A handful of true professionals in kayak fishing really get it. I call them professionals because of how they act and what they represent. Some make some change on the side, others get some gear and discounts but regardless of official titles, these folks really get it.
I’m not going to name names because frankly, most of them don’t want the attention. They weave in and out of helping people with information and gear tips and advice through private messages, phone calls and emails. I call them The Good Ones.
What I will tell you is what they do that sets them apart.
Telling the Truth. All of it.
The Good Ones are happy to answer questions but unlike other representatives, they pepper it with all of the things you should know. They are quick to point out things that are being improved upon because striving for better is in their DNA. They want to make sure you get the whole picture and not just the starry glitter-filled picture most sales folks push at you. If you want to know, ask. Just be prepared for the answer. Sometimes a 24” wide kayak is not the best option for a guy weighing over 300 pounds. Regardless of the hype.
Finding the Fit
The Good Ones want to make sure that what you think is the perfect item for you is actually that. They won’t just say “Yep, that’s perfect for you”. They will recommend you go try it out. They usually will offer you theirs to try out and make sure it’s the right fit. If you are too far away, usually they can point you to someone who can help you make sure the fit is right. The sale isn’t as important as getting it right.
The Good Ones don’t care what you paddle. Whether you fish in their kayak of choice or a $200 special, the important thing is that you are enjoying kayak fishing. Inviting people of all financial backgrounds, experiences and sexes to enjoy the sport is what makes our community great. The Good Ones find it more important to grow the community than to grow a brand.
Safety is Key
The Good Ones understand how vital the safety message is. They preach it, practice it and promote it. They know that if a newcomer sees them not practicing safety it can be a detriment to the community and maybe even cost a life down the road. Staying safe and keeping others that way is always in the forefront of their mind.
Having the Ability to Say No Thank You
When you are a Good One, companies take notice. The Good Ones have figured out how to balance excitement and reality. If you are promoting for 25 different companies, you can’t do them a good job. These professionals of kayak fishing have that figured out. A handful of companies is more than plenty and breeds a more meaningful relationship with the company. Those relationships allow collaboration which in turn yields better products for us to all use and enjoy. Saying no to offers is hard but it often yields a much better fruit.
If you know a Good One, message them and tell them thanks. They would never ask for it but really deserve it. I’m going to go send some messages now.