12 Days of Christmas Gift Ideas – Sweaty Waders Style – Day 12

Give the Gift of a Guided Trip

Stefan 2We’ve saved perhaps our best gift for last. It’s a gift that would be truly appreciated by any fly fishing angler, beginner, intermediate, or expert. It’s the gift of a guided day of fishing on a stream whether local or distant. And most guided trips are for 2 anglers, so invite yourself along for the ride! How’s that for a gift that gives back?

My wife used to think that guided fishing trips were only for the most experienced anglers. That is, until she went on one herself. In truth, they’re great for anglers of all abilities, even those who have never fly fished before. The majority of guides are excellent instructors who love to spread their enthusiasm for the sport to anyone who’s brave enough to give it a try. Never cast a fly rod? No matter. Before you shove off from the boat ramp, the guide will have you casting well enough to have a fighting chance at catching some fish. An intermediate or expert angler? The guide will provide tips and helpful suggestions to improve your casting and fishing prowess.

Sam 4But what if you don’t live near a fly fishing mecca? Why not plan a fishing trip? Or “piggyback” a day of fishing on a family vacation. For example, take a day off from your visit to Yellowstone National Park and let us float the whole family down the Yellowstone River. Kids as young as 8 or 10 can learn to cast well enough to catch fish, and even the younger ones often enjoy the boat ride. Maybe make it a half day and ask your guide to pull into a couple of beaches where the little ones can search for pretty rocks while the adults do a little wade fishing. Fun for everyone!

If you are lucky enough to live near good fly fishing, a guided trip is a great gift for a distant relative or friend. Give them a little extra incentive to come for a visit.

Yes, guide trips are relatively expensive. The cost varies a great deal depending on location, but here in Montana a full day trip for 1 or 2 anglers goes for around $500. A guide day is very taxing on the guide, something I didn’t fully appreciate until I began guiding myself. When you also figure in that most guides have to make all of their money for the year in a period of just a few months, it helps to put that cost in perspective. When you’re pricing out a trip, be sure to ask whether the flies you’ll use and any equipment you’ll need are included in the trip cost; it varies between different fly shops and outfitters.

Not ready to settle on a date to make a reservation? No worries. Simply buy a gift card for the amount of a guided trip and let the recipient make his or her own plans. Do warn them that things can get busy and fill up during the prime fishing season, so a reservation should be made as soon as possible.

Well, that’s it! 12 days of fly fishing gift ideas for anglers of all abilities and gift givers on any budget. Hope we’ve been helpful. We’ve certainly had a lot of fun putting together this gift guide. Happy holidays from all of us here at Sweetwater Fly Shop!

Can You Fish?

You can’t fish like Big Cutty can fish! Just about anyone can head to their local river or lake and reel in a few trout. Even you steelheaders with your “fish of a thousand casts” have nothing on me. I’ve proven it. I’m the title holder. What’s my title? The Sucker Slayer!

Wanna Smootch?

Toxic Slime

Calling All (Livingston) Guides – Dirty Water Bash Tomorrow

5th Annual Dirty River Guide Bash!

When: Tuesday, May 14 at 6 p.m.

Where: Montana’s Rib & Chop House, 305 East Park Street, Livingston

It’s time again for us to honor all of the guides that do so much for our little fishing town. Free beer and crayfish. Great raffle prizes. A fun time is promised. See you all there.

Thanks to Ryan Somes and the Rib and Chop House for the venue, food, and beer.

Next Stop, Hollywood?

For the 3rd year in a row, Simms chose to highlight one of Sweetwater Fly Shop’s own in their annual Ice Out Shoot Out short film competition. This year, the spotlight was on Tony V., one of the finest guides around, if we do say so ourselves. Check it out.

As if that wasn’t enough, Sweetwater outfitter and guide Charlie Conn scored himself a supporting role in one of the other films. Or should I say roles. Love the shorts, Charlie!

Guide Circus

The big city (Bozeman) is chock full of fish guides this weekend, even more than usual. They’re in town starting today for Simms’ annual Ice Out guide event. Chances are, some of the madness will spill over to our side of the hill, as many will use the trip as an excuse to get a little fishing (and bar-hopping) done. Just what we need, an even higher per-capita ratio of (out-of-town) fish guides!

Much of the 3-day event is just for the guides, but the general public can get in on a bit of the fun this year. The finals of the Guide Olympics competition are open to all comers (and free) tomorrow evening. Open to all spectators, that is, not competitors. The Guide Olympics features several events, including distance casting, drift-boat backing, and a cooler pull. Both the casting competition and overall winners receive $1000 in cash, so the competition should be fierce. The event will be held at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on the MSU Campus, with the finals starting at 5 and continuing until 7:30. The event will be co-MCeed by world-famous guide, Hank Patterson. Come watch a bunch of fish guides doing their thing for prizes and glory.

Grab a Copy…

…of the new (Spring 2013) issue of Outside Bozeman magazine and turn to page 29. Sweetwater’s own multi-talented Beau Peavey cooks up a recipe for a juicy Spring streamer pattern, the Sweetwater Sculpin. Tie it yourself, or come in to the shop and grab a couple, hand-tied by Beau himself.

Coming Not-So-Soon to A Newsstand Near You

Chances are, most of you are more familiar with The Drake than with MORE Magazine. I’d never heard of it myself until recently. Turns out, it’s a magazine aimed toward women of the over-40 set. It features beauty and fitness tips, celebrity profiles, “mature” dating advice…. And in an upcoming edition, Sweetwater Fly Shop guide Tony V.

No, you won’t find “Tony V’s Top Ten Mascara Tricks.” (For Tony V’s approach to fashion, see our most recent Caption Contest). Instead, you’ll find an article about the writer’s recent fishing trip to Montana with her 80-year old father. They, and a photographer (and the photographer’s assistant, who seemed to have no role but to sit in the boat and watch the scenery go by) recently spent a couple of days with us, collecting material for the article.

But don’t believe everything you read (or see pictured). The writer (who’s also working on a novel) admitted that there’s likely to be some fiction sprinkled in. We’ll be on the edges of our seats to see what comes out in print.

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