In my early years as a charter captain I was a bit overly instructive and dictatorial. This arose from caring a great deal about the outcome of each day. I wanted the anglers to do well. I wanted me, the captain, to do well. And let’s face it, who wants a captain/guide who doesn’t have a lot invested in the success of each day? That success depends on what nature presents as opportunity and the captain’s picks for where to fish. If the guide and nature provide good opportunity, the final outcome rests with the anglers. The guide must have the ability to instruct the anglers and the angler has to execute those instructions. Thus a delicate dance develops. If the guide browbeats the angler, it doesn’t make for warm fuzzy feelings. But, if the angler doesn’t catch fish for lack of following basic instructions, said angler is unlikely to see the trip as a success and want to do it again. What will follow for the next few months are a series of suggestions from the guide’s side of the dance: What your captain wants you to do.
Bring no assumptions
For instance, I grew up on the east coast. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest nearly 40 years ago and started salmon fishing I assumed that these yahoos in Seattle hadn’t figured much out. What was this setup with a sinker followed by a leader with a spinning herring at the end? We Northeasterners always tied the lure to the end of the line and we had better lures. I was going to revolutionize salmon fishing with methods from home. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
It went the other way – salmon fishing revolutionized me. After which, I had the stupidity to think that I could take mooching to the Northeast and revolutionize striped bass fishing. Wrong again. People smarter than I am had already figured out some pretty darned effective methods. My job was to learn and, maybe, refine. Simply put, when in Rome do pretty much as the Romans do. The first thing I ask a new angler aboard my boat is what type of fishing he or she does back home. Then I tell them to forget everything they know and accept that mooching for Pacific salmon is a very different game, because it is. I only got good at mooching when I accepted that Pacific salmon behave a bit differently than anything I’d fished for in the past.
Stay tuned for next month’s segment: check the testosterone at the door.