We all have family and friends who we enjoy fishing with. They are those unique individuals who forgive us our shortcomings and we theirs, who dont get in the way and who do without being told or reminded the things that need doing. Theyre the ones who know which cleat to tie the anchor rope to, when to slip the anchor out, and how to do it quietly, without leaving a rusty smear on the gel-coat and rub-rail. They are fishermen and women who bring only what they need no more than two rods and reels and they are considerate of your equipment and, more especially, of you. These folks are a joy to spend a day with on the water. They speak when conversation is necessary and they are people who you would toss your boat keys to without giving it a second thought. They are usually the first to grab for a wallet to help pay for gas, ice and refreshments, they always pitch in to help clean the fish, wash the boat and flush the outboard before they head home.
Then there are the others.
Im talking about those individuals who are forever bugging you to take them fishing and who finally are able to trap you into having to take them.
They show up at your home or the dock later than late and then have to make four or five trips to their vehicle to get the ton of stuff they might need.
They bring equipment that wont work or that they dont know how to use and then ask if you have a spare reel just in case. Theyll jump in the boat, slamming the hull against the bulkhead at the ramp, youre your stuff around to make room for theirs and generally make you wish that you had slept in that morning.
Theyll never have the things that they really need for fishing. Their reels wont work right because they havent been maintained and the bearings are rusty and rough, and their hardware is likely a collection of tangled and rusty speck rigs.
They wont have a stringer or if they do the float will be missing. Their waders leak or were forgotten on the porch. If during warmer wet-wading months, the pair of wading booties they threw in the boat are both left feet.
They will offer up some lame excuse for not having brought anything for lunch or to drink, but will be happy to share anything and everything that you packed in the cooler for yourself. Most of the time theyll offer to buy half the bait, even though you dont use it just in case nothing is hitting hardware, theyll say. Theyll pout when told that your boat is not equipped with a live-well. When told they can purchase a Flo-Troll bucket at the bait camp for their shrimp, theyll decline saying that hardware is probably the best way to go so they dont have to buy anything.
Youll be forced to alter your plan of attack because your companion for the day will not have what is needed to wade a certain flat and youll more than likely have to anchor up or drift which is a rather drastic thing, considering the danger of being in the same boat with your non-casting visitor.
At some point during the excursion youll wonder how guides put up with all that they do, but then youll realize that they actually get paid for taking these folks fishing and are better prepared to handle all of the problems that occur on such trips. I think guides are well-advised to take some psychology courses these days.
Of course youll get all kinds of advice about where to go, what should be used once you get there and, how big the fish were that were caught there in the spring of 79. Youll learn that before you issue any commands, youll have to think and rethink what it is that you want done. You cant just say, Slip the anchor over the port bow lest you may be short one anchor due to it not being tied to a cleat. You also cant trust this fellow to tie the rope to a cleat either, so you may as well figure on doing all anchor duty on your own.
God help you should you actually hang a big fish while anchored or drifting that would ordinarily cause you to have to start the engine and follow the fish to gain lineno way can you allow your partner for the day to run your boat. Should something along the size of a small kayak start stripping line youd be well advised to thumb the spool and break it off rather than trust your boat and general well-being to your partnerless you find yourself on your back in the bottom of the boat, or even in the water after he has gone WOT from a dead stop.
A good captain however would take the time to point out all of the things that someone is doing wrong and try to help him or her to adjust. Education after all is what the person is lacking and perhaps if youd take the time to show them the error of their ways, theyd become conscientious fishermen who you can depend on and someone youd actually enjoy taking fishing. But then every time you show them how to do something and explain why, they simply ignore you and go back to doing it the way that they were.
But alas we all have to come to the conclusion that there are those who will never grasp the concept of saltwater fishing. They dont really care enough about the activity to want to learn and therefore are not going to give you their full attention. Oh theyll continue to want to go, not all of the time, just now and then when theyre bored and happen to hear that youre going fishing. About all that you can do short of being ugly and telling them NO, is to either take them when the weather is really bad or the wind is really strong and insure that the elements punish them to the point that they will be thinking of ways to sell all of the fishing equipment that theyve borrowed and of raising the amount of their life insurance.
Or one other thing that you might suggest to your non-fishing friends is to hire a guide to take them. Suggest that they get a group together and then you recommend a good patient guide for them to hire. I wouldnt necessarily recommend one of your best guide buddies though as he may be overcome by a powerful desire to get even. In fact you might want to make sure that your friends dont mention your name to the guide at all so maybe it would be a good idea NOT to recommend someone verbally, perhaps just leave the victimserr guides information, on their desk or somewhere that theyll find it. I mean thats what guides get paid for, right?
My best advice for the New Year Dont be a pain in the boat!