This is an article I have wanted to write for a long time. It has nothing to do with game plans or seasonal patterns and you will not need a GPS or bottom recorder. All you'll need for this one is a little common sense. What I want to talk to you about are the things we should and should not do while we are fishing. These are my ideas and my beliefs. Now I know what you are going to be thinking, so before you say it, please let me say it first I have been guilty of not heeding my own advice at times. Hopefully, with age, I have grown wiser and mellowed somewhat.
Now let's get down to it; How close is too close? A football field is 120 yards long from the back of one end zone to the back of the other. I think if you add 80 yards to that it should be more than enough room for just about anyone. Sure we all want the entire shoreline, but none of us is more or less entitled to it than the other.
If there are two anglers standing in the mouth of a slough and you want to fish in the lake that the slough feeds, what should you do? I would pick another lake or wait until the anglers move on. They are not fishing the lake, so your fish are not being disturbed. If the anglers wave you in it's cool to ease by them.
Got an angler working your favorite rock in Cat Head? It's his or her favorite as well; go to your second most favorite rock.
You're drifting the shoreline and you see a boat anchored farther down and it is in your drift line. Drift to within about 100 yards and then quietly ease or troll motor out away from his area and then resume your drift.
This is a great one. You're wading down a shoreline and you're hooked up as a boat runs offshore of you. The group spots the action and eases in and starts wading right up to you. It is easy to get irritated, but usually anglers who would do this don't know any better and mean no harm. Just continue fishing and catching and politely educate them as you release the biggest of the fish you catch. I once released a trout that I wanted to mount just to impress the guys that had walked into my wade. Those guys still fish with me today. Don't get me wrong; I believe pulling in on somebody like this is bad manners, but it is going to happen. When it does, just roll with the punch.
Here's another good one: burning shorelines. Never run near the bank if it will affect the fishing of others, period! I own the best burn boat in the world, a Majek Illusion, and I burn with it when it affects only my fishing. If I see fish on the shoreline I will get off of it and start fishing. If I see you, I will pull off hundreds of yards before I get to you. If it is a weekend I will not get up on the shoreline and run at all. Do not burn in lakes where there are already anglers fishing. Try watching them, if they are catching fish you know there are fish in there and you know they will eat, what else do you need to know?
If you are fishing in one lake and I am running in another, please do not get all bent out of shape. It's hard on your heart and you can only fish one area at a time. If the anglers in the boat are breaking some kind of game laws then that is different, report it to your local game warden and be prepared to testify to the illegal acts.
Airboats this one gets lots of folks fired up and there is definitely good and bad in airboats. You might hate the noise but they do virtually zero damage to the sea grass, not to mention that redfish seem to settle down faster after an air boat runs over than when an outboard-powered boat does it. I learn a lot by watching the guys driving airboats. They will point out just about every fish they see and stop when they spot large numbers. Make notes as to where you see them and return to that area the next time you are on the water.
I hope you are seeing that I am trying to give you a positive slant on things. Life is way too short to be all bent out of shape about the little things. Now let's talk about some other, lighter-hearted, topics.
Never show up at the dock carrying your rod by the tip. It is weakest at the tip and you could damage or break it, not to mention it makes you look bad.
When netting a fish while wading; do not grip the rod in the middle of the blank. If the rod manufacturer wanted you to hold it there they would have put you a piece of cork there.
Never string your fish through the gills, always through both lips. I prefer top to bottom. By going through both lips the fish slide off the stringer much easier.
When using pliers, grip the hook and push it back through the hole it has created. Pulling, tearing and jerking just weakens the hook and ruins your knot.
Never show up to wade with flip flops or cowboy boots. Simms makes some stylish wading boots that offer comfort and style. ForEverLast has Ray Guard boots that help prevent bad encounters with stingrays. If you are fishing from the boat, no black soles, please.
Do not wade in Wrangler cowboy cut jeans, it makes me hot just looking at you guys and some of the worst cases of leg chaffing I have ever seen came from a day in the bay in blue jeans. The poor man was trying to get someone to shoot him to put him out of his misery.
For all that is Holy, please replace that four year old line on your reel before hitting the water. The curly Q's are not suppose to be there.
Come on guys; take the plastic off the cork handle on your new rod. The handle was designed to get wet, it's cork!
Try pushing a few of the magnets in on your new reel once you have mastered casting 5 or 6 feet. One, maybe two, out is o.k. but when you have them all out it is like driving down the highway with your parking brake on.
Oh, and when you dunk your reels, the next cast is going to be a backlash. Reason? The brakes on your magnetic spool are hydroplaning on a thin layer of water on the inside of your spool. Go to the boat and dry it out and lube the bearings lightly. The reason you go to the boat is so you do not drop your spool or any of your magnets in the water.
Wading belts with rod holders are nice if you are standing in knee deep water, but when you're in waist deep stuff do not put the rod in the holder when handling your fish.
What about carrying two rods, a box of about a dozen topwaters and a fanny pack of soft plastic, a net, a stringer or do-net , two bottles of water in holsters at your side and a floating portable stool? If you stumble you might drown. Try this instead - one good rod, a couple of favorite topwaters and a spoon or two, along with a few jigheads and three or four plum Bass Assassins in a small flat tackle box that fits between your wading belt and the small of your back and be happy. I have done plenty of damage with this setup for many years.
Sunscreen; you've got to have it, but please spread it out. White globs of the stuff in your ears and nose looks horrible. Why is it that nobody wants to tell the guy? To me it's like having a booger in your nose and I want to know when I have a bat in the cave.
Last, but by in no way least, please guys, always wear underwear with your Columbia wading pants at all times.
On a serious note, I hope you realize that part of the content of this article was meant to amuse. I do hope however that you might find some of it useful, and I want you to know that I am always laughing with you and not at you. After all, laughter is life's best medicine; enjoy your day on the water and don't let anyone get in the way of that. Remember - You are in control of you!