So there were a couple of interesting comments on the Board last week, one of which was in order for them to pay me 40 quid for a lesson I'd have to give a “hand job” and the other was I'd have to “swallow”. Which is quite delightful.
Before I delve into how I arrive at my rates (which are going up by the way because at 40 quid it's starting to feel like a “hand job”) let me tell you what we instructors think of people who can't cast competently – because you may be interested.
When I first became an instructor 10 years ago I would walk the banks of Ardliegh and wonder at the mentality of your average angler. Once you've been through the learning process it takes to analyse casting you can't help but analyse everyone you see. The general standard of casting is abysmal. Of course I never went up to anyone and said, “you're crap, why don't you get a lesson?”
Maybe I should… in fact from now on, whenever I see a crap caster I'm going to do this. I have the haircut to get away with it. And I'll video it and post it here on 'loops. So that should be entertaining. I'll start this week.
“Hey dude, you're crap, why don't you get a lesson? You'll catch more fish and have more fun!”
“I don't want to catch more fish and have more fun. Instead I'd rather spend more money on tackle in the knowledge that this won't make me a better angler. How much do you charge anyway?”
“Do you swallow?”
And at this point I will leap into the river.
So what is it, we wonder? Why is it that your crap caster will happily pay 60 pounds for a flyline but not 40 pounds for a lesson? Does he think that the flyline will solve his problems, more that one hour of professional instruction?
Evidently it's ego. “I don't need a lesson, old chap, I've been casting crap for thirty years, old boy. And I've been catching fish. Of course I'd catch more and have more fun if I wasn't so crap, but bugger me, that would mean getting a lesson. Couldn't do that: then he'd see me.”
Of course we get to see you anyway.
Personally I don't teach very many intermediates. I teach a few beginners, but not many and that's because I don't live in one place. Most of the guys I teach are competent casters, looking to improve. Which is probably not surprising since most of them have already had lessons.
I've had lessons. I've been taught by Henry Lowe and Peter MacKenzie Philps and I paid for those lessons. I've also had quite literally hundreds of instructors look at my cast and teach me things. I've been taught by Bill Gammel, Rick Hartman, Bruce Richards, Mel Krieger, Lefty Kreh, Gary Coxon (not much of course), Vic Knight and Donald Downs along with hundreds of others. And I have a very good friend, Jon Allen, who has an incredible eye for distance casting technique – mind you is a flycasting athlete himself. And of course Carlos has completely changed the way I teach.
Believe me, I've learned from every instructor I've ever spent time with. Still do. Always will.
And that's the pool of knowledge I bring to my lessons.
So anyway how do I arrive at 40 quid? When I first started teaching I charged 25 quid/hour. I wasn't very good, in fact, as Bruce put it last week, “I wish I could find some of those people and give them their money back!”
When I became AAPGAI I increased my rates to 30 quid/hr, minimum two hours. And here's a rub: almost every instructor has a minimum of two hours, otherwise it's not worth doing, not with travel and set-up time. However what I couldn't do in two hours previously, I find I can now do in one and so that's what I've started doing.
I made the jump to 40 because my peers such as Michael Evans and Gary Coxon were charging that and I didn't wish to appear cheap.
But I'm now jumping again, because I think my time is worth more. From now on if you want an hour of my life it's going to cost you 60 quid. Of course all this stuff on 'loops is free and if you want to play around learning here and there from the 7000 pages then great, but if you want the real thing drop me an email.
Otherwise just buy a new flyline. Who knows? Maybe that's the secret.