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The value of the right guide

May 10, 2023 | John Hershey III


John Hershey recalls his recent fishing trip and discusses the parallels between trusting his fishing guide and the relationship our team has with our clients

The value of the right guide

Recently I had the opportunity to realize one of my fishing dreams - pursuing the permit gamefish in Southern Mexico along the border of Belize.  Permit live in the western Atlantic and are oval in shape.  They range in size from a dinner plate to a turkey platter.  They have big eyes and black tip fins and are known for being unusually picky as to what flies they take.    

As I sat on the runway in Baltimore waiting for the flight to take off, I reviewed my instructional emails from the fishing lodge.  They had sent me a picture of the van I was supposed to get in and a picture of my driver.  Suddenly the safety issues that several people warned me of started to become more real.  They obviously were trying to make it more efficient, but also wanted to make sure I got in the right vehicle!  I very much appreciated that.  

The flight down to Cancun was easy and on time.  A young couple asked if I could switch seats so they could be together.  Wanting them to enjoy their couples vacation, I moved from row three to four not realizing I was losing six inches of leg room.  All in the name of romance, I settled in.   

My wife, Erin, was supposed to be with me but we had a fire at our house the day before - but that’s a whole ‘nother blog.  She was kind enough to stay behind and handle the insurance adjusters as I headed off on my adventure.    

We touched down in Mexico and the airport was crowded and very busy with Spring Break vacationers.  I made my way to the pickup area and met my driver and hopped in the van.  I joined three others, two from Canada and one from Michigan, who were lifelong friends. Traveling solo, they would soon become my friends for the week.  They all worked or were retired from the fishing industry in one form or another.  One commented he hadn’t caught a permit in four years of coming down and I realized I may be in over my head. 

We traveled down the Mexican coast stopping in Tulum for a quick break.  In all, it was a six hour van ride through increasingly desolate terrain.  The last couple of hours were through jungle-like conditions and my heart skipped a few beats as we passed through a Federales checkpoint complete with machine guns and no other cars around. 

Finally we arrived in Xcalak, a small village of 350-400 people with not one traffic signal in the town nor was there a medical facility or police station.  The locals bought their produce from a truck that arrived once a week.  The average wage was $8 a day and we heard the fishing guides were the highest paid in town.  

We pulled up to the Xflats Lodge, our home for the week.  A small compound on the shores of Caribbean Sea, it was everything I needed.  The few fisherman that were there settled in having a cold beverage and playing cornhole.  From a fishing perspective it was a special place with the Caribbean Sea as our “front yard” and Chetumal Bay as our “backyard”.   

After a good night’s sleep we met on the dock out front to board the Pangas, a small fishing boat.  Each boat has two guides which made for more efficiency and more fish!  

I started to parallel the relationship between a fishing guide and his client, and our team with our clients.  I like the team approach.  On my boat was the son who was captain and his father who was the first mate.  The son, Kissy, would stand up high and watch from a platform looking for shadows and flashes as he read the water.  He used his many years of expertise to move the odds in our favor.   Once a fish was sighted he would position the boat for the best possible cast and presentation.  Then it was up to me to roll out the fly to an area the size of a hula hoop to have a chance at the fish.  

The guide knew the whole area like the back of his hand.  He gave thoughtful consideration to the current and changing weather conditions, and the type of fly that might work best.  He did everything he could to put me in the best situation possible and ultimately it resulted in my first permit on a fly.  The father and son team were so excited they both jumped in the water with me for pictures.  Their expertise put me in the position to be successful.  I trusted Kissy and his father, and they delivered.  

We feel the trust granted in our business is paramount to our mutual success.  Initially it’s enough trust to start the process, but over the years it builds to a mutual friendship with enough trust and confidence to navigate the occasional downturns in the markets. 

Here at RBC, The Hershey Group wants to position you for success.  After a discussion about your life goals including your wants, wishes and dreams, we implement a plan to help you achieve them - one decision at a time. 

As a financial advisor I too like the team approach.  With Gerry, Laura, and now Cat on board we have the experience and expertise to serve a wide array of client needs.  We are not so much concerned with the wind direction and water color, but with economic conditions such as the ever-changing interest rate landscape and profit expectations of the companies we own.  We go to great lengths to study the different portfolio managers and assemble custom portfolios for our clients.    

Just like in fishing we can only control so much, but we do our analysis to set clients up to succeed and achieve their long term goals.  Whether it’s entering retirement, purchasing a home, or sending a child to college via a 529 plan, we love to share in your success.  In fact, we can’t wait to “jump in the water” and share in the celebration.  


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