Things I’ve learned about the real estate business from fishermen

Here is an article I wrote about two years ago which was originally published in SOLD. Magazine.  I thought it was worth publishing here, as I believe the comparisons are still as relevant as they were way back when I wrote it!

Old Fishermen Never Lie (Or the Things I’ve learned about the Real Estate from fishermen)

Skills can be developed; opportunities come our way; circumstances change. The message from people who fish – old & young, men & women – remains pretty much the same: It is a pursuit all can enjoy – if you have the right gear and the right approach, a fishing trip can be just what the doctor ordered!

Spend time in a boat with a fisherman and you are bound to get some advice. I’ve spent some time on the Manning, Hastings, Clarence and Richmond Rivers over the years – and some of the advice the old fishermen along the New South Wales coast dispense can easily be applied to the real estate business. They’ve got a lot to say about life, or business, or the universe, when they’re telling you about fishing.

Fishing is a recreational pursuit for many Australians. It is the largest participation sport in the country.  My Dad loves fishing and he’s passed that on. He knows a bit about it, and has dispensed his own advice about how to catch particular fish over the years. He used to beach fish, but doesn’t any more. He would rarely go “black fishing” when we were kids – but likes to now. We used to go fishing on the river bank – but now he’s got a boat. He likes to catch flathead, whiting and bream, but won’t eat them.  He knows what bait to use; where to get the bait (live or not); and knows where the “fish are biting” (even if they’re not, he reckons he does!).

Applying the same principles to the real estate game, a good fisherman can catch whatever they are fishing for. If they have the skills (or know where to get them); if they can apply the knowledge; if they have the right gear (or know where to get it); then it’s likely they’ll eat a hearty meal of good sized fish – as regularly as they like
The parallels are yours to draw. See how the lessons of fishermen apply to the real estate industry.

You really need to know what you’re fishing for:

a.     whatever you’re fishing for, you need to know what it is
b.     what it likes to eat
c.      when it’s likely to be around
d.     what will make it come out of the water for you

Decide on the right location for the fish you’re after
a.     deep sea, lake, beach, surf
b.     river mouth, mountain stream, fresh water, salt water
c.      boat or shore

Have the right bait
a.     know what the fish you’re after like to eat
b.     flies, live bait, fresh bait, frozen bait, smelly bait
c.      is burly needed?
d.     make sure the bait is secure on the hook

Have the right gear
a.     rod, reel, handline, net, trap
b.     hooks, sinkers, floats
c.      dress for the conditions (& recognise that they might change)
d.     waders, hat, “aeroguard”, chair
e.     have a tackle-box that’s full of options for changing conditions

Sometimes the gear gets tangled – know how to sort it out
a.     The line can get tangled when pulling ‘em in
b.     Be careful when landing the fish, that the line is out of the way
c.      Use a net if you have to, to land them

Sometimes, you’ll hit a snag – know how to deal with it
a.     Hazards are everywhere (rocks on the bottom, floating debris, seaweed, etc) – keep an eye out for them; avoid them if you can
b.     Have a contingency plan and supplementary equipment – in case you have to cut the line & lose some gear

Don’t jag the line at the first feel of a bite
a.     Fish can take your bait, but not the hook
b.     Be patient and let the fish swallow the bait (& the hook)
c.      Different fish take the bait in different ways – some “strike & run”, others “suck it & see”
d.     Make sure the fish is hooked, before you reel it in – or you might lose the bait, your hook & the fish

Know the habits of the fish
a.     Have an idea where the fish you’re looking for might be
b.     “Big Game” fish won’t be found upstream
c.      Fresh Water cod won’t be caught off the beach
d.     What bait they’ll swallow usually depends on what they like to eat

Know the tides
a.     It affects when the fish will bite
b.     It affects what gear you might use
c.      It impacts on the success of your trip
d.     It can affect whether you get home!

Keep an eye on the sky
a.     The weather can change quite quickly
b.     That can impact on your capacity to catch the fish you’re after

Big fish are harder to catch than small ones, but you get a bigger meal
a.     “Small fish are sweeter” – but they take more bait, more time, more effort, have little bones (which can cause problems for you)
b.     When it comes to fish, size does matter!
c.      A big trout is better than a small one!

Don’t go after bream on a full moon
a.     You won’t catch them – they’ll see you see them and go away
b.     Small brains they might have, but they still know to run from a predator

Bag/size limits are important
a.     Ensure there’s a sustainable future for the activity you enjoy so much
b.     Leaving the little ones in the water for a while longer, means they‘ll grow up into bigger ones for later
c.      “There’s plenty of fish in the sea” – being selective about what you catch can be an important distinction between the professional and the amateur

Don’t make too much noise; you’ll scare the fish away.
a.     It’s quiet in (and on) the water – keep it that way
b.     Let the bait & the gear do the talking

Be patient
a.     That’s part of the exercise
b.     Relax, wait, “chill”
c.      Good things come to those who wait!
d.     Enjoy the experience anyway – full bag or not, enjoy the fishing!

Skills can be developed; opportunities come our way; circumstances change. The message from people who fish – old & young, men & women – remains pretty much the same: It is a pursuit all can enjoy – if you have the right gear and the right approach, a fishing trip can be just what the doctor ordered!