Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lack of etiquette on the water is quite common

I’m no snooty elitist. Nor am I holier than thou.
John Mallia of Buffalo, N.Y. caught a load of trout despite the traffic.

I am a reformed smoker, but I don’t care if you light up in your home or car.

I am concerned, however, about the lack of etiquette on the water. I’m talking about those who move in on an area you’re fishing.

Seems to happen all the time.

I was out the other day with a client and we were drifting down the edge of a channel, casting into the depths. A powerboat with three anglers aboard passed right in front of us, cut the engine and began fishing 20 feet away.


I would never paddle in front of anyone and then start fishing.

It was funny, though, when they didn’t catch any fish. They watched as my client reeled in trout after trout.

“They’re killing ‘em,” one said.

No, we weren’t killing the trout. We were releasing them. We do not kill fish to eat. We realize our fish would probably cost around $376 a pound based on the cost of our equipment, boats, vehicles and what have you.

If we wanted to eat fish, we’d head out to a pretty nice seafood restaurant and have someone prepare it for us.

We kept catching trout after trout. The fellows in the boat just couldn’t stand it. They started the motor, put it in gear and headed up the channel toward us. When they got to within a cast, they cut the engine and started fishing.

At the point, I’d had about enough. I wasn’t going to get into it with the morons, but I was going to get away from them. So, we paddled down the channel about 100 yards and started fishing.

Of course, we started catching, too.

After about 15 minutes, the boaters could stand no more. They allowed the current to push them toward us. I watched in amazement as they neared.

“I can’t believe you’re going to drift right through where we’re fishing,” I said to the skipper.

I got no response.

They did indeed drift right past us and right over the spot where we were fishing.

On another occasion, a guide, obviously on a scouting mission for his next day’s charter, anchored on the other side of the channel about 50 feet up from us.

No problem.

He tossed out a live bait and then set the rod in a holder. He picked up another rod and began casting a jig.

He watched in amazement as my client caught a dozen or so nice trout.

When he couldn’t stand it any longer, he lifted the anchor, started his outboard and motored out into the channel. He moved down the channel from us, then cut the engine and literally threw out the anchor.

He was now anchored in the middle of the channel (I think it’s illegal to anhor in a marked channel?). To make matters worse, the chop was banging against the underside of his bow. The noise wasn’t going to increase his production.

Meanwhile, we’re still catching fish. Our kayaks make virtually no noise. The fish don’t know we’re there.

I just wish my powerboat brothers would get on the clue bus. Respect others on the water and try to quiet things down a bit.

They’ll not only make people happy, but they’ll also start catching more fish.


  1. I have it happen quite often Steve but the reality of it is, I am finding more and more kayak anglers doing the same. I often just write it off as lack of common sense but it seems to happen too often to ignore anymore. Spot on with your article!

  2. Hi all, I am new here and new to yaking. I am really excited about doing some fly fishing, and spin, but don't tell anyone, LOL), this year.....Little cold for this old man right now but I know that right around the corner it will be great......

    Rude jerks like you have encountered have been around for years.....It's either ignorance or greed, or the old fashioned, "don't give a damn". This is why I carry a gun, "ALL THE TIME".

  3. Steve, I'm going to post a follow-up to this on UPSTREAM today at

  4. Dave, Some of it can be attributed to not knowing or a lack of common sense. But when licensed guides move in and anchor in the middle of the channel within a few feet, I call that intentional and arrogant.