Disrespect is Getting Us Nowhere

Everett Johnson
In January of this year I attended a workshop at Harte Institute that was titled Challenges to Sharing and Conserving Our Bays. Participation was by invitation and approximately 100 people from various user and interest groups attended the two day event. I truly believe there was some good accomplished. What I found most heartening was the number of participants that said they'd prefer to see education before regulation as a remedy to resolving "user conflict" which is a nice name for bay rage.

Sharing and Conserving our Bays became reality mostly through the efforts of a group called Texas Wade Paddle & Pole who bill themselves as "A Community of Responsible Coastal Anglers."

Now like 'em or not Wade Paddle & Pole have a strict set of views on how we should all use the coastal resources. While most anglers would take little exception with WPP's basic position regarding the conservation of marine resources, a great majority would no doubt disagree with the methods they are encouraging we should all adopt to access shallow fishing areas, i.e. wade, paddle or pole careful with the outboard motors as they disturb fish making them tough to catch. WPP have not been bashful in requesting Texas Parks and Wildlife to consider the implementation of Low Impact Fishing Areas; see also No Motor Zones. I give them high marks for cleverness in the way they cloak No Motor Zones in a mantle of conservation.

WPP have been doing an outstanding job of influencing the right people that their way is best. In this case the "right people" would be those in positions to make regulations and laws. And while this is all going on through proper channels there is another angler group out there making their own powerful statements and influencing lots of opinion in their own way. I call these guys the Disrespectors. Spell Checker disapproves that name about the same as I disapprove their attitude and behavior on the water.

The Disrespectors do not discriminate, they disrespect everybody equally. Depending the type of boat they drive some Disrespectors are also known as Burners, meaning they burn up the flats looking for fish, barely stopping to fish, never with the first amount of concern for others fishing there. There are also Horners. As their name implies these guys are never bashful about horning in on the action. Any of these clowns will drive through your drift, cut your wade, run too close when you are fishing at anchor, and a bunch of other obnoxious things. They are also known to be rude at boat launches and vulgar in front of women and children.

Not only are Disrespectors horribly selfish on the water, they are not very clever.
They haven't the first clue how they are playing right into the hands of folks whose main agenda is to tell the rest of us how we should share the bays. Luckily, they are a tiny minority, and I'm hoping if we all pitch in we can soon educate them in the error of their ways.