Follow Your Bliss – Part 2

What a great summer it has been!

Several months ago I posted the article Follow Your Bliss, sharing background and an update on my becoming a Registered Maine Guide. More specifically, earning my Recreational Guide license.


The purpose of this post is to share an update on what has been going on since then, as well as a related accomplishment, recently achieved.

In summary, I am pleased to report, I had the opportunity to be “on the water” almost every day this summer. At a high-level, this summer’s activities included:

Note: You may click on the links above to learn more about any of these activities.

While the above was going on I was, in parallel, preparing for an upcoming test to earn my Fishing Guide License.

It is here, I’ll preface the update: in the spirit of full disclosure…

That is, my “original” Fishing Guide test took place in June, on the Monday after we had returned from our Allagash adventure. Unfortunately, I did NOT sufficiently prepare for one area covered in the test. And, I failed…

Zowy, that was humbling…

You see, when you test for a guide license, there are “at least” two major segments, based on the nature of the license being pursued. First, a written test, which I passed with flying colors. Second, an oral test, in which the applicant meets with a panel consisting of Game Wardens and Master Registered Maine Guides.

During the oral exam you are literally hammered with questions and scenarios covering fishing laws and techniques (hook and worm, lures, fly fishing, trolling and ice fishing) as well as the safe and efficient operation of watercraft and related regulations, the identification of species of flora (trees and plants: edible and otherwise) and fauna (birds, mammals and fish), and finally, handling situations you may encounter with clients (illness, injury and/or behavior).

What makes this part of the exam most interesting is that the panel of interviewers are quite coy, in true Mainer fashion 🙂

As an example, one of the questions asked was: “How do you adjust the freeboard on your canoe?” Here, the interviewers are determining if you understand the anatomy of a canoe, and if you don’t will you try to B.S. your way through it. Fortunately, I “do” know the anatomy of a canoe, so I responded with “Well, I suppose that would be based upon how much you put in the canoe.” You see, the freeboard is the amount of a canoe’s side which is above the waterline. The more you put in the canoe, the less the freeboard.

At the end of the test the scrupulous interviewers indicated I had demonstrated significant knowledge in the area being tested, but I had missed on an important item. I wasn’t able to identify a sufficient number of flies. And, since Maine is well known for its fly fishing, they felt this was an important area to demonstrate significant competency. 

Damn! Especially, since I used to tie flies as a kid. And, I am quite good at fly fishing. I simply didn’t take the time to refresh my memory banks and prepare for the identification of a sufficient number of flies.

Upon humbly, yet wholeheartedly, agreeing with their decision, I graciously thanked them for their time and promptly put in my request for a re-test.

It is here I went into cram mode, which included preparing flashcards covering a number of flies. I studied these at least weekly, awaiting my retest, increasing to multiple times daily, leading up to test day.


Example flashcards prepared for fly identification

Well, re-test day was yesterday, and I am happy to report that I passed. I am now a Registered Maine Guide with Specialized licenses in both Recreation and Fishing!


A Togue caught while trolling Sebago with my neighbor, Tom Roth, also a Registered Maine Guide and owner of Sebago Lake Guide Services.

What is next?

Later this month I’ll be guiding a group (upwards of 10) on a hiking / camping expedition on Mt. Katahdin. More on that soon!

In addition, I’ll be updating the website for my guide business (Maine Adventures) to include Fishing Guide services.

And, finally, now that summer is over I’m entertaining a Project Management gig, with one of my long-standing clients. We’ll just need to make sure it wraps before next summer’s adventure season 🙂

In closing, never give up on your goals and dreams. And, when (not if) you have a setback, get up, dust yourself off and give it another go.

All the best and more to come!

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