One of the first things I do when I take on passengers on my boat is something all boaters should consider! First things first! PFDs! I have them out and expect my passengers to put them on. I do give them a choice. Since we are fishing, I offer the Type 1, big orange styles…which are the safest you can wear…but also I offer an auto/inflatable. These auto inflatables are easier to fish with. I explain their operation and ensure they are worn properly. To be effective, they must be worn. After that, I go over safety procedures...Location of and operation of my fire extinguisher. I also point out how to use in case of a fire. I further point out it is fully charged. I also show and demonstrate the usage of the throwable. In my bass boat, I have my third passenger sit on this cushion…. that way it is always on the deck of my boat. I also show where to board the boat in case of being in the water. I have taken many safety courses, including MOB procedures. If you carry passengers, either commercially or for fun, it is a good idea to practice this. I am always very careful to show my passengers how to move about the boat and I observe their confidence or lack thereof. Before I take off, I want to gain their trust. I do not go very fast when starting out until I feel my passengers are comfortable and confident. For guides, I also suggest they have a standard liability release to include the rate for the day and any Dos & DON’Ts for your guests.
Now, last week, I had a variety of guide trips. I had a father and 25-year-old daughter. I had to teach casting and some basic fishing. The Mann’s Baby 1-Minus is perfect for this. It is easy to cast and easy to fish. I teach the basics of casting and demonstrate a cast while lying down on the deck of my boat to demonstrate the use of my wrists with a two-handed cast. During this process, I also point out the parts and function of the reel. If they understand this, they will make better casts. I have them target high targets and put them in areas where there are no bad casts…far from the bank and any overhanging trees. Then gradually, I point out specific targets and invite them to pick targets to improve their accuracy. Once they get a bit more accurate, I move up to other baits. My next technique is the drop shot. Very easy to use and casting accuracy doesn’t have to be that precise. This trip turned out to be very successful.
I also had a local tournament angler who wanted to pre-fish with me for an upcoming event. For these anglers, I will help them dissect a fishing spot. Not only to h help them learn that spot but also how I approach a fishing day from their tournament perspective. I invite them to try what they want to use, but I will catch a few to show them there are fish in the area. At the end of the day, I will review the activity of the day and propose a plan of attack for their tournament day…including timing of tides and expected weather changes.
But my most fun trip was with a regular client who I warned we would be in rain all day and fishing in a crowd. We arrived at a hot spot and were the first there, it didn’t take long for 25 other boats to join us within 20-30 feet! It was a good exercise for my client as he learned how to fish in a crowd, focusing on his fishing and not the activity of the others in the area. He also enjoyed chatting with some of the competitors…most of them are very nice to me as I support local tournaments! The only negative were the handful of guys who decided to drive through the shallow grass bed as they were finished with the area and were making it a mess for the ones still fishing. I ask all anglers to consider this courtesy when leaving a fishing spot. Just because you are done, doesn’t mean the boats remaining are as well!
Until next time, I’m gone fishing!
Capt. Steve Chaconas
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