I hope you don't mind but, in this months issue I just wanted to make you laugh a little if I could. Laughter is a wonderful medicine for the mind and the heart, I think. Sometimes in my business I just have to stop being so serious and try to a little laugh.
On a recent Sport Center episode I watched the C'mon Man commentary by several of the former NFL stars. It's a great spoof on things that happen during the week in the NFL. I had to laugh when I started thinking about how many times I have said this to myself on the boat over my lifetime of fishing. I want everyone to know that the episodes in this article are real but repeated only to give all of us a good wholesome laugh at ourselves.
Most people that know me understand the anal-retentive approach I have towards the serious side of fishing. Over the last few years, due to what I consider a lazy-minded and instant-gratification attitude among younger anglers, has probably cost me as much business from that sector as I am able to book. I believe that when you show up for a guided fishing trip you should be prepared; mentally, physically and also equipment-wise. Show up unprepared and the smartass in me rears its ugly head. At five feet and seven inches it never gets too serious as I do not want to be on the wrong end of a good old-fashion butt whipping. But my smart mouth hurts me, and sometimes in the tip department at the end of the day. So even I have to wonder why I continue doing it. To myself, I would have to say, -- "C'mon Man!"
I have guys show up all the time with about 40 yards of three year old line on their reels. Your line is the ONLY thing between you and that fish of a lifetime. Not only is the line on the reel old, there is not enough of it to cast half the distance needed in our clear and shallow water conditions. -- "C'mon Man!"
So you don't use a snap swivel? Don't even own one? Then how do you get the lure to stay on the end of the line? -- "C'mon Man!"
What about the group that shows up at the dock without wading gear after six emails from me explaining the need to wade due to there being six in their party and winds forecast for 25-plus -- all because the guy at the local bar said they did not need to do any of that wading stuff to catch fish. -- "C'mon Man!"
How about the party that thinks waders are not necessary in 60° water because they are from out-of-state where it's really cold. Oh, and this is after repeated emails with specific instructions as to what will be needed to successfully fulfill their desires for the day. Blue lips and numb lower extremities after only a few minutes in the water quickly equate to a very short day. Then comes the scene at the dock when presented with a bill for a full day of services. I guess they want a discount for being stupid. -- "C'mon Man!"
Oh, this is a great one. "I don't have much fishing experience but sure would like a ten pound trout to mount for the new office and could we do this by noon as I need to be back in the office by 2:00pm." This is what I call high fence mentality and does not apply to trophy speckled trout. -- "C'mon Man!"
Here's an even better one. "I have been fishing for twenty years with croaks and wanted to try my hand at chunking some arties." Arties? Really? Who the heck talks like this in the fishing world? -- "C'mon Man!"
I had a guy show up one day and wanted me to talk "High Impact" to him, whatever that was. At the time, in my world, High Impact was a fishing line produced by DuPont. "Talk 'High Impact' to me?" -- "C'mon Man!"
Another group wanted to chunk crack backs. Puzzled, I asked, "You mean broken backs?" And the cool guy in the group replied, "Yeah, crack backs or whatever you call 'em." -- "C'mon Man!"
Customer - "What type of boat is this?" Me - "Well it's a 24 HO Haynie and I love it." Customer again - "For a guy that loves to fish like me, what boat would you recommend?" -- "C'mon Man!"
Wading in your flip-flops on any type of bottom anywhere along the Texas Coast. -- "C'mon Man!"
Wading in your Wrangler jeans without underwear - can you say OUCH?" -- "C'mon Man!"
Wading in the winter months in waist-deep water with your Simms G4 guide jacket on the INSIDE of your waders. -- "C'mon Man!"
To me - "This trip is really for my wife, I just want her to catch some fish." Then to his wife - "Now Honey, just go sit in the back of the boat and let your line drift out there a ways." Oh Boy! We're talking cut-off in the truest sense of the word. -- "C'mon Man!"
Customer - "What type of lure should I throw today?" Me - "I think a plum 5" Bass Assassin would be great choice." Customer - "What about a black and pink deep-diving Border Jumper?" "C'mon Man!"
"I don't want you to show me any of your good spots, just a spot or two where I can come and get a quick limit whenever I am down." -- "C'mon Man!"
"I was fishing right out in front of my house before the front blew in and nothing. Granted, I never catch them there, but I thought it was supposed to be great as a front is approaching." -- "C'mon man!"
Troll-motoring or drifting in on other anglers catching fish because you're a guide. -- "C'mon Man!"
Pulling in on another team that is hooked up in a fishing tournament because the rules say its OK. Guess what, its not. I've done it and I was ashamed of it before the Power Pole hit the bottom. -- "C'mon Man!"
Sunscreen is meant to be rubbed into your skin, not globbed on like cottage cheese with chunks in your ears and nostrils. -- "C'mon Man!"
Colored lip balm versus clear. I had the entire dock laughing one morning after lovely daughter Shayla slipped a bright pink shade into my Simms bag and I applied it in the dark. -- "C'mon Girl!"
(This one goes out to all of my fellow guides.) Do you really believe that your only value to your clients is the ride to and from the area where they can catch enough fish to fill their freezer? Is this all you believe your customers see you as? What about the knowledge you've shared, the instruction, the friendships forged, and the memories you have helped supply and been a part of? Our clients can put a price on just about everything except our knowledge…it's priceless. - So, "C'mon Man!"
I hope you laughed at some of these lines and just maybe learned something from some of them. They are all presented in fun, and truly, these really happen on my boat. If we all take some time to think about some of the things we do, we'll probably have to say to ourselves from time to time, -- "C'mon Man!"
Last but not least, believing everything everyone says all the time, including yours truly, -- "C'mon Man!"
May your fishing always be catching. -Guide Jay Watkins