First of all, can you give us an overview of the Fisher Guiding site?
Fisher Guiding is a platform for booking fishing guides that we just launched on March 22nd. Fishing guides, charters, or lodges can list their trips, and fishers looking for a guide can check availability, contact guides, and book trips all through the website.
Users can find guides using our search function or simply by exploring destinations. We show the closest guides available to the location you’re searching for, and we also show similar guide listings when you’re on a guide profile. As we add more guides in more places to the platform, the benefit of many design features will start to be realized more.
You are not the first to venture into this industry niche. What sets you apart?
When deciding to pursue and build the platform, we saw that people still meet barriers along the way of trying to get a fly fishing guide, a fishing charter, or anything in between. The experience can be simplified and made more convenient, and anglers as well as guides we’ve talked to have told us they want and need something like this. We believe our streamlined platform and constant commitment to making it easier to use, plus our emphasis on partnership with guides and users, will set us apart from others. Leaning on our team’s experience in the fishing industry and in the private sector, we aim to fill the need of simplified guide bookings and make Fisher a go-to resource for anglers.
Healthy communication and true partnership with guides will be key, which is why we’re set on growing at a sustainable rate. We need to be able to focus on the business of the guides listed with us and customer service for fishers who book them. We have some creative ways to partner with guides, be a brand that serves fishers, and work with other organizations to promote accessible angling and environmental responsibility. So far, we’re members of 1% For The Planet, the International Federation of Fly Fishers, and Trout Unlimited. We hope readers will sign up as users on our site as the best way to stay tuned to what we do.
Let’s start from the guide perspective. Why should they use your service?
The tools we provide to guides are all in one place…their calendar, messages with clients, payouts and tips.
We market guides so that fishers can find them as an option. With advertising and web presence taken care of, it lets guides do what they got in the business to do – fish! Guides can save time and expenses that they would normally spend on competitive marketing, due to the streamlined structure of guide listings.
Fisher Guiding is especially attractive to new and part-time guides because it offers independence and flexibility. For guides who join us, we want them to come to expect that we’ll go above and beyond to help with their business.
Why should an angler like myself who is looking for a guide use you?
Finding a guide and scheduling a trip should be simple, convenient, and transparent. As our guide network takes shape, anglers like you will be able to compare guides in the same location by their bios, trip offerings, price, reviews and endorsements.
Fisher Guiding will be a go-to way to find AND book guides. The booking process is the same for all of our guides and you can keep track of all the trips you schedule throughout the year, with the ability to easily contact your guides through our platform. People have grown familiar with booking experiences online, and we want to bring that excitement and simplicity to discovering a great fishing trip. You’ll save time by finding the right guide, seeing if they’re available directly from their calendar, and booking quickly and securely with online payment.
The key thing with our reviews is transparency, so every angler will get an honest look at a guide. To be fair, we allow guides to also write a reply to user reviews. There’s also a message to users that reviews should be focused on the experience, rather than conditions outside of a guide’s control, to help future fishers.
Let’s talk about each of you. How long have each of you been fishing?
Edward: I’ve been fishing my whole life. I grew up fishing Central Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay with my family early on. My parents moved my whole family out to Montana for 6 months when I was 8, so I got some incredible fishing experience there, too. We were walking distance to the Beaverhead River, an incredible experience as a kid. On my 16th birthday, I caught a bonefish in the Bahamas, and that really got me into fly fishing. From there, I went to University of Colorado where I was on the club fly fishing team. I also worked while in school at Front Range Anglers, a fly shop in Boulder, which was a great introduction to the business.
Luke: I’m actually pretty fresh in the fishing world. Growing up, I fished in Charleston, South Carolina, or at family reunions with my grandpa. I also fished a few times with friends in Virginia during high school and college, but my first time fly fishing was on a trip with Edward and some of his friends in February this year. That was at the Salmon River in New York in 10-20 degree weather for 3 days, so it was a cold start…
Edward definitely has the fishing experience between the two of us, though I decided to co-found Fisher with him because I saw the vision in his idea. I’m also happy that it’s letting me get to really know fishing and add it to the sports I enjoy. I like how fishing is a way to unwind with others, which is what made our trip to the Salmon River still enjoyable even in freezing conditions, and I can tell that I’m going to really enjoy fly fishing when the conditions are better.
What are your backgrounds that have led you into this business?
Our experience is in market research, strategy, and advertising.
Luke: I studied business in school and have always had entrepreneurial dreams. Before joining Edward to work on Fisher, I analyzed advertising, marketing, and product / service innovation ideas for a market research firm. The company I was with focused on research through the perspective that human behavior and decisions are predominantly influenced by “System 1 thinking”, emotion, and environmental cues.
Human behavior is a funny thing, often irrational. Recreational and sportfishing is a great example: those who fish love it, but can it really be explained in a rational way? Both of us believe a lot of small things that we design into the platform will lead people to use Fisher Guiding and make the experience better for anglers and guides.
Edward: My work at Front Range Anglers got me interested in the industry when I was in school, but I came back east to Virginia after graduating from University of Colorado. I worked for a bit at a food ordering startup called Foodify, which helped me see the behind-the-scenes work of an agile business. Then, I worked for two years in Washington, D.C. at a political consulting firm. That time in a structured environment gave me experience thinking through strategy, and I learned from working on complex projects with multiple teams.
We both feel like these experiences have set us up for how to approach the challenges of a startup business, and we’re lucky to continue receiving advice from people we’ve worked with and met along the way.
What are each of your favorite fishing trips that you have been on?
Edward: I went fishing with my dad two years ago in Yellowstone for the fall brown trout run. We both caught a ton of huge browns. It was a beautiful time in Yellowstone, and a great experience with my dad. It really reminded me what a great fishing experience can do for you. Doubling up with my dad on a massive brown and a rainbow trout was a highlight, along with experiencing a healthy and vibrant river and guiding community.
Luke: My favorite fishing was on visits to Mount Pleasant and Isle of Palms, South Carolina, to my grandpa’s house. I can’t remember the catches and don’t have any that make for a nice story, but it was about spending time with family and enjoying time outside. I appreciate that you can take most guided trips with 2 or more people, so you get to fish with people you enjoy. Also, what I look forward to and think will make going on guided trips great is that I’ll get to know a local and learn from them about their area, which I view as the best part of traveling.
What trips are on your bucket list? In other words, what trip will you be using FisherGuiding.com to book?
Luke: One of my future goals is to get guides on board in the Philippines and Mongolia.
One of my grandparents was from Cebu City in the Philippines, and the islands have a huge fishing culture. I visited once on a trip between just my grandpa and me, and though I’m biased from having a family connection, the locals were so joyful to interact with. I’d be thrilled if Fisher Guiding leads more people to visit the Philippines and get to know the culture because of fishing.
Another trip on my bucket list is to visit Mongolia. I didn’t learn about Taimen fishing until I started working on Fisher, and I doubt I’d be anywhere near having the skill to land one of those giants. However, I have a friend from Mongolia who moved back home a year ago and I’d love to visit him. He does a lot of exploring there, so many of his Snapchat or Instagram posts of the country leave me in awe.
Edward: This is a really tough one. I’ve always wanted to fish the Amazon River. The jungle, the uncharted water, and explosive fish that live there have always drawn me in. I love the adventure and exploratory aspect of that kind of fishing.
I have quite a few places that I’ve wanted to fish, and I’ve kept a list: New Zealand, Patagonia, Iceland, Seychelles, Croatia, Alaska, Kamchatka… I can keep going!
Whether a professional guide or adventurous angler, these two entrepreneurs are ready to help you find success. So go check out FisherGuiding.com or visit them on social media.