Coangler Etiquette

From the first event I fished as a true coangler I have followed some simple rules. These rules have helped me have a great day on the water with 95% of the boaters I have fished with.

Cantley Kraft with a toad from the back of the boat.
Cantley Kraft with a toad from the back of the boat.

Let’s think about what the boater has invested versus the coangler. Entry fee is normally doubled, they pay for the gas in the truck and the boat, insurance and spend days on the water practicing to find the fish you have a chance to catch. All the coangler has to do is show up with their own gear, chip in 25-40 for gas and be ready to fish. We have it pretty good. So I have always felt that by using some simple etiquette and showing my boater some respect we both can have a great day on the water.
Rule# 1 Don’t cast in front of your boater.

This is rule number one because it is the most important. There is nothing that will ruin your day more than the boater blocking you from making a good cast because you thought it was ok to cast in front of them. They found the brush pile and get ready to make the cast down the side of it when your bait comes flying by and lands right on it. Not the way to start tournament day.

Rule# 2 Don’t cast on a new spot until the boater has made the first cast.

It may not be to some people but to me, it’s just common courtesy. Your boater spent the time on the water finding this location so give him the chance to line up and make his cast. We will go over in another article how to cover new water that your boater doesn’t touch that will make up for this one extra cast. When the boater sees you standing there waiting for him to make a cast it shows respect and normally lightens the mood on the boat.

Rule# 3 Help your boater if he needs it.

Grab them a water when you get yourself one. Be quick to the net. Hand them a cull tag if they ask. Just be a generally good person and help any way that you can.

Rule#4 Don’t cast to the other side of the boat without asking unless you are in an open water or deep fishing situation.

This falls in line with the first two rules. The easiest example of this is if you’re going into a pocket that is small enough to cast to the other side of you want to make sure that the boater does not have plans to fish that side also. If you watch your boater carefully you will have plenty of chances to catch a fish behind them without having to take his chance away. Most of the boaters I have fished with will tell you to cast where ever you want and then everything is open season.

Rule# 5 Be ready to go before they are.

Most of the time a good boater will tell you when they are getting ready to fire up the outboard and move on to a new area. “One more cast and we are out of here.” When this happens I like to fish out the cast that I am on and then get ready to go. I put my life jacket on, make sure my seat is clear, make sure nothing is loose that can blow out, and last I put my rod up. I put up the rod last because there are plenty of times the boater decided to make another cast or 2 and you don’t want to waste any valuable casts yourself. Once you have your jacket on and your area clean you can go back to casting until your boater pulls the trolling motor.

These are just a few simple rules that I follow and I will update the list as time goes on. Every BFL that I fish is a learning experience and I am sure I will have more to add at some point. I am certainly up to discussion in the forum.

Travis Decker


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