Hard times on the water
Last week I reported about the beautiful weather and the fantastic fishing of our season opener, but to my regret: I cheered too soon!
Mother Nature gave me and my guests this week all she had, from hailstorms to hard winds from a nasty direction. On one day we even had to drive back to the hotel where my guests were residing, to change clothes. Soaked to the bone!
A quick peek at the weather-app learned that my winter suits, that were still in my car weren’t such a bad idea. In June! The wind also stirred up the water on the shallows, leaving such murky waters that it was a true miracle that we still ended the day with eleven pike in the boat! Being a fishing guide isn’t always a walk in the park..
The radical temperature decline also resulted in hard as nails fishing, where we were casting for hours without a single sign of life. No days for the faint-hearted! But still we managed to make a succes of every guiding day this week. It was just very hard work! Windows of activity were scarce, and you had to have your lure in the water to profit from those short moments. That meant casting, casting and more casting. Till it hurt.
More and more business
What makes me think is the fact that business is increasing and increasing in uncertain times. Where I was afraid of the temporary loss of my Belgian guests, due to hefty quarantine measures in Belgium, it seems like the locals have taken over their place. I never had more Dutch guests ever before in those years, and I’m curious if this is because holiday plans had to be cancelled last-minute, or if it is because the locals are appreciating the service that we provide more. Time will tell.
In the meanwhile, we did some adjustments to that service to comply with client expectations. Enough is already said about the new boat, but it was designed with a specific reason: Now I’m able to control all the machinery from behind the console, taking away the necessity to run around through the boat. This more or less naturally resulted in me not fishing side to side with the guests anymore, but staying put behind the wheel, taking care of boat control and instructing my clients. A little bit like the professional guides in the USA do, and the guests seem to appreciate this new method of guiding.
We also made casting the main method of fishing, since the clients seem to value that as the most exciting way of fishing. The area where I work is also a prime location for that, with all it’s shallows and weedbeds! We also did some final tweaks on the propellor size and the mounting of a hydrofoil, so the boat is as fast as possible under heavy load. Because the faster we are on the spots, the more fish we catch!
The outlook into the future is extremely positive, and it seems that the pioneering work from the first fishing guides in the Netherlands is finally paying off: Making use of the services of a professional fishing guide is more accepted than ever now, and feedback learns that more people are seeing it as an alternative for a holiday on another destination. A good development for me and my colleagues! Let’s just see if this is a temporary, corona-related thing or a structural improvement. The future will tell!
Have a great weekend!