Fishing courtesy benefits all
One week before the Navarre tournament and two weeks prior to the Florida Pro Redfish Series, it’s time to pre-fish and scout. Two weeks difference, the tides are almost the same so you can have an idea of the fish movement. I had been watching some reds already, but wanted to find a couple more schools before the Florida Pro.
The first spot of the morning was a flat that didn’t have a lot of reds, but had big ones. I stopped about 150 yards from the flat, killed the combustion motor, dropped the trolling motor, and crept in to find the fish. As I worked down the flat slowly, I came up on a point at the end that usually has reds, and then I heard a motor. I looked up, and a boat on-plane went by me about 20 yards away, and cut in front of me on the point. Now that flat and point was shot. I used the trolling motor to get to deeper water, fired up the combustion, and headed to another flat about 3 miles away.
The same as before, I stopped about 150 yards out, dropped the trolling motor and crept up to the shallows as not to spook any fish. I started moving up the flat and saw a couple of reds. I moved slowly, trying to gauge size and movement. After seeing the third red, I heard another combustion motor. Believe it or not, a boat went by on a plane, cut about 25 yards in front of me, and started fishing. So, I pulled the trolling motor, fired up the combustion, and took off. I headed to a flat about 7 miles away, and debated just going home.
The third flat always has fish, even when the rest of the bay doesn’t seem to. I killed the motor, deployed the trolling motor, crept onto the flat and started looking. I was not seeing many reds, but trout everywhere. I decided to start casting at the trout, as I wanted fish tacos. As I made it about 100 yards down the flat, I had a boat 100 yards in front of me and behind me. It was no big deal, as we were all going the same direction on a drift or trolling motor. I assumed the other boats were catching fish as I had boated two trout — and then I heard a boat motor.
I looked up and saw a boat on a plane 20 yards out from us, running the flat to get to wherever they were going since they never stopped in front of us. After that boat burned us, I never saw another trout or red on the rest of the flat. I left there and just headed home; no matter where I went, I got burned by another angler.
Ladies and gentlemen, what happened to courtesy on the water? If I am heading to a flat and see another boat, kayak or wade-fisher where I want to go, I either keep going and never stop, or fall in about 100 yards or more behind them or away from them. Don’t burn other fisherman by flying right by them on a plane; don’t cut them off in casting distance. Not only do you burn the flats for them and what they have been pushing or catching, you just burned the flats for yourself. Once you spook the fish, 99 percent of the time they aren’t going to eat and are heading deep.
Some people only have one day a weekend to fish — if that — and it becomes ruined by the other angler that feels he can cut you off and burn your flats to be the first to some fish.
Please think courtesy and respect for your fellow anglers on the water.