As soon as I started to research fishing in Kamchatka I realized that I would need to go on a fully guided trip, this would be something new for me, generally I get a guide for a couple of days then strike out on my own. From my research I found that broadly there were two types of vendors available on the internet, the first were the outfitters/guiding companies, whose staff either do the guiding or work directly with the Russian outfitters, the second are purely resellers who do the coordination and negotiation with the actual guiding service.
Web based research is very useful but is always a pain, it tells you who has a good website not who has a good guiding service!! To help me sort out who I should choose as my outfitter I set down some criteria,
- I wanted an outfitter who was directly involved with the organization of the trips. This criteria meant that any outfitter I dealt with would have first hand experience in the trips offered, and I wouldn’t be paying markup on markup. This Criteria excluded several organizations that seemed very professional (most notably yellow dog and fly fishing heaven), their prices were generally higher than those directly involved. However, where fishing is well established and there is competition between the outfitters, say for trips to Patagonia and bone fishing in the Caribbean I think that they may come into their own.
- A good website with a comprehensive offering, this goes to organizational and communication abilities. I did not want to use an outfitter who knew all about fishing but forgot to tell me to bring a sleeping bag!!!!
- Been doing it for a while, this goes to how well they do their job, and stability. If they have not being doing a good job they would no longer be in business and there would be a lot of bad reviews on the web and I do not want to spend a lot of money to find out that they have gone broke and I have lost my money.
- Finally, specialized in fishing. I want a guide who lives and breathes fishing not someone who takes a group hiking up a volcano one week, bird watching the next (not that there is anything wrong with bird watching) and fishing the week after.
Next: Which fishing adventure in Kamchatka?