Tourist anglers may well have have certain preconceived notions and mental images of an angling destination before they ever visit. Expectations are one of the driving forces for the initial desire to visit any particular destination. If customer effort is high and those high expectations are met, high customer satisfaction is likely.
Adversely, an individual with high expectations who receives a low-value experience or an experience that doesn’t meet with his or her self perceived expectations as result of exaggerated media will likely report a low customer satisfaction, regardless of level of customer effort or indeed guide effort.
This high-value expectation, low-value product is known as the dissonance theory (Cardozo, 1965).
To reduce dissonance levels in visiting tourist anglers, it is important as a service provider to offer accurate realistic information to the visiting angling public so as to not create heightened expectations that are not likely to be met. This is often contrary information to that as portrayed by angling media.
‘It is important to remember that quality tourist experiences result from businesses that know their product, their customers, and their employees’ (Hayes, 1997). As a bass fishing guide I would also add that it is necessary to include an intimate local and wider knowledge of the coastal environment and the influences of current conditions on the fishing.
An unrealistic expectation in relation to angling returns for a fish as capricious as bass needs to be discussed at length with any potential customer. Yes a good guide may know some honey pots, yes a good guide should recognise a confluence of circumstances that can lead to exceptional fishing or indeed the reverse, and yes a good guide should work hard to push every possible opportunity as it happens.
But in reality a very good guide will also recognise that honey pots need to be managed very very carefully and are often the exception to ‘day to day’ fishing, a customers individual skill can only be matched to specific environments, conditions and a singular limit of physical input. Plus, and contrary to popular belief, Ireland is not localised it has a vast coastline that operates differently at different times and giant bass do not readily surrender and crawl up your line at the mere sight of a soft plastic!
Being realistically aware of the true nature of the fish and the fishing, getting a measured sense of what ‘could happen’ if I try hard and work at it, a ‘I cant do any more’ frame of mind is a good honest approach. Instead of trying to deal with the associated disappointments of unrealistic hyper expectation and so often its associated companions, accelerated unearned learning and supposed ease of accomplishment through the latest bass tackle fads, a much simpler and wider approach will lead to a far greater sense of achievement and personal reward.
Besides isn’t there something so much more satisfying about simply being out there, imagining rather than expecting?