An eight part series on taking people out on the water.
What are the clients aspirations for that day? You cannot promise someone that they will be casting like a dream and hooking a fish every cast, (some do unfortunately!), be honest and set realistic goals that can be easily achieved by both parties.
When do they wish to attend the day and for how long? Ascertain when and where you meet, give clear, concise easily found directions and agreeable times, exchange mobile phone numbers. Ask what car they drive so they can be identified at the meeting point and tell them what car you will be in. Will they need food and drink, can you supply either or do they bring their own? I have experienced clients who have just had a “massive breakfast” and say there is no need of food for the rest of the day, by noon they are into your lunch box!
Should the conditions on the day be out of sorts. Nowadays, weather reports and levels up and down the river can be easily accessed from the internet, these should have been studied twenty four hours prior to the day to give you an idea of what conditions to expect. Do you have a contingency plan for another venue or can you reschedule the day at a mutual diary date? All this needs to be organised the day before with the client.
Does the client have any medical/dietary problems, can you get a mobile signal at the venue, a GPS, nearest hospital, do you know exactly where you will be fishing and from what time to when? This is something you will need to know in case of emergency, at least if the worst does happen you will have a good idea what that problem may be and be able to either deal with it or get some help quickly.
Who is going to organise the fishing permit/s and access, is it within the cost you advertised? Be very precise how many people are actually coming, sometimes that one client can bring the wife/husband, children, dog and the odd friend which can lead to an awkward situation when they all want to have a go and the dog is chasing sheep in the field!
Environment Agency rod licenses apart from Scotland have to be paid for by the client due to personal details required either on-line or through a post office, send them the appropriate links to do that. Is your venue risk assessment up to date along with all your insurance, CRB checks, first aid and guiding qualifications. Do you know your venue well, have you permission to guide on there, what are the rules? Most people are easily intimidated by others watching, this can cause huge problems, will there be others on the fishery at that time and the venue looking something like washing day on the Ganges?
Can you supply all the necessary equipment you will need for the day and is it all in your vehicle? Besides the waders, clothing, permits and safety equipment, have you got or the facilities to make hot water and drinks, spare rods/outfits, is your vehicle suitable to carry all the equipment and passengers over rough/soft ground?
If the day is set for salmon fishing, it might be slow and you may need the tackle for trout fishing also. Fly boxes with spares for all species, disposables like leader material, nets, forceps, items for repairs (needles, braided loops, tape, super glue etc) and camera to record some moments. A check list is a great idea!
All this so far and we have not yet met the client!