by Randal Sumner
A while back I talked to someone who was telling me about a
magazine article they had read about what makes the perfect fly fishing guide.
Ever since I have been mulling over another idea in my head.
What makes the perfect fly fishing
client? This whole subject is fraught with landmines relative to my guiding
business; I mean the customer is always right….right? I mean when I go to see
my accountant Marilyn, my off the wall opinions about the tax code are always
spot on… right? No, and that’s the
point of my hiring her expertise. It’s the same with hiring a professional
fisherman and insisting on using your Lucky fly.
“What kind of fly is that, ” I ask, “Why that’s my Lucky Fly”
nutshell I consider that my job is to be a good host; the client is paying a
wad of money to have a fun day and learn a few fishing truths. The real trick
in my job is to match the client’s skill level with the fishing conditions on
the day they have chosen to come fishing with me. Sounds simple, like making
contact with the Mother Ship with my Tommy the Spaceman decoder ring.
client is a person that is a student of the fly fishing game, maybe not the
greatest caster or angler but interested in learning, moving there game up a
notch or two.
This person would also a good
listener. During our time on the water together I will be trying to tie
together a few of the loose ends in your fishing knowledge. How far we get
depends on how much experience you bring to the table. Remember there are no
dumb questions: When you’re with the guide, this is your chance to ask all the
questions you’ve wondered about. I get a lot of:”Randal, what is the purpose of
the universe”? The purpose of the universe is to seek equilibrium. That usually
brings them back to the more relevant fishing queries.
Over the years I have had some fine amateur anglers cycle through
and become regular clients, they really don’t need me anymore except for the
most subtle, almost unspoken advice.
Another characteristic of my perfect client is sense of humor;
this is necessary for a couple reasons.
Number one is that a bit of levity will keep you loose and able to
focus on the task at hand without becoming grim, after all were just fishing,
so lets lighten up.
I learned this personally during my
fling with ballroom dancing, without a sense of humor I’d have never made it
through all the lessons. The truth is I still can’t dance but it does make me
laugh out loud when I think about it.
The second reason is that I am a
collector of funny stories; some of the things I’ve heard in the boat would
curl your hair. Not the stuff for a family newspaper but really funny.
Yes the guide needs to have fun too.
thing my perfect client would be able to do is take the advice (about fishing
only) in the spirit it is being given. Trust me the guide wants you to be
successful, he wants you to catch fish and have fun: that is pretty much the
point of the whole exercise. We realize
this fly fishing is not an easy avocation to take up, we also realize that some
times people just want try something new (like ballroom dancing). Welcome to my