Hey Everyone- Debuting a new content series for the website to coincide with my Fly Tyer of the Month Series. Guide Life: 10 Questions will focus on the fishing part of the industry, and some of the guides and their philosophy in the sport. On to the show….
Ben Rogers is a fly fishing guide with a base of operations out of Pennsylvania. He previously served in the US Army and has had several industry jobs before founding his own company, Chasing Tails Fly Fishing which guides all of Pennsylvania and the Mid Atlantic.
How did you get your start as a professional in the industry?
I got my start thanks to a man named Sam Rock who had a small Flyshop in Maryland. He took me under his wing and showed me that the lifestyle could pay my bills.
At what point did guiding go from dream to reality? And when you finally made the leap, was it different than you expected?
When I first started out, I started working as a “ shop dog” for a flyshop,( shop dog is a term that describes guys that work in the shop all the time and never guide) until I proved I had what it took to start guiding. It was more of a hobby that didn’t quite pay for itself. I never really thought I could make a living at guiding until I managed and guided for an outfitter in Virginia. I realized I needed to make the leap into full time guiding and start up a guide service for my local waters. I had the skills needed, It was now time to make that leap of faith.
As a guide what is your philosophy? What are you trying to achieve for yourself, and for your clients when out on the water?
Honestly, I feel my success on a trip with clients is when they forget that they paid me. You might not have perfect chemistry with everybody, but to have the skills necessary to interact and entertain. My goal is to give you an experience and perhaps walk away with something that you didn’t have before. Knowledge on different aspects of fly fishing and a little history on the area.
When I think PA fly fishing- I immediately think brown trout. How did you get into fishing for smallmouth on the fly, and how does the preparation vary from one species to the other? Where should the angler look for a better chance at hooking up with a small jaw?
The owner of the fist fly shop I worked at was very into it. At the time it still wasn’t popular. The preparation is actually not too much different. Sure, the flies are different during certain times of year, a predator is predator.
Structure i.e. Ledges, submergered logs and tree limbs, bolder croppings, seamlines that give rest from current.
What’s your favorite piece of gear at the moment?
I have to say My 3TAND pliers. I don’t know how I got along without them.
If you could fish anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Bolivia for Golden Dorado. To throw Streamers in nearly clear water and hook up with something so fierce, is there anything better?
What would you say to other fly fishermen out there that are thinking/dreaming of becoming a guide one day? What are some concrete steps to get started?
Well, first, I’d say get to know your water. The in’s and out’s of every stretch. A guide’s main goal is to translate his knowledge and understanding of a watershed to someone else. Learn your knots and equipment. These things seem simple, I can’t tell you how many guide’s I have met that don’t know basic knots. Develop your social skills. Being able to communicate and get along with multiple types of personalities, will set you on a positive path to a great guiding career.
A client just booked a trip in 3 months time, how can they best prepare for a better time on the water?
Practice your casting! It amazes me how many people dust off their rod literally the night before and just expect to hit 60 foot targets accurately.
What rivers are you currently guiding at via Chasing Tails Fly Fishing? Do you have other guides for hire other than yourself?
We guide on the Susquehanna, Juniata, Upper Delaware, Lehigh, and their many tributaries. I currently have four guides on the roster. Most are local talents including a member of the USA Youth Fly Fishing Team.
Lastly, anything you would like to say to prospective clients about your fishing style or operation?
Chasing Tails Fly Fishing is not in the “ 9 to 5 “ business of guiding. We aim to bring you much more than that. We offer an adventure. A trip that is memorable and supersedes you expectations. We want to build a relationship with our clients. I like to say to my guides, we want the clients to forget they even paid for the trip. They are investing in an experience.
To book a trip with Ben or one of his guides at Chasing Tails Fly Fishing, click HERE !!!!!
Ben Rogers belongs to the following companies as a Pro Staff member or ambassador. Click the links to find out more!
Competitive Angler: HERE
Rep Your Water: HERE
Holly Flies: HERE
Soul River: HERE
Rise Fishing: HERE
Cortland Line Company: HERE