Fishing Etiquette 101

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The other day I had the chance to take two of my sons fishing. I discovered that one of the local ponds had been stocked the day before with approximately 2200 rainbow trout. All between the 10-12″ range. Some even trophy size meaning 12″ and above. Needless to say I wasn’t the only one to hear of the stocking. Every local fisherman in the metro area must have been there. It was a complete zoo along the banks of West Salish Pond. Furthermore, I am not sure that any one of them knew anything about proper fishing etiquette.

Since becoming an avid fisherman a few years back, the 1st thing my fishing buddy and best friend taught me was the rules of the water. I can still hear his words ringing so clear to me. “If you don’t learn the do’s and the don’ts of courtesy around here, it won’t take long before one of these guys kick your rear straight into the river”. Since then I took special notice of what they were doing, and NOT doing.

As I watched all these seasoned vets fish the water, one thing was clear. They were all fishing with a sense of unity among each other. One of the most important things I noticed was how you cast. When another guy or group of guys is in the middle of the drift, you don’t just cast your line out there over the top of them. You gotta wait your turn to get into the water. When you cast over someone, it doesn’t take much to get tangled up. Depending on how many lines you cross, it can become a mess real quick.

Which takes me back to my situation at the pond where my boys and I were fishing. I had my line, and my two boys’ lines out there sitting about 2-3 feet apart. Along comes another fisherman, whips his stuff out there, and SPLASH! right over all 3 of our lines. Within minutes, when we began to check our line/bait etc…I noticed all 4 poles starting to bounce like we had bites. Not the case. What we had was 4 lines all pulled together due to 1 bad cast that went unchecked and uncared for.

Guys we all have our reasons for going fishing. Food, relaxation, fun, teaching, or just for the sport. At the top of my list is FUN and SPORT. How much fun can it be when you’re having to reel in your line and untangle all day? Don’t get me wrong, not every cast is going to go where you want it too. But when your cast does get away from you…fix it. It makes it more pleasant and easy to fix early, rather than later after you have tangled up with everyone else.

As my day went on, it ended up getting more and more frustrating as the same guy continued to cast wherever, and we had to adjust where and how to fish around him. Ever try fish yourself, for the guy next to you, and 2 other little ones??? UGH! After about 1 hour (if that) I couldn’t take it anymore and threw in the towel, “Boys, let’s pack up, we will try again another time”. And so ended our day of fishing.

It’s my hope that maybe this will remind us to be courteous to other fisherman, and to follow some simple guidelines when fishing. Here are some friendly reminders to think of…

1. Watch where you are casting. If you have a bad cast, bring it back and do it again.

2. Yield to the space of the guy next to you (Unless combat fishing, that’s another article). There’s plenty of space for everyone.

3. Watch for crowding of another ones fishing area when they are getting bites. If your neighbor is getting bites, chances are you will too.

4. Make friends. Have fun with one another, get to know who’s next to you. You will find a lot of knowledge with other fishermen. Getting to know them and their techniques will increase your chances of catching fish.

5. Try and make room for the little ones. Be polite to someone trying to get their kids into fishing. The only way to keep a kid’s attention on fishing is for him/her to be catching, not fighting with the person next to them.

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