wikiHow to Become a Fishing Guide

Are you an avid fisherman who has extensive knowledge of the great fishing spots in your area or have dozens of fishing tips? Would you like to share that knowledge with others? Fishing guides spend a lot of time outdoors, accompany groups to fishing spots, and share those fishing tips. Though states have specific criteria for guides, there are a few simple steps you can follow to become a fishing guide.


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    Research specific guidelines. Each state has different qualifications for becoming a fishing guide. Pay close attention to the requirements for your state.
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    Get a business license. A career as a fishing guide is more of a lifestyle job, but it is still a business. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce and your state's Department of Revenue site for specifics.
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    Obtain a Coast Guard License or Merchant Mariner License. One of these licenses is required if you plan to take passengers on a motorized boat. It's also a requirement for transporting paying customers on "federally navigable waterways."
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    Become certified in CPR and First Aid. Many states require this for a fishing guide business. A guide must be able to demonstrate that they are able to handle at least general water and health emergencies.
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    Obtain business insurance. Carry a minimum of $1 million dollars. Insurance is a safeguard against those unforeseen accidents or incidents that might occur on a boat or in the outdoors.
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    Plan training classes. Organize how you will convert your knowledge into a training experience for your customers.
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    Advertise in local and online publications. You might consider creating a website for your business or an online blog for sharing tips as well as marketing your services.
    • Other avid fisherman would love to learn proper techniques of fly fishing, best spots to look for certain fish or recommended lures, etc. Present these tips for both new and experienced fishermen.
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    Contact local businesses. Ask to advertise at their location and to tell others about your service. Consider working for a fishing charter company to gain experience.
    • Stick to hotels, resorts, or even dude ranches. Bait stores or retail outlets associated with fishing can also help refer clients.
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    Hold free or low-cost clinics for children and youth. Teach them basic fishing skills and safety issues.


  • Teach young anglers about conservation and how to protect the environment.
  • Maintain accurate records. You can use a simple spreadsheet or accounting software, many of which offer free versions. As a sole proprietor, you will be responsible for your own taxes. Keep all receipts from the operation of your business.
  • Consider starting your career as a fishing guide as a part-time venture while you maintain your regular job. It takes time to find customers and build a business.
  • As a fishing guide, you are hired to show customers a good time on the water. Don't focus too much on catching trophy fish, instead target fish that are easy to catch and will satisfy your customers. Most customers are from out of town and just looking for time to kill with their family while on vacation. Show your customers a good time while entertaining them on the water. Think of how well tour guides do.


  • Be careful not to take out just anyone on your boat. Go with your gut feeling if you feel the customers are more trouble then they are worth. If you have a situation on the water, go back to the dock first and handle it there. Once on dry land you can offer customers a refund or another resolution.

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Categories: Fishing