An eight part series on taking people out on the water.
It can be an anxious moment being on a blind date, for that is what it can be like for some people which you have never met. Most I have found, have no idea of what to expect from that point even though there has been previous conversation and they have fished before. To some it is the great unknown, we have all been there at some time, a smile and friendly handshake with a warm welcome is so vital. First impressions are so important at the first meet and greet and you should: arrive fifteen minutes early, have a pleasant demeanour, not appear intimidating, yet demonstrate your confidence and have dressed in such a way that is smart, practicable and fits in with where you are about to take your client fishing. Turning up disheveled, late and with the remnants of a hangover will not bode well at any time.
If due to access problems you may have to take only your car to the water, assuming that you have permission to do that. Make sure that the client has parked their car in a safe and legal place and that all their baggage and necessities have been transferred and checked in to yours. That conversation during the short drive to the venue is a great ice breaker and can lower a few barriers. On arrival, offer the client a beverage and get to know them a little better, find out what makes them tick. Talk about the water and where they will be fishing shortly, what the intended plan for the day is, do ask what the client actually wants from the day as this can often change.
Does one size fit all?
You are about to put your lesson plan into action, I presume you have one? Will the one you used yesterday on that experienced person and the day before that with the beginner work with the person you have today?
Lesson plans are great in one respect, you will have an ordered list of items and tasks to get through, a routine almost. But the truth is, that lesson plan has to be so flexible to be able to work in all situations.
I have seen on many occasions, guides, instructors and demonstrators referring to notes from their pocket while giving pointers. That is definitely bad practice, it shows that you are unsure, you do not know your business, you will also lose any confidence your client may have had and they will not feel safe in your hands.