As some of you know, I am a fishing guide on Lake Norman, NC and I hire guides for myself and others away from my home lake. Why, you might ask would a fishing guide hire another guide when he goes fishing away from home. In the following paragraphs I will discuss why I do it and why you should consider doing it. The first thing to consider is education and some of you will say I already know how to fish. Sure you do, but each and every lake is different as to bait of choice, preparation of bait, catching bait (throw net or gill net) for that location, etc. By watching or listening to the guide he can inform you of the information you need to be successful on your return visit to the lake that you are visting. Also, ask the guide about his equipment, fishing line strength, shock leader material, hook sizes and weighs. Take notes of the locations that the guide fishes, either by writing down landmarks or ask him if you can use a portable GPS to mark the sites. Ask him why this was a good location. Pay attention to how long the guide stays at a location. Even if you live in close proximity to a lake or river, it will take you many trips to learn the lake or river that you want to fish and be productive on. Think of all the gas for your truck and boat you will spend doing this research, plus bait and tackle expense. You can easily spent $75 to $100 per outing and in three of four trips learning that body of water and you will have spent $300 to $400, or you could have spent $250+- for a guide and be ahead dollar wise and experience wise. A lot of tournament fishermen will hire guides to take them out prior to a tournament away from their home lake. Why, to learn fish locations and other important information they can gather from local guides. Prior to the Cabela's King Kat Classic at Santee Cooper in 2005, myself and three other qualifiers hired us a guide prior to our tournament there. All four of us were guides and we all finished in the money, due to the knowledge we gained from the guide. I hired a guide in SC for a client and I taged along. Later, I went back with a buddy to fun fish and I applied the same techniques that the guide showed us and we caught some hogs and had fun. Could I have had the same results without the benefit of a guide, most likely not unless I spent several days fishing that location. This past year, a fellow from out of town hired me to show him some striper location, baits of choice and techniques. He ended up in the money for gross weigh and won the big fish pot. This was the first time in three years he won or placed in their team tournament. Last, but not least, you should consider a BOC sponsored guide for your trips first. Why do that you might wonder, the answer is very simple. Each guide has a section on the BOC and their guest make written comments about their experience with the BOC guides, good or bad, right here on the BOC. This eliminates the guess work in selecting a guide for the lake that you want to fish, now or later. There are other guides that are good that are not on the BOC, but how would you know who they are other than John Doe said so.