Most Yorkshire rivers are very varied in size and length. The topography of the land in the county leads to very varied fishing and access.
Unlike the famous Scottish rivers where beats have Ghillies or Boatmen, Yorkshire has Guides.
What does a ghillie do?
Many salmon beats employ a ghillie of some sort. He may be part- or full-time and on larger beats there may be more than one (with one designated as the head ghillie). The ghillie's job is to show you the water when you arrive, advise you on likely spots where fish may lie and the best tackle to use. They will then visit you from time to time during the day to see how you are getting on.
A ghillie with his angler and the anglers salmon.
On some beats, the ghillie may stay with you for some or all of the day and if boats are available he may row you if it will increase your chances of catching a fish. Ghillies are also responsible for making sure that you fish within the law and in compliance with relevant conservation agreements. Most can also assist with some casting tuition, but if this is required, please make sure you have spoken to the ghillie in advance.
A Guide showing an angler how to fish a pool correctly.
Because a guide's next assignment is largely dependent upon how successful the last one turned out, their business and reputation are solely based on customer success. He is the trouble-shooter who arrives and turns a possible blank day into one filled with fishing memories.
Satisfied customers not only happily repeat their bookings but also tell their fishing pals about the great experience they had and the quality of the service that was provided.
A good fishing guide knows their business inside out. They are experts in their field and have an enviable track record in catching the sort of fish others only dream about.
They will demonstrate the correct techniques, supply correct fly patterns and readily provide advice on tactics ensuring you are in the right spot at the right time and will generally give 110% effort to get you the fish of your dreams.
A typical guide won't be clock watching looking forward to the end of the day and will most likely be offering to go without food and sleep to provide you with a trip to remember. They will earn every penny of the fee - but importantly - for all the right reasons.
It should be noted that guiding is a fact of fishing life all over the rest of the fishing world, especially in the Americas, where no self-respecting angler would travel for fishing without ensuring that a guide was waiting at the end destination.
Yorkshire Guides can be found here