There is no doubt that as a bass fishing guide that I regularly and actively experience special places and times in my day-to-day life. The light upon a series of breaking waves, or the white water at a time of tide is enough to set my heart racing, bubbling and raging currents force me still to push a little, stay just a little longer, make one more cast. The ice cool north easterlies tempt me to try whilst the sun is shining, even though I know it's often pointless. I jump from rock to rock still expecting something, often achieving nothing, and am still very happy. I now know my fishing places so well I am safe yet still frequently mesmerised. I am more often than not, alone.
This year, this season of 2010 I am doing a little bit more for myself, more for my own fishing, more for my own fishing time and what I choose to do with it than I have done for a long time. On many many occasions I have brought fishing clients to locations that are special to me only to feel disappointed when they don't clue in, or they overemphasise things that I know are not really important. We get ready, we go, and we fish at what I often consider to be the closest and most intimate angling interactions you can have with the natural coastline of Wexford.
What I sometimes feel is not my clients fault.
My investment in the place is different than theirs. The intrinsic simple beauty, sometimes wonder and even occasionally a geological or natural mystery, these things most people can easily appreciate. However the time spent unlocking some of the fishing secrets, casting and re-casting into the ever-present wind, rain and more wind when sometimes 40 feet is a miracle. Days spent without fish, days spent with tangles, and poor loops, days and days spent when you feel you are going backwards achieving nothing, days spent talking to nobody but yourself along a wild windy sunny shore. Days spent learning. Days when it works and there is no one but you to realise the measure of the success. How can your client be aware of this investment? They often can't of course or at least don't give it much thought.
My own expectations of people's reactions to the fishing and the environment are of my own creation born out of hard won hours. I often simply expect too much from people. I cant expect all clients to have the same reverence for places if their single expectations are fish on the latest gear in a matter of hours.
What this has taught me is to invest even more time with people whom are interested in talking about, discussing and trying to understand and relate to the natural influences and beauty that make up such a huge amount of the fishing. The important things. The white water, the rock and the current, the wind, the cast, the line, the fly and maybe the next time...