My daughter and son-in law love to fish.  With two of their own tadpoles to tend to, they don’t get to take advantage of their hobby as often as they’d like.  Although I don’t personally share their passion for angling,  I’m often privy to their occasional rant.  The diatribes generally involve dramatic reenactments of those who bend the rules on the water making the merriment of fishing miserable for all the others.  The diatribes should be saved for the retelling of the size of the fish and the extreme and heroic efforts taken as the battle was won.

In our neck of the woods, fishing is a year round sport.  This may be obvious except for the fact that from December to March the available fishing holes are covered by an iceberg.  Imagine the joy of drilling a hole in six or more inches of ice at -20F with all parts of your body covered in high-tech thermal wear.  Sounds like fun doesn’t it?  While the fishing faux pas’ abound in the winter months, it seems to me that they become exaggerated in the warmer waters.  Strap on your waders and feel free to respectfully convey the following good form tips to the faulted before they become bait for bass.

No Wake Zones

No Wake Zones do not refer to the areas of the water where you must take a nap.  No Wake Zones are the areas of the water that require a boat to SLOW down to ensure courtesy and safety is extended to others.  Waves created by speeding boats in shallow waters can not only disrupt the enjoyment of other fishing folks but could cause serious injury to people, other water craft and marine life.  If that doesn’t incent you to slow down then maybe a big, fatty fine from the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) will.

Beaches & Sunbathers

Stay clear of beaches and sunbathers.  Watch for the “floaties” – inflatable lounges drifting about.  This point is self-serving as I’ve been known to drift aimlessly and far from shore thoroughly engrossed in the latest beach read.  I was nearly sawn in half (ala: David Copperfield) by band of young lake pirates drunk on life and Coors.  They were carelessly cruising through the water listening to Garth Brooks and not paying any attention to where they were motoring.  They missed shredding me by 5 feet.  Granted, I was further from the beach than I should have been but how can you blame me?  I was reading “The Notebook” and audibly sobbing; completely oblivious to the noise of the oncoming hooligans.  Who’s accountable here?  We are were…everyone needs to be alert and observant.

Do not use the water as your personal landfill

Keep trash, old fishing line, used bait, etc. out of the water.  These are considered pollutants.  Give a hoot; don’t pollute.

Keep your bait native to the regions you are fishing

Introducing bait you used in Biloxi, Mississippi to the lakes in Lutsen, Minnesota may cause irrefutable, long-term damage to the Eco-system.

Don’t encroach

Stay clear of other anglers’ areas.  Once you locate your own sweet spot, keep your time there limited if the waters are crowded.

Bone up

Learn what fish are in season and the catch limit amounts.  Adhere to them strictly.   The DNR can add-on to that big, fatty fine you received for the No Wake Zone violation.

Yes,  good form is applicable to all manners of human behaviors and past times including fishing.  If you happen to be one of the elite who fancy fishing in the extremes of winter, let me know what peccadillo’s you’ve experienced.  While we might learn something useful for our future fishing adventures, we will most certainly applaud you for your winter time fortitude!!

Happy angling