A Simple Word “Courtesy”

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It’s not life of death it’s only fishing…

Anytime several anglers get together the possibility of sharing fishing and adventure stories results in endless hours of quality companionship often developing into lasting friendships. However, pressure to catch fish, inexperience, and overcrowding can and does increase tensions among professional and recreational anglers often undermining what otherwise should be a relaxing fishing trip.

Everyone is guilty! It’s called our tempers and unless you’re an extremely patient person, on daily doses of Valium, you’re likely to lose yours at some time or another. Although not deliberately we’ve all done it, unintentionally cut someone off, take a little too long getting our boat into or out of the water, or getting a little too close to another angler. And when we do, we get that all familiar “hey you idiot” stare or an oratory of verbal batter including profanity regardless of who is near. When this occurs it’s often difficult to maintain a non-confrontational attitude especially when someone’s calling you every name in the book and your nine year daughter and wife are with you.

It’s to your emotional and occasionally physical advantage to ignore further attempts at provocation. In today’s world you’re never sure who you’re dealing with, their mental and emotional capacity or ability to comprehend everyday logic. Just wait till their finished, say you’re sorry and continue your day.

Whenever you engage the situation, more times than not, you will lose your composure, become emotionally involved and give the other person total control of your emotional state. When actions and tempers flair the possibilities exist for that situation to escalate often to a point of physical confrontation. Whenever this happens… no one wins. Always remember… “Never give them control”

Be Courteous: Courteousness is necessary both personally and professionally especially since custom and practice play a major role in our everyday social life. These unwritten ways help govern our behavior and conduct as we relate to others. It is this framework that guides our interactions and offers a road map enabling us to avoid uncomfortable and embarrassing situations. A French essayist de Montaigne once quoted. “Courtesy is a science of the highest importance. It’s opening a door that we may derive instruction from the example of others, and at the same time it enables us to benefit by our example“. If there be anything in our character worthy of imitation… let it be Courtesy.”

Common Sense on the other hand is what the world refers to as wisdom, requires little education, but does require the ability to think and reason. Common sense combined with everyday courteousness makes our lives much brighter and more fun.

There’s plenty of water and places to fish. So, if someone’s in the spot you wanted to fish just move on to another one. We’ve all been there traveling long distances to your favorite spot only to find someone sitting right where you wanted to fish. Well that’s the breaks, think positive and consider it an opportunity to find some new places.

However, if it’s absolutely imperative that you fish the same area (which it rarely is) remember to treat the situation like you would like to be treated. Come off plane early, keeping noise and wake to a minimum. When joining others already fishing an area drift, push pole or use your trolling motor to approach. Lower your anchor quietly or better yet… use your Power Pole “Shallow Water Anchor“.

Crowding other anglers, particularly when they’re catching fish is probably the number one source of irritation and arguments than any other fishing protocol violation. We should all understand we cannot expect to fish the most popular spots alone… especially on weekends or holidays. But what we should expect from other anglers is common sense, courtesy and consideration.

How close is to close?

I’m often asked how far is far enough away from another boat. Many times it depends on the area but here’s a rule of thumb that’s been around for years. Basically it’s around 100 yards or if your, longest cast will land within the casting range of another boat… “You’re too close“.

If someone is fishing and blocking the entrance to an area you want to fish… try giving them the courtesy of asking, “Which side they prefer you pass on”.

Fishing guides having limited time to produce for their clients may seem impersonal to certain situations. For most it’s not intentional they’re just busy doing what their clients hired them to do. This doesn’t mean guides have more rights than others and it doesn’t give them the right not to be courteous, not to use common sense or to fish certain areas. Granted they may spend extra time on the water finding fish but that’s all part of it. Just like you seeing them catching fish in a certain area they see you doing the same thing.

My Fishing Spot: Here’s something that to me really makes no sense at all. It’s this thing called “My Fishing Spot”. In my years of fishing I’ve never encountered a sign saying, “This spot belongs to Capt. Jim Redfish or Mr. John Snook.” Just because you caught fish there previously does not mean you own it. While you may have a favorite area believe me it’s far from being unknown especially when others see you catching fish.

In closing let me say that fishing is a great individual and family pastime offering a source of relaxation, entertainment, and most of all fun. Nothing will ruin the day more than getting upset with someone or having them upset with you. Be courteous, use common sense and think before you act. Don’t let an insignificant nothing turn a fishing trip into water rage… after all “It’s only fishing – not life or death”.

This article is owned by Capt. Woody Gore and is copyright protected. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by Capt. Gore. wgore@ix.netcom.com