This week I want to talk about a topic that strikes close to home with me – fishing etiquette. I don’t know if I am just a big stickler when it comes to fishing etiquette and etiquette in general, or that the experiences I’ve had have just been so egregious that most people would agree. Considering the fact that my “experiences” were perpetrated in part by fellow fishermen and or outdoorsmen – I’m inclined to agree that some people are just oblivious and ya just can’t do anything about it.
We’ll start off simple. If you’re going on an outdoor adventure I think it’s reasonable to assume that most people you’ll encounter should have general knowledge of how to behave while in and around other people enjoying the very same outdoors. For instance, when you go bowling, you don’t have to be a professional bowler to know that if the person next to you is about to bowl you wait for them to finish up before you take your turn. I suppose there are usually a few, less than intelligent people at a bowling alley that are there for the booze and could care less if you’ve just thrown 4 strikes in a row and are looking for number 5. But that’s the type of people you are going to run into at a bowling alley and you go in with your eyes open, knowing there’s going to be a few drunkies. When you’re out on the lake you’re not expecting that someone come strolling through the woods, and pull up only feet from you to drain the dragon. Not only is it bad social practice to pee near others, everyone knows you should pee at least 150 feet from a water source.
Let me paint you a little picture. You and a couple of friends head out to the lake. It’s a beautiful day in early spring and people are starting to shed their winter coats and get out on the lake. Guys are wearing their beaters to try and get that first of the year sunburn. And girls are breaking out the skirts (and the majority of those out on a lake have no business being in skirts). In any event, you find your favorite spot on the lake. This particular spot necks down to about 30 yards across before opening back up into a shallow pond covered in lily pads - so many lily pads that one could not navigate a small boat or canoe through the pads and the vast majority of it is barely knee deep. It would be fair to say that you and your friends are fishing at the mouth of a dead end and the lily pads can be seen clearly from the “main road.” You guys are the lazy type of fisherman and bring a bucket of live bait, chairs, and sunflower seeds and set up camp. Then, hour after hour, boaters, canoers, and young couples on paddleboats come aggravatingly close to you in an attempt to navigate the lily pad dead end. These people get right in front of you, so close that they can, and will ask you to take their picture as they hand you their digital camera without even straining to lean out of the boat. Once they realize they can’t get anywhere they pull the ole 180 right across your line and bobber. You watch as your poor shiner gets caught up in the ferry-like paddle wheel. Laughter soon turns to tears as your drag starts squealing and you realize that you’re losing all of your line and you didn’t stop at the bait shop to pick up more because you had an entire spool. The oblivious couple keep on cruising, unaware that they’ve prematurely ended your day, and only narrowly escaped you diving into the water to physically remove the pimply duo from their paddle boat. Alright, so maybe I embellished a little bit, but it’s only because I’m trying to make a point (and because well… it’s kind of my style).
Admittedly, I haven’t really discussed any solutions to fixing this problem that seems to be plaguing my favorite lakes. Shy of casting a case of bullet weights at them, I can’t really seem to come up with any solutions other than ridiculous ones that could never be implemented. So this week’s question to the readers is a two-parter: 1) what’s your best story involving fishing etiquette (or lack thereof), 2) and do you have any solutions for ending this unfortunate behavior? Until then – I’ll be petitioning the state to allow me to carry scud missiles and hand grenades while fishing in order to systematically remove these absent minded people from society. But since they denied my application to mount a turret on my car, I doubt I’ll have carte-blanche over the local lakes any time soon.
Until next time,