Days on the Water: 2
Who we fished with: friends, clients
Where we fished: Upper Niagara, Lake Erie
What we were Targeting: Smallmouth Bass, Freshwater Drum
Tactics: ned rigs, worm harnesses, crawfish

Commentary

Thoughts on Balance

It’s been awhile since my last post – I’ve been spending time with family and friends. A little travel, fishing, and camping always helps bring the important stuff in life back into focus. I spent a lot of time thinking about what the optimal distribution of business would be across the calendar year to ensure a more balanced lifestyle (avoid burnout). I think I came up with an answer – better yet a practice that will help.

The short answer to the optimal distribution of business across the calendar year is to make money when you can – at least that’s what most charter captains would say. That’s not really an answer though. Up until recently, my focus was to execute every trip I possibly could. However, I bordered on burnout at the end of July and I NEVER want to feel that way again. By burnout I mean not wanting to go fishing – which is insanity. So, like I said – I NEVER want to end up there.

Aside from burnout, my ENTIRE consciousness is NOT focused on executing guided fishing trips. I have a family, a crew of close friends, and personal goals outside of the charter business – all requiring a significant allocation of my time so I can remain sane/centered. Balancing these priorities is hard – up until recently, the only way I’ve been able to navigate this (probably pretty poorly but I’m getting better) is by planning a year ahead. Then Covid-19 hit and disrupted the entire model – hence the borderline burnout/need to rebalance.

I Can’t be Alone

I’m sure I’m not the only one out there struggling to maintain balance. Family, friends, self, and work are areas nearly every adult spends some time focusing on. The optimal balance is likely different for everyone but I’m betting a ridiculously small number of people even think about what it would be. Instead, many folks bounce from crisis to crisis in these areas, which is a sure indicator their lives are out of balance. It kinda makes it hard to plan, or even think about the future, when you’re constantly putting out fires or just plain working your ass off all the time.

One of the many awesome things about being a charter captain is the exposure I get to a wide/diverse sample of the population (our clients). I could write countless essays/anecdotes of conversations I’ve had with people about their quality of life. Nearly every account would include a struggle with balance – most leaning toward an inordinate amount of time at work. I could fill a book with stories about folks bordering on retirement or newly retired who have no idea about what they want to do with their time because the overwhelming majority of their consciousness has been spent “working.” It’s a shame.

Now, due to our response to Covid-19, MANY people are working from home – maybe most. Think about that for a second. If continuing to operate this way isn’t a recipe for unbalance, I don’t know what is. If one works from home, when is one NOT working? Obviously, I’m not working from home, so I don’t know the answer to this question. If you’re working from home, do you know the answer? If not, it’s probably a worthwhile endeavor to figure it out.

Parting Shots

If you’ve fished with me before, or just talked to me about booking a trip, you know that I’m transparent – probably to a fault. Aside from the fact that it’s just plain easier to operate that way, I want anyone who ends up reading our content to understand that charter captains/fishing guides are small business owners who experience the same types of challenges faced by other small business owners– across all industries. Just like our colleagues in the small business community, finding balance is tough – but it can be done with a little planning. This is certainly NOT some deep insight – but this is what’s been floating though my head lately during my time off the water. Believe it or not, it’s possible to get fishing burn-out. If that can happen, what are the chances that those people OUTSIDE of the profession of spending a ton of time outside, meeting awesome people, and seeing awesome things, are in balance right now? Probably pretty low. No worries though – I know just the activity that’ll help set things right 😊 .

The Fishing Lately

Well, with that preface in mind, it’s likely obvious that I haven’t spent a ton of time on our local waters lately. Locally, I’ve remained bass focused, and that bite has continued to be strong. The fish are packing on weight – big bellies have been the norm – and that is only going to get better as the water continues to cool down. I spent last week in Colorado with my daughter and did a little camping trip with my family and friends this past weekend. In that short time, the water temperatures dropped nearly 5 degrees. The more those temps keep dropping – the more dynamic the fishery will become.

NextWeek

I have another sweet little endeavor set up for next week. Local forecasts are calling for more cool weather, which will likely increase the action as the water temperatures continue to fall. I’m betting a king or two will show up in the lower before the third week of September. We’ll be monitoring this near daily from the water.

Stay well my friends – mentally and physically,

Ryan