Monday, August 25, 2014

Fishing Etiquette 101 - Distance Between Boats

Bow Narrows angler Troy Downs' shirt says it all
If there is one beef about other anglers that we hear from our guests, it is that someone else crowded-in on them while they were fishing.
Last week a man and woman fishing in one of our camp boats had just caught and released a nice walleye when suddenly one of the Fall Walleye Classic boats "pre-fishing" before next weekend's tournament roared right up alongside. Although such boorish behaviour is legal during the tournament (you just can't hit the other boat), it is a thoughtless, obnoxious act when it is perpetrated upon someone who is just fishing for recreation two weeks before the tournament.
Two years ago I was nearly swamped by a tournament pre-fishing boat as it did donuts at low speed around me. The boat's five occupants had their eyes glued to multiple fish-finders to see if I had revealed to them some secret honey-hole. They cared nothing about the huge wake they created or that me and my dog, Sam, were holding on for our lives.
Just like the couple, I fired up my motor and headed back to camp. This isn't what fishing is supposed to be about. I am not always so easy-going.
Once I was fishing by myself on a still evening and could hear a boat coming far off in the distance as it crossed a large bay. Eventually I heard it enter the narrows and finally turn into the long bay where I was floating, jigging quietly for walleye.  Mine was the only boat in the entire mile-long bay. The boat, which was from another camp, had two occupants. It had nearly gone by my location when I was obviously spotted. It did a 90-degree turn and, to my astonishment, stopped 15 yards away. The two anglers had just commenced to fish when I switched to a large red-and-white spoon and cast right into the middle of their boat.
"Are you nuts?" one of the red-faced anglers asked.
"Sorry. I'm just not good at SHORT casts," I thundered.
They left.
Obviously, they were driving around the lake looking for someone to fish beside, the same as the pre-fishing tournament boats did to me and to the couple.
This is rude, unacceptable behaviour.
Fishing is a meditative, spiritual exercise for most anglers. They like to be left alone. We should all respect that.
I have been asking our anglers this summer what they think the minimum distance between boats should be. The answer is 50 yards unless the other boat's occupants are someone you know.
 I would agree with a couple of caveats: unique fishing spots such as below a rapids can't be claimed by just one boat; and, during the exact day of a tournament, it is unrealistic to expect tournament anglers fishing for money to respect anything else.


Anonymous said...

Sorry you even needed to write this article. One of the first things I was taught was common courtesy

Bruce Pierce said...

Same thing happened to us one day over by Muskrat Bay. We always fished it at least twice/day. One afternoon, boat comes over....Guy and his teenage son, from another camp. Kid says; "doing any good"?
"Just got here" was my reply. Kid...."we caught a real nice Pike in here about an hour ago", and with that they commenced fishing....not 10-15' away. I was super HOT. Put on my HUGE daredevil (affectionately called The Frying Pan and started casting right at their boat! I actually wanted to ram them....but Tim talked me out of it! We don't drive 1000 miles to fish in Canada to share spots with Strangers....and Rude strangers at that! I like your approach as well Dan!!

Anonymous said...

I too have experienced this rude behavior from guests at another camp. I won't mention the name of said camp. It has happened in more than one location too. I usually try to ignore them. If they speak, I don't answer. Sometimes they get the hint but most times just drop anchor and commence to fishing almost right on top of you. Such a big lake with plenty of places to fish. If I go to an area and there is someone fishing, I just leave and go back at another time. Like Anonymous said, common courtesy.
Dave M.