A Chance To Learn

Tim Moore

In my first blog, A Chance to Teach, I told of a fantastic opportunity I had to teach about striped bass kayak fishing. As a full-time hunting and fishing guide, I am often viewed as the teacher, and for the most part that’s true. My job as a guide often consists of teaching my clients the techniques used to catch the species they are after, habits of the fish they hope to catch, and even local and geographical facts. However, there always comes a time when I must pocket my pride and become the student.

The most common opportunity for me to learn comes early in the fishing season. While many techniques will remain the same year after year, there are many other factors that can change each year such as location, time of day, or time of tide (when saltwater fishing.) From year-to-year, weather and temperature, erosion of the substrate, and many other factors can change when and where fish are caught. As a result, I become the student. I must fish before my clients begin arriving to pinpoint the best fishing locations, time of day, or time of tide. Pre-fishing usually consists of fishing, but can sometimes consist of simply drifting over areas and using my Sonarphone to mark fish. Even if I am only verifying what was true the season before, it must be done.

Another less common instance is when a client is having trouble catching fish. It is my job to identify their hurdle and figure out how to get them over it. In order to teach a client who is struggling to catch fish, I must first identify the problem, and then learn how to teach them in a way that they will understand. Are they doing too much or too little of something? Are they drifting too far away from the hotspot in their kayak? I need to learn these things and communicate them in a way that is effective, but also not confrontational or egotistical. I don’t want them to feel like I am talking down to them. Nor do I want to hurt their confidence, in me or the technique.

There will always be something for me to learn, at least there should be. More often than not I am to swallow my pride and become the student, even if it is just long enough to learn how to be a better guide to that particular client. I don’t believe it is teaching that makes a good guide, it’s the ability to learn and grow that best accentuates the qualities of one.

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