A recent thread over on the lure fishing section of World Sea Fishing has got me thinking a bit about the whole "working in fishing" thing. I do what I do in fishing. What I do isn't particularly special or noteworthy, but I love what I do, and I am keeping my head above water and looking after my family by doing so. And I can't believe that there is anything more important than family. I go about my working life trying to be the best that I can be, and I have learnt the heard way how to understand the difference between work and play/fishing and business.
But from time to time I go get emails and questions about how to go about working in fishing. I reply when I can, and of course I speak to anybody who is kind enough to come up to me and yap about fishing. Why wouldn't I ? If my business were to fall about my ears tomorrow, I'll still go fishing. First and foremost I will always be an angler. But I usually feel somewhat inadequate in trying to give help and advice about trying to work in fishing, because what I do myself in fishing is not exactly "common", and as a result, I am not sure how to advise going down the path I have chosen. Indeed, there have to be far better ways to go about working in fishing than what I have done, and who is to say that I have got it anywhere close to being "right" ?
The fishing industry in this country needs more and more young, talented and enthusiastic people coming into it. The recreational fishing industry is a business, make no mistake, but it needs new talent, new ideas and new opinions all the time. I get the impression that a lot of talented people out there (men and women) look at the recreational fishing industry and think that it's a closed shop. But it isn't. If it was, how on earth would people like me be doing what I do ? New blood is vital to the ongoing future of recreational fishing. Granted, it is always important that the business of fishing is frequented by lots of people who actually have a sounds business background, for it is a business after all. The problem is though that a lot of these business people don't actually know much about grass roots fishing. Hence the need for a mix of business and passionate fishing people. Any business such as fishing needs those people who are what I would call "creative" or "on the edge" or "free thinkers". The hard part is that to get into fishing under these categories often take a huge leap of faith and all amounts of guts and determination. Working in fishing is more than possible, but never for one second presume it is all going to come and land in your lap. I know of no other way than to go out and get it.
Can you do this ? You are the only person who can answer that. If you are happy to take "no" for an answer and then move on, don't even bother. But if the word "no" gets you even more determined and full of drive, then you are on the right track. The word "no" drives me mad. I bet there are a load of people in fishing who have had quite enough of me trying to metaphorically bash down their doors over the years, but I just don't like to give up when I have absolute faith in something I am trying to do. I don't mind being proved wrong, and I hope I have learnt a degree of humility as I have got older, but one thing you will need to work in fishing is a skin as thick as an elephant. If you reckon you can do it, then go for it. If you have the guts and the ability to take a gamble, then take that gamble. There are plenty of people in fishing who took a gamble, and I would hope that these same people are able to recognise what they did, and also recognise that there are other people out there trying to take a gamble as well. It's part of the future of fishing.
I would guess that virtually all anglers who started working in fishing began by thinking that "wow, this is it, I'm going fishing for the rest of my life, and somebody is going to pay me for this". I did. For about ten minutes. I very quickly realised that the only way to get any work was by creating it for myself. Whilst I would encourage you to have a go at working in fishing if that is your undying passion, what I can not do is advise on what you might try doing. That's up to you. If you reckon you can do it, then why not ? But if the idea of never having a guaranteed pay cheque at the end of the month scares the life out of you, then whatever you do, don't go freelance. All self-employed people out there I am sure know all about "the fear"...........