Before the internet made researching far-off fly-fishing destinations accessible from your living room, many of fly fishing’s intrepid travelers utilized hosted trips. Today, with our in-depth knowledge of angling destinations across the globe, anglers wishing to discover new destinations can rely on our team of experts and choose to travel without a host.
But, a question was posed to us the other day from one of our long-time anglers who’s been all over the world pursuing fish with us—just what exactly are the Pros and Cons of hosted travel in this age of easily accessible information?
We polled our team of lifelong anglers and travel experts and have for you exactly that: Pros and Cons of booking a hosted trip. Here they are in random order.
Create lifelong angling friends. Traveling with a Yellow Dog team member on hosted trips means you can get to know other anglers that consistently travel together.
Single anglers can join a hosted trip and match up with other anglers to avoid single angler supplement rates. Some solo anglers are unable to find friends to take the type of trip(s) they want to do. By joining a hosted trip, single anglers can alleviate the stress of trying to find angling or non-angling companions with similar schedules, similar tastes for a matching level of adventure or amenities, or a willingness to invest in a quality fly fishing vacation.
Hosts can interface between guides, lodge managers, and staff to ensure that all needs of guests are met. And, in the rare occurrence, a trip is not meeting expectations, a host can possibly intervene.
For anglers new to a destination, hosts provide insight into the fishery and help with learning about fish behavior.
Hosts can provide on-site tackle and casting instruction—it might be nice to get a few pointers after day one.
If necessary, being able to “raid” your host’s fly box could be a bonus if there’s only one hot pattern.
Travel with a host who has been to a destination, has it dialed, and can provide some insider info—let the host spend their time learning and stressing over the details and you can spend your time telling all your friends about the trip you’re about to take.
When you travel under the Yellow Dog banner, the lodges want to make sure that you are happy. Yellow Dog is typically the largest agent that most lodges work with and the lodges often treat Yellow Dog guests very well.
When traveling on a Yellow Dog hosted fly fishing trip, all of our hosts and Program Directors are talented photographers and eager to document your trip.
On a Yellow Dog hosted trip, you have a “point person” on-site to assist with any requests or problems during travel to or at the destination.
Having an expert host on the trip gives guests added value with extra after-hours knowledge, stories, and perspective. We like to think all our hosts bring an extra element of planning, safety, and fun to any trip.
Knowledgeable hosts can assist with rigging fly rods, reels, and equipment and ensure that each angler is properly prepared for each day on the water.
Restricted to set dates of the trip. No flexibility on dates.
You are potentially joining a regular group of anglers accustomed to fishing with the same host on an annual basis. Discuss with the host prior to booking if your style—cocktails and fishing stories late into the evening or early-to-bed-early-to-rise—matches with that of the group.
Do some research on the host. Is your host focused on self-promotion, their own time in the front of the boat, and getting a free trip on the dimes of others? Or, are they truly there to ensure that each guest enjoys his or her time on the water and lodge property. This is never the case on a Yellow Dog hosted trip, but, vet the host a little.
If you think that maybe the case, here are a few questions to ask your potential host before the trip.
1) Can you assist with flights and travel insurance?
2) Will I be able to reach you if I have a travel emergency?
3) What other locations have you hosted anglers?
4) Will you be available to assist me during the trip?
5) Do you know the guides at the destination? And, if you do, who assigns the guides?
And, during this “getting to know your host” phase here are some red flags that maybe this host is not up to par.
1) They skirt around the specific fly pattern and tackle questions
2) Leading up to this trip or past trips, they appear more focused on their own social media presence more than their angler’s comfort and needs
3) They suggest they’ve been fishing with the same guide for years and plan to do so this trip
4) They are planning to bring non-angling companions of their own—this may result in less personalized time for you.
Our team here at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures is passionate about great fly-fishing trips and hosted travel is one of our passions. Because we work so intimately with so many lodges, we hear of non-Yellow Dog hosted trips gone afoul—hosts leaving the dock well before all the other guests and often with the top guide; hosts consistently out-fishing their guests and boasting at cocktail hour, or hosts taking the solo boat without deferring to any guests.
Poorly hosted trips never occur at Yellow Dog. Our team is committed to everyone’s success and enjoyment above individual hosts’.
We’ve learned a lot in nearly twenty years of sending anglers around the world on fly fishing trips—and we believe a Yellow Dog hosted trip is one of the best experiences on the planet for anyone wanting to fly fish the world.