Ben Helesic - Guide

How long have you been fishing?

For 21 years 

How long have you been fly fishing?
Around 12 years

How long have you been guiding?
I have been guiding for Fish Tales since 2017. 

Why and how did you get started in guiding?
I started rowing drift boats when I was 15 and have always loved being out on the water fishing so guiding has been the perfect “job” in my mind growing up. Working in the fly shop definitely helped get my foot in the door to start guiding.

Are you a fly tyer?
Definitely, it’s a great pastime in the winter

Favorite pattern(s)?
I have really been enjoying tying steelhead flies lately

What do you row? Why?
16 foot low profile ClackaCraft, I really like how it rows, it’s comfy to fish out of, it’s light, and it’s low profile makes it a little easier to row when it gets windy out there.

Favorite fishing technique?
I really enjoy dry fly fishing because that’s what got me into fly fishing, but when it comes down to it whatever the fish are eating.

Your strengths as a guide?
I am hardworking, Patient, easy going, and like to teach people how to fly fish. 

What do you do to add to the experience on a slow(er) day?
I am always open to suggestions from clients but usually we will try every method there is to see if we can find some fish. On the hotter days in the past I've pulled off to slower water to let clients go for a swim. On the cooler days or early mornings I always have my Jetboil available to make some nice hot coffee.

Favorite guide-related memory?
Last year I got a client to cast a big hopper at a spot I saw a good fish rise the day before. He put the fly in the perfect spot and a big brown trout smashed it. It turned out to be one of the hardest fighting fish of the year. We didn’t quite land it but there is always next year.

Embarrassing anecdote (something that happened while guiding)?
I forgot the boat net one day last year. It's pretty hard to land bigger fish with no net...

This is seasonal work…. What do you do in the off-season?
During the off season I am a full time student at Mount royal University. I also work part time in the fly shop.

Given the opportunity who would you choose to fish with? Or someone who has inspired you as an angler/tyer/teacher/guide.
I’d probably go out with my buddies or my dad because they’re pretty fun to fish with and they row a boat. Watching Norm Norlander tie flies at the fishing expo was probably what got me into fly tying. The person that first inspired me to guide was Jeff. He used to work and guide for the shop. I got to go on my first guided trip with him quite a few years ago during stonefly season and thought he had the coolest job ever!

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