I try to fish hard and smart, but over the last decade I’ve run into numerous funny and sometimes disconcerting habits that other anglers may not be aware they have. Like most anglers, I’m pretty protective and possessive of my boat and at the same time I’ve developed protocols to optimize my results. So when I see something I consider not normal, I tend to react just like the owner of a fancy sports car who sees someone park an old beater next to it!
It’s unintentional, but lots of guys will wear great big outdoor-type boots when they go fishing. To be fair, some anglers are pretty agile, but I seem to get folks who whack every edge of the boat each time they move. Whack, whack all day. I try to be tactful! If they step down from the front deck into the cabin, it’s often with a massive thud there, too! These boots also are especially effective at picking up prodigious amounts of the wet clay by the dock and spreading what gets stuck in the shoe treads as they walk all over the boat. (Of course, I’ve never done this!) Guess I need to offer slippers?
I’ve even had real excited guys wearing boots who start jumping like crazy every time they get a fish, usually right over the school! My deck is like the top of a drum, so you can imagine what the fish hear with any old big guy jumping around, let alone one in his Army boots! Oh well, they’re having fun.
Trying to keep young children occupied and busy between bites is another toughie! One time we were on a good bite and while the youngsters had started out strong, they had gotten up early so by noon were running out of steam. That’s when I watched the older child, about 9, take out an empty Pepsi can. He looked around, then carefully and quickly placed it in the middle of the passenger handhold – attached to a high-gloss plastic surface. From there he raised his fist and smashed the can into the console finish. What?! The can scratched my console pretty good as I quickly reached over and took control. The Dad was so used to them doing things, he didn’t even say a word, and I quietly fumed. Maybe I needed an onboard Nintendo?
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I use a Boga grip to land most of my fish, but if the hooks are locked onto the fish’s mouth in such a way that the mouth is closed shut; the grip can’t be used. When this happens, I have to lift the thrashing fish into the boat in a net and remove the hooks with pliers. This is dangerous because in the small area of the boat, an uncontrolled fish with an attached lure can bounce all over the place. In these cases I always tell guys to back away and give me room to move quickly, especially if I need to get away!
So here I am with a good fish with a locked mouth in the teens and I can’t use the Boga! I warn the others to stay back. Everything is good till the fish hits the deck and leaps right out of the net! The bad thing is that I see that the 7-inch lure is now free with a trio of No. 2 treble hooks swinging around as it shakes its head violently about 2 feet in front of me at waist level! That’s when the excited guys behind me push forward to see the fish. The harder I pushed to get away, the harder they pushed me forward. I’m left dancing around the careening fish until I get the Boga on it, just as the rear treble goes through my pants at the knee – a near-miss! Excited anglers don’t listen! Maybe a short pre-trip training class is needed?
Do I have ton more of these issues? You bet! Yeah, I’m sure you’ve got a list, too. Of course, I’m not set in my ways or anything like that. Never give up!