Boating Tips: Fishing Etiquette | MUST KNOW Tips
Keep a Respectful Distance
It could be the ocean, a bay, a lake, or even a pond or river; they’re big places it is important to maintain a respectful distance from other anglers. Find your own spot, you never want to be the boat that is right on top of another boat at a fishing spot. If you have to ask the question, “Am I too close?”, then yes, you’re too close.
Even if you’re just passing by and have no intention of fishing, stay far away from people who have lines in the water. If you do have to pass close to those who are fishing, slow down to an idle and turn your music down.
Be Mindful of Noise
Don’t slam hatches in the boat, try to anchor as gently and quietly as possible and as we said before, if you have to pass by another boat, do so quietly. Fish can be very wary, and sound travels very far, very quickly through the water. Imagine waiting all day for the right tide, or polling your flats skiff for over an hour into a shallow basin to line up the perfect cast at a school of gamefish, only to have someone zoom by you causing every fish within a country mile to head for the hills. Frustrating right? We aren’t saying to not talk to your friends and family when there are lines in the water, but just be respectful of other people fishing and try to keep noise to a minimum to avoid spooking fish.
Respect the Fish
If you plan on releasing your catch, handle it with care. Use de-hooking tools to remove hooks quickly and efficiently, never handle fish with dry hands or a towel (this can remove their protective slime coat and expose them to diseases), keep them out of the water for as brief a period as possible and be sure to revive them before sending them home (don’t just throw the fish back, hold them by the tail and slowly move them back and forth in the current to help pass water through their gills).
If you do harvest a fish, be sure to follow all season closures as well as size and bag limitations. A great app for this is the Fish Rules app which you can learn more about from our Best Boating Apps episode!
A Closing Word
Everyone has a right to be out on the water enjoying the natural world and having fun, whether it’s watersports, fishing, yachting, or anything else, but there are rules! Remember to keep these simple etiquette tips in mind if you plan on casting a line and the water will be a nicer place for everyone. We’ll see you out there.