Hire an expert to take your nymph game to the next level

Hire an expert to take your nymph game to the next level

In this article, we want to cover our suggestions with regard to hiring a guide and what to look for if you choose to do so.

Okay, so you've read blogs, books, and watched videos, but you want to take your skillset to the next level. Hiring an expert guide would get you there faster. For us, the answer is pretty clear, especially the ‘newer’ you are to the nymph game, but even if you're trying to hone your skills even more… Absolutely hire a guide. We’re hard-pressed to imagine anyone hiring a guide to learn/improve nymph techniques and coming away from the day regretting the investment.

Let’s start with watching a guide work. Having a guide at your side, you’ll be able to approach a stretch of river and understand what goes through the guide’s mind. Seeing how he or she reads the water and possible holds, is priceless. Watching a guide cast and even more important, set their drift, is much more telling than what we can gain from watching a video. In a stretch of river, your guide may talk to you about multiple cast types, drift angles, and drift speeds, to best cover the water. Only so much of that can be gained in the best of videos. Watching how and when to adjust your drift (all within the same stretch of river) can make the difference between a 2 fish vs 10 fish type of day. 

And while that all seemed like a lot of ‘watching someone else fish’, don’t sleep on how much you can learn from that. One of the neatest things about the competition scene, is getting paired with excellent anglers. In a competition, you’ll obviously spend time fishing, but you’ll also get to spend time controlling (or watching) someone else. Getting to spend a few hours with amazing anglers and watch their approach/accuracy/thought process as they work, is an incredible experience!

Having someone watch you work, can also be a very telling adventure. Maybe surprising to some, many many top level anglers will hire guides for a session once every few years. No one does it all well, all of the time. So hiring a guide and having another set of eyes and another voice with regard to approach and technique, is above no one! 

And not to be forgotten, having a guide watch you fight and land fish and lend some helpful thoughts and tips and tricks, is never a bad thing. Nothing is worse than dropping a perfect cast into a small pocket, setting that perfect top-lip hook set, and then watching someone raise their rod straight overhead (I’m looking at you, Instagram heroes) only to have the fish break off. Guides can lend a hand in every aspect of your day on the water!

Hiring a guide, especially one who will not only put you on fish, but have you driving home with new tips, techniques, criticism, and habits is always a good investment. An expert guide will make you step way out of your comfort-zone and not just tying a mop with a bobber so you catch a few fish. And because of what I mentioned above (with regard to one of the more less-noted benefits of competition fishing), I’ll always recommend, if available, a guide who spent some time on the competition scene. This is mostly important with regard to (but not limited to) improving your nymph game. This is in no way because only competition familiar fishermen/women are better than those who do not compete. Competition anglers are often tasked with stepping out of their own comfort-zones, which sometimes helps interpret and communicate different styles and situations. But I’ll use myself for an example; I am far and away a better fisherman because of the competition scene. And not because it drives me to be better (which it does). But because it allows me to be in circles and around others I otherwise may not have been. I’ve been privy to text messages, meetings, phone calls, on water sessions, and one on one conversations that have lead to a knowledge base I otherwise wouldn’t have enjoyed. 


Time to take your game to the next level. Hire an expert guide!


I’ll list a few PA based guides and groups who I’d recommend to any family member of mine so if you’re feeling up to it, give em a call! Tell them Ray sent ya. 

Enjoy, friends and as always, tight lines. 

- Ray Cianni

Important note: I’m not a guide! LOL (and all of the guys and gals below don’t even know I’m mentioning them, so, no kick-backs either!)

American Standard Guides

Josh Miller & Joe Clark with Trout Yeah

David Bower with TCO Fly Shop

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