From launching your boat, to driving to your first spot, to fishing and finally back on the trailer, there are some things that will make your day on the water much more enjoyable simply by not getting into a confrontational situation with someone else on the water.
First is launching your boat. Turn off your headlights when on the ramp! I’m not sure why anglers leave their headlights on when on the ramp. This creates a blinding situation that nearly makes it impossible to back down the ramp alongside them, and if you manage to do it, you’ll have a headache from the glare of the headlights as you tried. Most ramps have plenty of light on them. If they don’t, once you start backing down the ramp your headlights certainly are not doing you any good so turn them off. I have had folks tell me that they don’t know how to turn the headlights off. Yes, all vehicles today come with daytime running lights. However, all vehicles have a way to turn them off. Just get in your owner’s manual and find out how. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, the internet will have one you can page through for sure. The two most common ways to turn off your headlights on newer vehicles is 1) hit the dome light three times within 5 seconds or 2) click your emergency brake just one spot [this will not apply the emergency brake].
Okay we’ve covered my biggest pet peeve. Now to the second biggest pet peeve. Unstrap your boat, load any tackle, load the cooler, load any extra clothing, basically if you still have to load it or unstrap it do it before you get on the ramp! Pull into a parking spot and take care of business until you’re ready to launch. Why would you want to back down a ramp and put your boat at the water’s edge and then start taking care of these things? Do you really like to upset people? Do you like all attention you’re getting? One day this is going to get you into a world of hurt by fisherman that are ready to go and you’re holding them up.
Finally on the water and headed to that first spot. Please give everyone a wide berth when passing or crossing paths. There is no reason to get so close to other boats that you have to be worried about what way they might turn. One of two things here, either you’re going to be on a lake where there is plenty of room to go out around someone or move far enough out of each other’s way when approaching each other that there shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re on a lake with narrow boat lanes, SLOW down there is no reason to take high speed chances and make last second decisions at 60 plus MPH, this is how people get killed.
Now we’re fishing, Oh Yeah, this is what I’m talking about! In years past I used to get very upset when folks would move in on me on the water. Thinking, “Can’t they see I’m here”. As the fishing industry gets more and more popular, and we get more and more boats on the water, there really isn’t a secret spot anymore, only secret ways to fish them (or at least we all think so LOL). When folks come up on you simply be polite and share the water, one of you will be moving shortly anyway. I used to let this kind of thing destroy a great day on the water, getting caught up in “That Guy” and forgetting about the great day on the water. On the flip side, try not to barrel in on others. You know you don’t like it that much and most others don’t either. Karma, what comes around goes around! If you pay attention, this is true. You never know, I have made some great friends and contacts on the water, sometimes it’s best to say hello and introduce yourself!
The day is done, and we’re back at the ramp, same applies here as when you first got to the lake. If it’s dark turn your head lights off, once the boat is secure to the trailer pull off the ramp and into a parking spot to strap things down and put your equipment away. Don’t tie up the ramp preventing others that also want to get home and get some dinner!
Just some food for thought for the next time you’re out. I am not pointing the finger at anyone or claiming that anyone reading this blog is guilty of these things. So, if I used the wrong tense in the sentence please don’t take it personal. If you run across any of these issues on the ramps or on the water, keep your cool and offer friendly advise, you may or may not be heard, but at least you offered. You never know you might make a great friend along the way.
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