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I am fortunate I get paid to take people out on fishing
adventures. I have been
guiding now for 10 years and have been blessed with continued growth.
However this past year has really opened my eyes to the toll
crude oil prices have taken on my business.
My bookings are down for the first time since I began.
At first I was perplexed about this, I thought maybe I wasn’t
providing what people were looking for or worst, maybe I was no good.
So I set out to discover what the problem was.
I began asking anglers every chance I got how much time on the
water they were spending this year vs. last year.
“No I am not on the water as much this year” was the typical
reply. The reasons varied
but at least 50% of those I polled told me it was due to gas prices and
tackle expenses. However
this still did not answer my question of why my bookings were down.
So I called some past clients, who had booked with me multiple
times, to poll them. My
basic question was simple, “Are you going on any guided fishing trips
this year?” To my surprise
around 50% of them said no. They
could not afford the luxury because rising gas prices had taken away
their extra income. It
had finally set in with me. On
one hand I was happy that it was not my ability but on the other hand I
was sad at the reality of the lost business.
You see I have really never had to budget for fishing because
that is what I do for a living but now I was going to have to start
watching what I spent on tackle, tournaments, gas, etc...
The question is; Do you have a budget?
Are you watching what you are spending on fishing.
The average fisherman spends annually about $1200 a year on
fishing related items. If
you are a tournament angler and you fish a local trail around your house
you are probably spending 5 times that a year (entry fees, hotels,
dinner, boat expenses, etc...). Now
couple that with gas prices that have climbed a dollar a gallon over the
past year and you just developed a recipe for disaster.
With the recent admission by some anglers on the BASS Elite Trail
about going broke to chase a life long dream it makes me wonder where
are peoples priorities. Don’t
get me wrong. I have the
same dreams and aspirations as most tournament anglers.
There is not much that would make me happier then to stand on a
stage and be crowned the next Bassmaster Classic Champion.
However the reality is I have bills to pay and the last time I
checked the banks and credit unions could care less if I am chasing a
dream they just want their money. So
do you have a budget or are you putting yourself further in debt.
If you have budgeted then my hats off to you if you are not
budgeting your fishing then maybe its time you take a look at what cost
are you willing to play the game. Food
for thought. Good Luck out
there and God Bless.