As we grow as a community and tournament organization, I think it’s time we discuss something that’s come up many times over the years.

But first, I want to make it clear that although there have been some minor complaints and I have spoken to some individuals about this in the past, this post is NOT about any one person, or even a few people. This is a general discussion intended for any and all kayak anglers.

This is about etiquette on the water.

We have maxed out every tournament thus far this year. I don’t know if that will continue throughout the season, but it’s very possible. Since we fish such small bodies of water, it’s only inevitable that anglers are going to come into close proximity with each other during tournaments. Though we can’t restrict anglers from fishing where they want to fish (as long as it’s in bounds), there are some unwritten rules when it comes to fishing near other anglers…

The most important “rule” is a simple one: give people space, respect their area.

No, an angler cannot reasonably expect have an entire cove or shoreline to himself. In most instances, anyway. If you’re fishing a tiny cove, like the one by the ramp at Lake Maspenock, to the left of the beach, you shouldn’t have to worry about an angler rolling up beside you and casting.

But again, it’s not something we can enforce, so that’s where common sense and respect come into play.

Another common sense “rule” is, don’t cast into a spot from which an angler just caught a fish. This has happened before, one time resulting in a catch by the other angler, a young kid, who had previously been spoken to about encroaching on this person’s spot. Some words were exchanged, and the kid never fished with us again.

That’s unfortunate, of course. We don’t want to see that happen. Ever. But sometimes it’s unavoidable. I think most of us would have reacted in the same manner given the circumstances.

In general, however, this sort of thing is entirely avoidable through mutual respect. Just give people space. If someone is fishing docks along a shoreline, go around them…and keep going, don’t start fishing the next dock. No one likes a leap-frogger. Again, anglers can’t have all the docks, but paddle-pedal-motor 50 or 75 yards down the shoreline before tossing a line.

If you’re unsure where an angler is fishing, ask them. An angler can’t reasonably expect to lay claim to the shore and offshore, you know. So if they’re fishing offshore, go on and fish the shoreline as you pass. Just don’t cast out where they’re fishing, unless of course you’ve gone 50 or 75 yards past them. It’s game on at that point.

I mentioned common sense above, which a lot of this stuff is, but even common sense requires some sort of knowledge or experience as a foundation, so if you’re unsure (especially those new to tournament fishing), just ask someone. “Which way should I go around you, left or right?” “Mind if I fish this shoreline as I pass?” Don’t worry about it. I have no doubt that those who fish our tournaments will respond kindly. If you don’t ask, however…no guarantees. Words may fly.

We don’t want that, of course, so just be mindful of each other on the water, give each other a respectful berth when passing or fishing the same general area.

This is our fourth year and we’ve had very few instances where these unwritten rules have been broken. We’d like to keep it that way.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Stay the hell out of my spots!