The gods do not deduct from man’s allotted span the hours spent in fishing. ~Babylonian Proverb
If you have been following this blog the past week, then you know that my brother Don and I, along with two good fishing buddies, spent the week fishing for Striped Bass on Cape Cod. The first three days were pretty much rained out, along with high winds and monster surf. So, when I can’t really fish, I either head for a Martini or sit down at my laptop and post a blog. Okay, so I did both!
Beware the fisherman with too much time to think and not enough time to fish, for he can really dream up some crazy notions.
After spending a week with four different guides (and thinking back to my numerous other guided fishing trips), I couldn’t help but notice how the personality of the individual guides impacted not only the fishing experience, but the fishing itself. And the more I watched, the more I began to see a recurring pattern. I have classified their styles as either Projectors or Receptors.
To get a visual of what I mean by a “Projector” personality, think of a large movie projector that is constantly running, reel after reel after reel. It works, continuously. There doesn’t seem to be an “off” switch in sight! Not only is it noisy (notice how most movie theatres have the sound cranked way up?), but it creates a lot of heat as well. And that heat is transferable to others and when molecules get hot, they get agitated. Got the picture (and the analogy)?
Well, a guide with a “projector personality” seems to be always talking but rarely listening. It seems that the ear mechanism has shrunk and the excess energy has been moved over to the mouth. Not only don’t they listen, they don’t seem interested in understanding the particular expectations and desires of the client. They have their set patter, and their set pattern of where to fish, how to fish, and how long to fish. Like a continuous loop projector, they keep saying the same things over and over, going to the same spots over and over, and using the same techniques, over and over.
And they really don’t like it when a client tries to break the pattern. “The fish won’t go for that fly. That technique won’t work. Here, use one of my rods, it’s rigged up properly.” The day got longer and longer and we were only saved by the fact that the fishing was fabulous and we could tune out the noise and the endless criticisms in the background.
Contrast that with the guide with a “receptor personality”. To get an image of a receptor, think of a caricature of a person with giant ears and a small mouth.
“The good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth and expects us to use them in that proportion!” -a phrase I heard regularly from my mother
The “receptor” guide asked open-ended questions and listened intently, understanding the unique idiosyncracies of his clients. One was a left-hand caster, the other right-hand. One had fished salt water extensively, the other sporadically. Both were new to Cape Cod. On and on the questions came, not aggressively or excessively, but measured, as one would play a large fish so as not to lose it. After listening to our desires, concerns and expectations, the receptors built a game plan around us. We fished two days in solid rain and wind with a “receptor personality” guide, and had an excellent time. Even the wind seemed manageable as he worked with us to learn heavy wind casting techniques. And I dare say he was enjoying himself as well.
At the end of the trip, our group ranked the guides. To a person, the “projectors” came out on the bottom and the “receptors” on top, no matter what the fishing conditions.
As I reread this blog I can’t help but reflect on the fact that these two personality types show up in the executive boardroom and on senior management teams as well. And the experience for their employees is the same.
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress