Things I Do Not Understand.

Fish Catching Travel October 4, 20011.

I had something happen this morning fishing that prompted me to write this.   So let me say first, if this is not you, relax.  This is for all of us who try to be the best fisherman and outdoors-man we can be.

Things I Do Not Understand

Running lights.

Why would you take off from the ramp while it is still dark without your running lights on?  If you can not even get on plane because it is to dark it is obviously to dark to not have your lights on.  As I left the ramp today I followed a boat with no running lights.  I noticed them at the ramp and wondered if they were actually going to do that.  Good thing there was not another person in a hydro-blasting bass boat doing a hundred.  It would have been ugly.

I actually had almost the exact situation on Norfolk Lake in Arkansas on a pitch black night.  We were out night fishing for bass and on the way in I felt the boat go over a small wake.  I slowed down and there right in front of me was a pontoon boat loaded with people.  If I had hit them at 35mph it would have been a disaster.

And one last point on this subject.  If it is foggy, or there is reduced visibility, you must have your running lights on even in the daytime.  I know 2 people here in Texas who have been ticketed.  So if you do not want to do it for yourself, do it for the rest of us.

Please  – always use your running lights!

The Ramp

Ramp etiquette at times is appalling.  The same guys who left the ramp today did something that was not a problem this morning, but is the kind of thing that makes our ramps messier and messier.  Do not back the boat on to the ramp to unload and have the other guy park another truck in the lot and walk back to get in the boat.  The ramp is for putting the boat in and out.

Get your stuff ready before you pull around to back in.  Until you are ready to back in or out do not block the ramp for others waiting.  And while you are at it, do not tie the boat to the dock or pier if it is going to block the ramp so someone is afraid to go in or out in case they might hit you.  So stop, get your stuff together, pull around and back in and then park the truck.  And when you pull out, pull far enough forward so that you are not blocking access while you get ready to go home.

Getting ready to put the boat in with Ms. Nita in Grand Isle was just such an occurrence.  The kids had blocked the ramp with the ski boat and we could not put in.  Ms. Nita, all 82 years of age in her bikini top, jumps out of the truck and off she goes.  She had them out of the way in 2 minutes.  That will only work for her, the rest of us just need to work on making the ramp function as efficiently as possible.  Be Nice!

The Water.

Lets all be kind to each other.  I know it gets crowded, and on the weekends it is really tough at times.  But lets all try to give each other room.

When I was guiding and fishing a lot of tournaments I of course had the classic bass boat.  A great Champion 16’8″ with a Black Max, among others.  Then as I started law school and was unable to keep the boat so I got a small boat.  I have loved them ever since.  Following that Terry I had a Carolina Skiff that I still have.  I also have a Mako LTS flats boat with the works.  Fishing out of both of them I have noticed a difference.  While I am fishing, people treat me totally different based on the boat.

While I rarely get cut off in the flats boat, it happens regularly in the skiff.  Bass fishing is even worse than saltwater.  There seems to be an assumption that either I am not fishing for bass, or that I must know absolutely nothing about it, neither of which is true.  This happens much less in the Mako.  So next time you decide to pull in front of another fisherman, think about it a second, just because they do not have the fancy boat has squat to do with it!

How Many Fish Does 1 Person Need?

Now this is a personal problem for me.  I honestly believe that as long as you are legal, do it.  Want 10 trout?  Ok.  Keep some bass?  Go ahead.  In fact as long as you are keeping within the law I have no problem with that.  We as outdoors-men do not need to fight amongst ourselves.   There are to many others looking to take away our basic right to hunt and fish, so lets stick together.

On the other hand, how many fish do you need?  Are they getting freezer burn?  Do you have to empty the freezer because you haven’t been able to eat them all?  So my only comment is, if you keep it, eat it.  Take only what you need and leave the rest.  Remember what drives you to fish.  It is not a pile of meat, it is a sunrise, a great bite, a jumping tarpon and everything else that moves you.

But I am sure not perfect!

So now my confession.  Over the last 35 years I have been guilty of most of the above.  I have learned the hard way most of these lessons.  Hopefully I am a better fisherman now than I was in the past.  So I try and take just a little more time to think about things as I fish, and try to be as courteous as possible.  I will fail at times, but I will try to do better.  I feel strongly about it, enough that I will probably rant on this and other subjects in the future.  I am not perfect.

Tight Lines and Good Luck!

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