Being well into the 2010 fishing season, my guys out in the field have been getting the typical complaints about how inconsiderate and obnoxious some anglers can be.

Most people don’t recognize what they are doing and most often these mistakes are from inexperience or lack of understanding.

After speaking with several charter captains, recreational anglers and listening to feedback from my staff, I would like to share the most common gripes.

First off, whether you are heading out from a public launch site for a boating or fishing trip, be prepared before you get in line to launch. If you are new to this, make yourself a checklist of the things you need and to do, along with the order in which to do them.

This also isn’t a bad idea even if you have been doing this for a while. You don’t need to start or end your day on the water frustrated and angry. Taking a few minutes out of the way of others to get the boat ready can make the whole process less stressful and more efficient for everybody.

Make sure your lines, fenders, plugs, coolers, fuel tanks, rods, tackle boxes, etc. are all set before you get in line to launch or when you pull up to the float to haul out.

A big fishing complaint I have heard involves anglers who mishandle and manhandle fish that are to be released. Two prime examples are dragging the fish through the sand out of the surf and using your foot to hold the fish down while removing the hook.

Another is about boat anglers who fish too close to shore, disrupting the shore angler, who already has to deal with very limited access. I have heard of some instances where boats have actually cut off the shore guy’s lines.

What about those guys who cut in front of other boats that are drift-fishing a rip, or worse yet, drop an anchor in a rip with the result that no one else can fish that rip?

Continuing on down the list; sports that run up directly onto a school of surface-feeding fish, driving the fish down and away, thereby making them unavailable to anybody. Also, many people don’t realize how sensitive fish are to boat noise, particularly on the flats. Don’t leave the engine running, drift into these fish. Be quiet.

And if you are coming into a bunch of boats fishing, regardless of if they are anchored or drifting, slow down and don’t cause a wake.

The No. 1 complaint from guides and charter-boat operators: private boat anglers who blatantly follow their boats from spot to spot seeking to steal their years of knowledge and hot spots.

Remember, whether you are fishing from a boat or shore; be aware of your surroundings and respect wildlife, other people’s feelings and property.

This saltwater report is by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575. If you have information to report or have any questions, contact him at 633-9505 or e-mail:

[email protected]


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