Jim Hendrick discusses the changes in customer expectations while fishing for Bass:
Today is June 14 2012. In two days time my tenth season for bass guiding begins on this coast, I will be guiding Jean Yves, a long-term customer and now a good friend. This is Jean Yves’ fourth year of bass fishing on the Southern coasts of Ireland.
Jean Yves first fished for bass in Wexford during 2004. During his fishing over those years its inevitable that he has drawn comparisons to his previous experiences. These comparisons and insights let me know what my customer witnesses and feels and this in turn helps me to improve that experience. Sometimes that’s not possible, things change!
Providing something that a customer feels he would like to return to makes good business sense. It makes running the business a little easier, if I can easily encourage customers to return I don’t need to spend time looking for new ones. It also places me in positions where I am working with people whom I know and trust. The customer knows what to expect and the way we can work together, an Irish fishing experience!
About 67% of my customer base is recurring – customers don’t always have positive experiences or indeed return again, nor do I, and I often find its what people bring with them to their guided fishing days that will work for or against us. That customer base is always evolving and over time new customers arrive and older customers evolve to become friends! Friends don’t make good business sense but I wouldn’t change any of them!
The business and its operation is limited and I have always accepted those limits, plugged those constraints into the business model so to speak. This is what you have to work with. The truth. After ten years of experiences under these challenges you grow to accept the patterns of nature, the highs and lows of the fishing, twiddling your thumbs during the close, the delight, the excitement, the anticipation, the tough drudgery, the beginning and the end of the week, the season!
There is much ‘talk’ of expansive changes in bass fishing in this country at this time, talk of licences, extending the closed season, making it a catch and release period, increasing size limits, decreasing daily allowable catch. Some of this makes sense to me, I probably have posted here about a lot of those things over the years. Change can be good of course, if communicated and shared properly and is seen to be agreed and supported.
Provided the change is based in valid and wide experiences, a sense of involvement with contributions from many different people, and with a good knowledge base change could be of benefit to the bass fishery.
But suggesting or even making change for change sake or because its a trendy topic to talk about or because it seems to appear to benefit economically then this of course is a different type of issue. There are many wider factors at stake that ultimately will support the fishery that are equally as viable and ‘economical’ often over a far longer period of time – these need to be considered in the mix.
Development of the bass fishery does not need a ‘slam dunk’ approach. We have all seen and experienced what this type of development means in this country, and what has that achieved? A change for change sake because it benefits through the perceived rationale of short term economics may in the longer term not prove to be beneficial to the resource at all – why shoot the goose if the goose can lay eggs for many years?