Updated
2006-12-30

Swedish version

  

Paid to fish - A True Story continued

  A year ago I posed a slightly tongue in cheek question,

"Have you ever wondered what life would be like if instead of working to pay for your fishing, you were paid to fish?"

  I conducted a self - audit, chucked the lucrative " career" and with the moral and financial support of my absolutely non-fishing wife Linda I went for it.

  With my son I created Tweed Guide and www.tweedguide.com
in the Scottish Borders attempting to transform an occasional pursuit into a business.

  I did not know what to expect but after another year as we enter 2007, and following over 50 emails from across the world in response to my confessions in the last article, I thought it time to take stock and tell it how it is. Ditch the dirt, warts and all you know the kind of thing.

  First of all it is not what I expected and once you are in your 50s I guess anything that stops you being predictable has a positive side.
But there have been darker days.

  In January 2006 just after I wrote the article I began to lose heart.

  Negatives

  • I was losing money, or rather investing more than I was making
  • I was seeing little evidence of real demand to justify endless hours of effort
  • My 20 year old son and co-founder could not see a future in the business and decided to return to full time study

  Positives

  • I had received encouraging feedback from readers and guests
  • I had met a fellow fishing nut, Ron McCombe who wanted to become involved in Tweed Guide
  • I was working on contract and did not " need " the fishing business for income

  Decision

  Well this is where I have to make my confessions. My pride had been a little wounded and I also began to receive a little opposition and mockery of the, " who the hell do you think you are you anyway," variety. It is a natural part of rural life and I would have it no other way.

  I received local comments varying from "Do you think you know better than other people to set up a fishing business?" at one end of the scale to " Anybody could do that" at the other.
The telling " Ye dinna seem very busy to me" jibs began to wear on me. After all I had gone into this to recreate a better life not to take even more hassle.

  First I need to thank the critics. They made me think long and hard to see where they were coming from and to answer their comments with action and changes. The best thing about critics is that they can be right.

  Second Big Ron McCombe's enthusiasm was essential.

  Action

  Big changes were to follow. It may have been a little crazy but attack seemed the best form of defence.
So what did we decide to do?
In summary the answer was simple.
Up the ante, invest more, add salmon fishing to the range, engage a number of top local anglers and instructors on a self employed basis, contact a significant number of accommodation providers as potential non financial partners, try every advertising medium and see what happens, visit the USA to learn a little of the guiding market and much much more.

A year ago I wrote.

"For another group of people, the fishing professionals, of course angling is their life and paymaster. They have frequently sacrificed wealth, and usually security, in order to live as they do. Never underestimate them or the issues that their career brings for family and life style. "

End of 2006 summary

Of course on reflection, that is what I decided to do, become a little more professional.

Our web site says it all and it should, I never spend less than 20 hours a week honing the site and answering emails and I also work full time!

Tweed Guide
Wild brown trout grayling and salmon fly fishing on the Tweed

  • A hassle-free fly fishing package, instruction, all equipment and guide provided
  • One click or call and we do it all to guarantee a fun filled and relaxing day
  • We can arrange collection from and return to Edinburgh
  • Hotel, bed and breakfast and self catering information advice and packages

Tweed Guide - a complete fly fishing package for wild brown trout, grayling and salmon on the River Tweed in the beautiful Scottish Borders.

Waders to rod, and permit to fly, we do it all.

An hour from Edinburgh (30 minutes more from Glasgow) the world famous Tweed, a hundred miles of unspoilt fly fishing. Tweed Guide - a customised experience by Melrose, Kelso, Galashiels and Selkirk, a wealth of local knowledge Tweed Guide caters for the fishing demands of individuals. groups of friends, family and corporate parties for salmon. trout and grayling.

Beginner or expert you can select a Complete Guide Package that suits your specific needs, a Salmon Day Package or a 3 hour or 6 hour trout/grayling session.

Learn this new hobby or revisit this great sport. Accommodation information based on recommendations from our guests is one of our strengths. We have helped visitors from throughout the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Southern Africa to enjoy an experience which exceeds high expectations

This is a very different picture from a year ago. The rewards are very different to my musings of late 2005. I have fished in places where I never fished. I have been entrusted with the use of private trout water as our reputation grows. Our customers number hundreds now and many are more than guests. They are brothers and sisters (women make up a third of our USA trade) of the angle who have an increased love of the Tweed at least in part because of everyone involved in Tweed Guide.

Ron always tells me to stick to the bull while he gets on with the fishing but the following blurb from the site is sincere.

The Tweed - a river you deserve

Sometimes you want to experience a real river where no one will hurry you, the scenery is outstanding and the fish are plentiful. Easy wading or somewhat more challenging, small tributary or main river. The Tweed has it all.

362 days a year we live the Tweed and we have fishers out at least one day in three.
It is less being paid to fish than being paid to help others share the Tweed.

I love it but who knows what 2007 will bring? I must get a little more time for living. Maybe I will even have a little more time for fishing?

Bill Drew lives near Edinburgh and fishes on the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders. He works as a Project Manager and has acted as a guide since 1999 before establishing Tweed Guide at the beginning of 2005. www.tweedguide.com Contact Bill at

Read initial story: Paid to fish, a true story

 

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© Mats Sjöstrand 2006

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