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.
2006 just after I wrote the article I began to lose heart.
- 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
- 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
- I was working on
contract and did not " need " the fishing business for
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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?
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
to fish, a true story