Panama: Professional DevelopmentJuly 18, 2012
Before joining West Coast Fishing Club in Panama, I worked as a fisheries conservation guy. I was a policy analyst, learning what goes into making policy and formulating scientific endeavor. On the Provider my title has changed a bit. I now have a business card that reads “General Manager.” Upon taking a new job, there is always a learning curve and being open to new experience seems as useful as it is necessary. Truth be told, coming into it I was not exactly sure what all being a general manager entailed. I figured it would be some combination of managing generally and generally managing. I have learned quite a bit in the past three months and it seems to be going well, after all, we have yet to come across anything that was generally unmanageable.
Professional development comes in many forms. If you want to learn to be a baseball player, you might talk to Derek Jeter. If you wanted to learn to be an economist, you might search out Allen Greenspan. If you want to learn to be a general manager, the logic follows that you might call a general manager and talk with him.
Here at West Coast Fishing Club in Panama, we don’t do anything half way. We not only found a general manager, we have invited him to stay aboard the Pacific Provider and fish with us for five days. Mike Gillis, General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks, and his son Spencer have been down wearing out the tuna and dorado. They leave behind them a wake of sore-mouthed sailfish. The tuna and dorado have been as hospitable as can be, even if their form of hospitality is the attempt to destroy drag washers and the internal components of fishing reels and make anglers feel like they have gone a couple rounds with Manny Pacquiao.
Mike is a very nice guy and a capable conversationalist. After a career in the NHL as a player, he practiced law before returning to hockey for a role in the front office. He has experienced quite a bit and caught his share of fish in the process. From fly fishing on the flats in the Bahamas to elk hunting in Canada, Mike is a well-rounded outdoorsman. It is always good to fish with people who like to fish.
Brian and Dyane Legge joined Mike and Spencer for the trip. We fished two boats and have had quite a time. Mike and Spencer fished aboard the Sula Sula with Captain Jose Gongora and Mate Andres Mosquera. I was second mate, ready to sling poppers, wire sailfish, gaff tuna, and talk fishing. Mike and Spencer put on a show.
Mike and Spencer caught the following: three sailfish up to 110 pounds, more yellowfin tuna than you can count—the biggest were 140 and 118, dorado to 40 pounds, a 30 pound roosterfish, a 50 pound cubera snapper, several sharks, and quite a few others. We raised two marlin, one came swimming through the live baits yesterday without biting and one that mashed the teaser today, but wouldn’t switch to the bait with the hook in it.
Spencer is a really cool guy. He is heading to college next year and we’ve done our best to hook up his dorm room. In addition to some West Coast Fishing Club gear, he’s taking home the circle hook and frayed leader that boated his 100 pound sailfish. The dorado will be glad to see him go, he caught a bunch of them and some really good ones.
Mike proved himself to be pretty astute with the rod himself. In addition to whacking a 40 pound yellowfin on a popper, he spent two hours and 10 minutes in the chair with a beast of a tuna that ate a live football yellowfin. This introduction to fishing in Panama is the kind of thing that makes you wake up sore the next day and keeps you outfitted with stories. It was a good time and we were excited to have them aboard.
If Mike Gillis is any indication a General Manager needs to: enjoy fishing, be capable on the rod, and possess a thoughtful, friendly outlook. This is professional development, make no mistake about it. We managed to catch some quality fish and we generally had a great time doing it. I think I like this whole career change thing…