Unreasonable ettiquette expectation?

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Rich Stern

Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2000
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Jeanne and I were out on the lake today. We had just gotten into some schooling spots, and as I hooked one and brought him to the boat, another boat idles over to us, WITH HIS BIG MOTOR, asking how we are doing.

So there I am, trying to get a trebble hook out of a bass, Jeanne is still trying to cast into the school as they nail baitfish on top, and this guy is coming over, trying to talk to us over the idle of his motor from about 75 feet away, looking for feedback.

Now, I will gladly share with anyone, on any given day, whatever limited knowledge I have to help them catch fish, but because this guy came over with his motor on while we were actively working a school and trying to catch fish, I didn't want to give him the time of day.

And yes, the school shut down as he got close.

Don't ask what brand of boat he was driving, I'm embarrassed to admit it.

Unreasonable of me to expect better smarts out of the guy?

Eric, you are absolutely right. Based on how I told the story, you might wonder if he was a beginner. If I had the slightest sense that he was a beginner, he would have gotten every benefit of the doubt.

It was a older man, perhaps 55, in what I would describe as a tournament type boat (19+ footer with a V6). When he asked how we were doing, he specifically said "Are they biting along this ridgeline?", referring to the underwater topology of the aree we were working.

Probably not a newbie.

Regardless, I wasn't rude to him. I just didn't engage him the way I would an angler who had the decency to observe what was going on in and around our boat before approaching by gas motor.

Rich, you were better off not being rude to him, or preaching fishing ettiquitte to him. There are some strange people out there and the last thing you need is trouble with what could be an irrational person who takes what you say the wrong way. You wouldn't want a confrontation on the water with someone to ruin your day no matter how much you really wanted to use Eric's 'pig and jig method'! LOL
As usual, Rich, I agree with you absolutely.

A little while back, Marke had asked a question about approaching people to spread the "Tracker Word". If I remember correctly, the general concesus was, on the ramp - ok; on the water - stay outta their space.

I always try to stay as far as possible / reasonable from others who are fishing - whether they are catching or not. Just common courtesy.

Most people fishing are glad to share information with others. But NOT when it disrupts their spot.

And, there are some introverts, like me, who go fishin' simply to be away from others for a while and let their heads clear out.......

I think I would have told them something to the effect "The fishing was just starting to get good until you drove up on the surfacing school!" This would have brought out this anglers true colors. Either he would have been embarrased, apologized, and drove away, or he would have gotten ticked off and defensive. If he got defensive I would have then totally ignored the guy, and make sure I steer clear of him in the future, and also tell everyone I knew to look out for that particular boat. If he sincerly didn't know what he had done, it then would have given the opportunity to show off your superior angling skills and give a quick verbal presentation about schooling bass.
Rich - Sorry to hear about your encounter, however not at all surprised. Lake Lanier is the most visited Corps Lake at about 22-23 million annually. Most of them between Memorial Day and Labor day(Summer). With this vast onslaught of users/abusers its a wonder that we have such an incredible resource. The DNR and the Corps have to run full tilt constantly just to keep up.

What happened to you, happens quite often to me. Sometimes it seems like every day. If its slow and I want to talk I'll motion the boater over with my hands. If I'm in the middle of surface action and someone is coming in I'll wave him off with both arms and a rod in hand. Some people will have no clue as to those obvious signals and drive in anyway. I usually attract the lost boaters needing direction. Let them come on in. Once they've come in that close the damage is probably already done. It'll solve a lot of bad feelings being able to talk back and forth other than already shouting to find out what's up. Try this when the conversation is over. As best as can politely be done, I explain that a fella waving his arms crossed each other is a warning. It may be that he's on a school of fish and doesn't want to shut them down OR he just plowed through a reef, is taking on water, knows he's a gone-er,and his last act on Earth is to save you from certain death! It leaves the conversation with a laugh and a point driven home. All kidding aside, learning this common signal can save a life. Any of the guys that's fished the NY Bassmasters will tell you. Then go find another school, go sight-seeing, have lunch, etc...With no other possibilities brighter within an hour your fish will probably be back. Hit 'em hard and check 'em often!

Dan, I don't want to throw the baby out with the Lanier bathwater: Just after that encounter, we were drifting downwind and got within reasonable talking distance of another boat who was quietly and politely working the same area. A school jumped up on top between us and the boater quickly pointed it out to us and said "Throw in there!" as he started casting himself. He turned out to be a really nice guy, very accomodating. We had a couple of laughs with him.

In retrospect, I wish I had just politely pointed out the problem to the first boater.