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OTHER ITA SITES:
Fishing Etiquette - Good Manners For All Generations
Reasonable people will readily agree that Life is a series of choices. We hope (and pray) that making good decisions will come more naturally as we mature and grow older. In conjunction with these concepts, most individuals acknowledge that as adults, "we are personally accountable for the results of those judgements"; an idea that some people have difficulty accepting.
Being a fisherman is definitely a hugely, conscious decision. For some, "To Fish or Not To Fish" is never a consideration for the true angler. After all, a considerable investment of time, money and resources are required for the self-sufficient, stand-alone angler. As your fishing budget grows, the number of "required" items increases significantly. A typical inventory can include:
* Boat, Engine, Spare Prop(s), Trailer, Towing Vehicle and state registration of said items.
* Fishing License, Rods and Reels (plus spare parts).
* Tackle Box, Spools of Filament (of various thicknesses), Fishing Tackle (broken down by Fish Species), Bobbers, Weights, Hooks and Leaders.
* Fishing Knives, Nets, Bait and other Sundry Stuff.
* Exotic gadgets such as Trolling Motors and Depth Finders.
* Food, Beverages, Trashbags, Gasoline, Oil, Parking, Membership and Access Fees.
This is a fair amount of planning and we have yet to reach the water. Then there is the challenge of allocating quality time without negatively impacting personal duties of church, family and work commitments. The complications of scheduling time may increase (exponentially) as one adds fishing companions. As one famous fisherman quipped, "If your job interferes with your ability to fish, then quit your job." An ideal that many fishers strive for today while others fall short.
So after this lengthy introduction, you're probably wondering "what is your point"? I'm glad you asked.
Obviously, being a fisherman is not unqiue - for there are many, many people who enjoy this activity. The types of fishermen can be divided into three basic categories:
** People who fish from "a Boat".
** People who fish from "the water".
** People who fish from "the shore".
Regardless of which category you place yourself, the idea of "Personal Conduct" must be included. An investment of fishing gear does not give one "exclusive rights" to a fishing hole. The idea of "sharing" is a lifelong concept; so accept it and move on. (In some areas, if you're not cognizant of this ideal, there are people who will inflict bodily harm as a reminder. And for those who are unsure, I'm not from the school of "might" makes "right". Perhaps one day I'll add the "Game Warden" to my cell phone list, should the need become apparent.)
For the genuine fisherman, a "Code of Conduct" is automatic and second nature. For others, who were not blessed with the legacy of a fishing family, they just need some proper instruction and enlightenment. So when in doubt, ask for help. Take lessons, observe others or contact your lake's Pond Association - they are a great source of information. Good manners need to be learned, no matter where you find yourself. Common sense, while obvious to most, is not so for all.
Fishing's informal principles include, but are not limited to:
* Treat fish with care; learn the principles of Catch & Release.
* Show respect for other people's property.
* Show respect for the environment; bring your own litter home with you; pick up other people's trash (and set an example).
* Don't disturb wildlife; for example, in Maine, human destruction of a loon's nest is a state offense.
* Keep a respectable distance from other fishermen; don't cross or drive over the lines of others; Give other anglers (and boaters) a wide berth.
* Don't bring blaring radios; if you must have one, then bring headphones.
* Learn the State's boating laws.
* Learn about the rights of property owners when accessing great waters by foot.
* Sharing fishing techniques.
* Understand breeding patterns of applicable species; return spawning fish back to the water.
* When applicable, give your fishing partner every opportunity to catch fish, just as you would expect him to give you the same opportunity if you were in the back of his boat.
* If someone signals for emergency assistance, then respond immediately. The fish can wait - Someday you may need directional help or a tow.
* Beware of what is going on; check weather forcasts in advance.
* Do not spill gasoline, oil or other pollutants on land or into the water.
* Observe your speed, wake and wash, while keeping a safe distance from jetties, water/shore-based anglers and other watercrafts.
* Mobile Phones are great for emergencies, but keep them turned off while fishing.
* It is also against the law to drink alcohol in most fishing boats.
* Report environmental damage and pollution to the relevant (state and local) authorities.
* Your actions should always be governed by what is right – BOTH ethically and legally.
* These ideals are for ALL fishermen; gender, youth or old age are not acceptable excuses. Be polite when attempting to teach less skilled anglers.
As a final thought, here is a quote from Baba Dioum:
** ln the end, we will conserve only what we love.
** We love only what we understand.
** We will understand only what we are taught.
Please note: This list is not all inclusive; learn to use your brain for something other than a seat cushion. Additional suggestions are welcomed.
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