened well and eager to learn.
So next time you go looking for a guide, consultant, mentor or someone to guide you, remember those qualities.
It makes all the difference in the world.
PS – If you want info on Kray for your next trip, just shoot me a note.