Not surprisingly, my greatest recreational pastime is fishing. I prefer to fish during warmer months, yet as the months heat up, so do the fishing tournaments.
Captains, boat owners and even the part-time hobbyists become serious anglers. They’ll dust off their favorite lures that are ready for some water action. The payoff is the recognition of placing in a tournament.
Recently, I was privileged to fish in a local tournament and won third place with a 19.2-pound bonito. The tournament was charitable and fun, serious and lucrative, and brought fishing communities together. Most of all, I was impressed by how closely and accurately the tournament regulations and rules were followed. Like most sports and events, there are written and unwritten codes of etiquette.
Here is a short list of priorities to keep top of mind as you ready for high seas supremacy. The most important rule is to not crowd other boats vying for the same prizes—there is a lot of water out there to fish. Getting too close can lead to flaring tempers. While fishing in the latest tournament, two boats approached closely to where our lines were in the water, and my captain was having none of it. After salty language and hand gestures were exchanged, the other boats moved on and we continued our hunt.
Another important code of conduct is to be clean. Always leave the area you just fished tidied up. Whether it’s on your boat or another environment (possibly a shoreline or a lake), be mindful of nature and clean up after yourself.
Last, there are protected species of fish and with that comes certain regions and regulations associated with each. Watch out for catches that are highly regulated or banned. Have the knowledge handy and have a blast. Whether you place or not, the intention is to enjoy the day and the spirit of tournament season.