Do you want the whole world fishing in your favorite places?
By Ron Brooks
One of the surest ways to lose a “secret” fishing spot to other anglers is to show off and whoop and holler when you catch a fish. I know many guide friends who have had at least one of their fishing spots “revealed” by a customer who could not follow some simple advice..
So here are some do’s and don’t's to use to protect that favorite spot you have.
- Don’t Be Obvious
I tell people fishing with me not to be excited when another boat comes by. Yes, I am one of those anglers that protects his fishing spots. It’s a major reason I catch fish – I try to keep others from coming in on me! I fish a lot of areas that are very close to where I launch the boat. People are amazed that they catch fish in sight of their car or the boat ramp. But, over the years I have found that the closer fishing spots had less fishing pressure. Everyone thinks they have to run far to get to the fish. Not so, my friend! You can catch fish by staying home!So, in the early morning, I piddle a bit and idle a bit and try to not be obvious until the majority of the boat traffic has left for parts unknown. Then I head for my spot.
If you are fishing and another boat approaches, just sit there with you rod down and look bored. If you watch other anglers, they are all looking hard at you and the other anglers around them when they go by. Face it! Everyone is looking for fish, so other anglers usually think why not take advantage of someone else’s good fortune? My advice is to keep still and quiet and look bored.
- Don’t Set the Hook!
I tell my party not to set the hook as another boat approaches or goes by. The fish are there and they will be there for another few minutes. Let one take your bait when a boat approaches. A big hook set and a doubled-over rod will draw lots of attention and usually results in a boat coming pretty close. And, it’s not that they might catch my fish. Rather, they tend to make more noise and disturb the peace and quiet of the area. That runs the fish off and shuts down what would have been a good spot.
- Keep Your Rod Down
If you have hooked a fish and you are fighting it when another boat approaches, you need to just lower your rod and let the fish do what he will. Most all of the time, the fish is still hooked when you reapply pressure to the rod. If the fish feels pressure he will run and fight. When that pressure is released, the fish slows down and does not fight.So, when another boat approaches, stop fighting the fish, drop your pole and let the fish swim. This is another case of – if the other angler sees you fighting a fish, the chances are good you will have some close company!
- If They Stop Anyway
Common sense applies to every situation on the water. If another boat comes in one you while you are catching fish, there is nothing wrong with politely asking them to back off a bit. I’ve had captains simply say OK and turn and move on. I’ve also had some that came in anyway, even to the point that our lines got tangled together. Now that’s just plain rude!
- Simply Move!
There are some locations I fish, and admittedly I’m talking about offshore bottom spots, where I will not fish if another boat is close enough to see what we are doing. If I am fishing them and a boat heads our way, I will move – yes actually stop fishing and move – to prevent them from gaining GPS access to the location. Yes – some of my spots are that important to me!
- Bottom Line
Fishing competition is getting worse every day. I don’t mean competition between anglers; I mean competition for scarce fishing spots. As more and more anglers hit the water, the fish are spread thin. So, it becomes important for you to make sure you protect the places where you catch fish! If you aren’t careful, someone else will be in your fishing spots the next time.