Friday, January 06, 2012

The Dudes

Trouble X 2
I've only been guiding about 10 years now and really started from nothing in terms of experience or a client base. Looking back now, it probably wasn't the best way to go about getting started as it was a slow building process in terms of being able to make a living...and I really had no idea what the hell I was doing in terms of guiding. I'll give myself some credit in terms of being able to fish, teach people how to fish, and row a boat so it wasn't totally like those Holiday Inn Express commercials when I picked my clients up in the morning! In hindsight, I would have been better, quicker if I had someone to learn from and work for.
1 in a 1,000,000
Needless to say, I didn't get much repeat business those first couple of years. My first trip was a classic trip from hell in that it was hot, their were river closures, and I had good anglers. We ended up doing a monster day where we fished Hebgen in the morning, ate lunch at Quake, and then floated Varney to Ennis in the afternoon. The outfitter we were with back then had USFS permits back then by the way. Anyway, I rowed around the Madison Arm chasing gulpers while the two anglers relentlessly cast and cast away the entire morning. I got hooked in the arm twice and they got some whitefish. We got a few in the afternoon on the Madison. What I remember most was the feeling that we all have when we are waking up from a bad dream except that I kept feeling the bad dream just kept going.
Why the F*&% do I let Toby do these things to me?
Now, things are a lot different and it's probably got something to do with me, but it also has to do with the dudes in the boat. Most of my business is now all repeat and referrals and that really makes my job a zillion times easier! So , as I sit here in early 2012 looking ahead, I look forward to seeing the people that have showed me more about rivers, fish, and myself than I could have learned in a lifetime of doing something else. The fish will be there and the rivers will have water, but it really is about that connection between humanity reached through water that makes this a life worth living for me. God knows it's not about the money. If you're looking to book in 2012, I could use that deposit money about now by the way!
Yeah Tom...that's Scott up here on the Blog
For me, it really is about the people, the interaction, and watching someone else squeeze a little more soul into their being when they hook a fish. I've learned so much about life the last several years, thanks to all that sign up for the insanity every year, I can't wait to see you all again.

"How long you been guiding?" Oh, since I about 2 minutes ago was my response.
I got some great news the other day when Pete, the 86 yr. old from Cali called me up and...after calling me a yardbird and hillbilly...booked me for another 10 days in August. I used to dread that phone call but now it's one of the highlights of the year for me as I kind of get what he's trying to do and feel a privileged to be a part of it. He just wants to fish for the rest of his life.

The Original Yardbird
I've been really fortunate to have developed some wonderful friendships over the years. Yeah, on the front side of the relationship it's all about how many fish will we catch, how big will they be, where will we go, how long will we fish, and blah blah blah. After a trip or two though, I think we all appreciate that the "meat" of the trip are all the little things throughout the day. That transition of emotion when expectations become reality and we all realize, at the same time, that there actually is a big f'in fish on that line. It's a good life I live.

Even the British can do this!

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