After several years of threatening to do so, a few of our guides – myself included – are switching from store bought plastic water bottles to other methods of transporting and distributing water to our guests. Most guides I know hate the garbage produced by the hundreds of plastic bottles they throw away each year. Costa, Orvis, Fishpond, Patagonia, Yeti and others have directed both consumer and guide “kick plastic” campaigns over the years. Everyone nods in agreement during the presentation, and agrees to switch to “hard” water bottles in the future. But few do.
I do know a few outfitters who provide water and water bottles for their guests, including our friends at the North Fork Crossing Lodge on the Blackfoot. And I suppose outfitters in remote camps in Alaska and Russia have no choice. But by and large, most fishing guides buy dozens of the inexpensive bottled water “flats” you can find in every grocery store and gas station from Forks to Key West. It’s frightening to think of the volume of plastic garbage the fishing industry contributes to Mother Earth each year.
I checked out Ban The Bottle to get a few numbers, and read that the average American throws away 167 water bottles each years. Scary for sure, but I’ll bet some guides come close to that each week during hot weather in July and August!
So, as part of my return to guiding this year, I promised myself I would finally “kick plastic”. Which prompted both agreement and discussion among our guide staff on how to implement that. The two big hurdles for most guides include:
- Bottled water is cheap. Probably the smallest daily expenditure for guides. Right behind spit shot.
- Customers don’t trust us or our water bottles.
Having guiding for long enough that I don’t really care what my guests opinions of my water bottles are (or much else), I decided to give it a whirl. I did a little research, and combined with my own experience decided on the following 32oz Nathan water bottle for guests in my boat. I purchased a bunch of these in “paired” colors so each dude can have a couple of the same color.