By Capt. Mike Myers
Each morning when I greet my clients, I introduce myself and then help them get on board my boat. Once I get them situated and comfortable, I then like to get to know a little bit about each one of them. The most important thing that I need to find out about them is their skill level — in other words, do they know how to fish? One of the things I have noticed over the years is that most men who aren’t experienced anglers won’t give up that fact. Women and kids are almost always open about their ability or inability to cast a line, but for some reason men seem to prefer to hide the fact that they’re not Bill Dance or Jose Wejebe (may he rest in peace).
When I have a backcountry trip booked with new clients (experienced or not), I almost always make my first stop a trout and ladyfish spot over an open grassflat. I love to start these trips out using soft plastics attached to quarter-ounce jigheads. A D.O.A. paddletail attached to a jighead is one of the easiest and most effective lures on earth, in my opinion. This lure also very quickly gives me a view of each person’s ability to cast a line. If their lure lands 5 feet from the boat — or in the boat — then I know some teaching will be in store for that person. If they cast their lure and retrieve it like a pro, well then, it’s off to the backcountry we go. My reasoning for this tactic is simple: I don’t want to get people on a school of redfish and then learn they have no idea how to cast as the school bolts away. I also don’t want to be pulling hooks out of the mangroves all day. I don’t mind people squirrel fishing on occasion, but it doesn’t take many hooked trees to make a client upset. I love teaching people how to fish, and teaching them to cast with better accuracy will make their trip with me more enjoyable. It will also make them better anglers in the long run.
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