On March 22, a new tool for anglers will open its doors to the world. It’s a web-based platform that helps anglers find guides from the Carribbean to Alaska. It’s called Fisher Guiding, and it’s goal is simple—to make guided fishing trips accessible for everyone.
“The whole idea behind it is accessible angling, making fishing more open,” says Fisher Guiding CEO and co-founder Edward Hill. “It’s a marketplace for anglers to discover and book fishing guides, and a tool for guides to promote and manage their bookings.”
Hill says Fisher Guiding was born out of necessity when he tried to book a fly fishing trip in the Everglades in 2016. “I always wanted to fish the Everglades, but you really need a guide to do it right. Between research, finding a guide with good reviews and a reasonable price point, then getting in touch with that guide, it took way too long. And, I couldn’t book the trip online. From that, the idea for Fisher Guiding came about.”
Fisher’s website has been operational—gathering guides in preparation for its March 22 consumer launch—since February. It allows guides, independent outfitters and lodges to market themselves, organize schedules and consolidate bookings directly from a web portal. And Hill says the consumer-facing side allows anglers to easily search for guides, read reviews, message, book and pay online—eliminating all of the hassle he experienced in the doomed venture to the Everglades. “The trip didn’t work out due to the difficulties of finding a guide in a new area,” he recalls.
In a bid to solve that problem, Fisher Guiding currently has active profiles in the United States, Belize, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. “We wanted to give international guides a way to reach the American audience that I don’t think was there before unless they worked at a lodge,” says Hill. “Some of these people are local guides who have fished there their entire lives but maybe aren’t affiliated with a big lodge.”
Hill’s team believes that U.S. anglers spend $1.1 billion annually on fishing guides and trip fees, and the global market, his team estimates, could be twice that.
“Fisher’s belief in accessible angling sets a strategy to grow the active market by putting fishing trips in reach and in budget for more anglers, some of who might not consider guided trips with the current market structure,” Hill adds.
The company, which provides free listings but takes a 15-percent commission on bookings, is still seeking guides and outfitters, but the platform has already proved successful in beta form—Fisher has already booked trips ranging from a two-day, $900 outing to a four-day, $2,400 expedition.