What makes a successful guide trip? Depending on who you ask, the answer will vary quite a bit. For some people, just being on the boat is successful; for others, they need to fill a cooler with fish for dinner. The important question for you to decide, when selecting a captain for your trip, is whether or not their idea of success is similar to yours. With that in mind, I'll give you my idea of a successful trip.
The day should start off without any stress. A meeting at the ramp where your only job is to step on the boat, have a seat, and be prepared for your own personal adventure. Pleasant conversation, talking about the day's plan, a cup of coffee (or any beverage of your choice), and knowing that as we push away from the dock, anything and everything is possible. Maybe it is your first time trying to fly fish in saltwater, maybe you are targeting a trophy seatrout, maybe you are ready to do close quarter battles with snook along the mangroves and docks. Whatever your dream is, know that a plan to make it come true has been meticulously thought out and prepared for.
As the day progresses, you should feel at home. Relaxed while standing on the bow of the skiff, rod in hand, enjoying the scenery around you. You should feel free to watch the dolphins cruising by, the manatees eating on the grass, or the small blue crabs scurry for cover as the boat floats above them. You are free to do this, because I will be paying attention for any sign of the fish we are after. While you are noticing the osprey circling above, I'll be looking for the blue tint of a redfish tail, easing its way along the shoreline. Once the fish is located, you'll be given its location, and given advice on how to present the offering to the fish. There won't be any pressure, there won't be any screaming or yelling, nothing but the opportunity for you to enjoy the moment. I want you to take it in, noticing every subtle detail and enjoying every aspect. Whether the presentation is successful or not, we will share a moment in time that should be imprinted on your memory. If it all goes as planned, you will feel the line come tight, the momentary pause as the fish realizes it has made a mistake, and the sudden surge of energy as that fish fights for freedom; you will feel every head shake and every pulse of the tail. This moment will be recorded in your memory, erasing the worries of the world back on land. Hopefully we will land the fish, snap a couple of pictures, and release it back to provide someone else the opportunity for their own memory. We will have time for conversations about the ecosystem, why it is we pursue these adventures, what we can do to make it all better, and may even solve the world's problems; all while enjoying the most beautiful scenery you can imagine.
As the day ends, I will know whether it was successful or not by the look on your face. For me, it's not about the fish caught, the fish missed, or even the fish observed. It's all about you, the customer. It's about providing you memories that make you want to come back, time and time again. It's about providing memories that can give you something to smile about, while taking your lunch break at work. It's about making memories and friendships that can endure a long time and span across the globe. It's about making you smile, stepping off the boat knowing that you just had one of the best days of your life.