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Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

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  • Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

    Last weekend raised some questions for me on the proper way to treat fishermen who are fishing right on or in a navigation channel. This weekend was an extreme example. The crappie were staging along the creek channels in Kentucky lake and the weather was nice. The lake is still at winter pool so navigating outside of the channel is risky. I would normally do my best to cruise by them as far away as possible so as not to disturb them, but the skinny water eliminated that option. I do a lot of fishing myself so I am sympathetic to not disturbing the area being fished. The first pass I made was at idle speed. This took about 30 minutes given that the channel to the lake is over a mile long and there was about 1 boat per 20 yards. It was very crowded. The second pass I made coming back in I kept my boat on plane at a speed that would produce as little wake as possible.

    As I mentioned I do a lot of fishing myself and even fish this particular channel very often. My preference when fishing would be that the pleasure boat pass me by as fast as they can do safely as opposed to idling by.

    Are there a set of rules that givern this intercation. Idle by or cruise by safely?

  • #2
    Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

    This question is debated all the time.

    1. You are responsible for the effect of your wake.
    2. Fishermen who crowd or block navigation channels do so at their own risk.

    See? It's easy.

    (if I can't pass far enough away on plane to minimize the effect of my wake, I personally feel compelled to pass slowly, cursing all the way.)
    John and Linda
    Long Island, NY
    Escapade III
    1992 Carver 26 Command Bridge
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    • #3
      Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

      If the fisherman are in the channel, and it is not a no wake zone, proceed at whatever speed makes the least wake, and works with your plans. That is how we do it in Barnegat Bay, NJ. It is simply not convenient due to the distance, to proceed at no wake speed, when they fish in the narrow 3 mi long channel. Sorry fisherman....

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      • #4
        Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

        Around here, and if your on a jet ski.....
        You circle the fisherman on your jet ski's and maybe do some tricks, make some noise and have a good time.
        Obviously these bored fisherman will be entertained by your antics and were just waiting for somebody like you to come along....

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        • #5
          Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

          If you've ever fished ocean, even inshore, the boat is ALWAYS rockin, so you should be used to the movement. Lake is flat and a wake sure isn't gonna' bother me.
          You can pass me at whatever speed/wake you want. Just not to close, especially if you can see I'm trolling.
          Just be sure to shoot me a wave of the hand or tip of the hat as you go by...

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          • #6
            Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

            Originally posted by ricohman View Post
            Around here, and if your on a jet ski.....
            You circle the fisherman on your jet ski's and maybe do some tricks, make some noise and have a good time.
            Obviously these bored fisherman will be entertained by your antics and were just waiting for somebody like you to come along....
            To others who may be reading this looking for answers, please do not follow ricohman's advice. I tried it this morning and the results were not as he described. No matter how many 180's I performed or high speed passes the fishermen became more and more furious upon each pass. Even our attempts to engage them in water gun fight were unsuccessful.

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            • #7
              Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

              An OP with a sense of humor, I like it! I'm a fisherman and either scenario works for me. Just stay as far away as safely possible.....

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              • #8
                Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

                I guess like anything else there are boaters who will slow down and boaters who will not. There are fishers who realize that just because they decide to fish in spot X does not make it a no wake zone and fishers who think where they decide to fish becomes a no wake zone. With that said it all depends on my mood. If I am dodging fishers all day then I tend to ignore them unless they are on a small boat with kids. I will say that no matter what mood I am in I always try to put as much distance between them and me if I decide to stay on plain.
                2013 Bayliner 255CR
                5.0MPI S/N:2A044802
                http://seawenchnc.blogspot.com

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                • #9
                  Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

                  stay out of range of thrown bait

                  While the best, for the fishermen, is no wake, and second best is plane, the worst is to cut to half speed "to be nice" and triple your wake. My vote is to stay on a plane. Waving lets them know you see them and made a conscious decision to do that.

                  Seems to me the fish would be more disturbed by a motor making noise for a long period of time (slow speed) than short (zipping by on a plane). Constant boat traffic will do them in regardless of speed.

                  if it's safe to do so, veer away from them. Always try to avoid lines out.

                  As someone said above, boats can take wake and if they can't, they are too small to be out there (or anchored incorrectly). A fisherman might get rocked around, but if he's sitting down like he should be, no problem--however, in my waters where there are large wakes as well as choppy water, and a salty taste, no one fishes from high chairs like the sparkle boys do. For that reason. When you occasionally see a high chair out on the bay, it's typically a transplanted mid-westerner (like lots of our Navy guys) who are used to lakes.

                  here's what gripes me around here: the edge of the channel, like you described, is often the best fishing. Our channel is 45' deep and the water around it is generally 20', maybe a low as 10', for at least a quarter mile in either direction and some places more than a mile. Flat sand bottom, no surprises. So there is no reason whatsoever for a pleasure boat to run in the channel, or not to go outside the channel to avoid an area with a lot of fishermen.

                  overall there are just as many discourteous people fishing as there are people driving boats; the problem is they are mixed in with us good guys who try to do it right.
                  A man of constant boat tinkering.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

                    For pleasure boats, if you're going to pass at planing speed then 1) your wake must not swamp their boat (i.e. you're in a 30' cruiser and they're in a jon boat), and 2) you must be able to pass more than 75' away. If you can't meet both these criteria then you have no choice but to pass them at no wake speed, even if it isn't a no wake zone.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

                      BUT, intentionally obstruction a navigational channel, for fishing or what ever reason, is a no-no too. But 2 wrongs don't make a right.

                      How is that saying, "use at own risk"?
                      '92 Chaparral 2550 SX Sport
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                      Tow with '04 F150 Larriat SuperCab 4x4 5.4 Triton
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                      • #12
                        Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

                        I can say any boat anchored in a channel that you pass at speed is possible to be stopped. I got a talking to when I passed a 30' cruiser in my 30' cruiser. He was in the channel and I swung out wide. The police boat came up and told me to pass at idle next time. I do my best to slow if its possible.
                        Boat: 1987 29' Cruisers Inc 297 Elegante. T/270 Crusaders. (SOLD)
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                        • #13
                          Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

                          The other day I was zipping through Jewfish Creek in Key Largo. It's a wide waterway and (depending on traffic) you can open it up without repercussion. It open to the bay and onto ocean side. I look ahead and see a young fellow on a paddle board...one of those stand up types...and he is fly fishing the mangroves (they do that all the time down here). Granted, I slowed to idle, which I am sure he appreciated. After passing I accelerated and then saw a 17' anchored and fishing off the stern--didn't slow at all, but waved.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

                            Originally posted by Natty Light View Post
                            To others who may be reading this looking for answers, please do not follow ricohman's advice. I tried it this morning and the results were not as he described. No matter how many 180's I performed or high speed passes the fishermen became more and more furious upon each pass. Even our attempts to engage them in water gun fight were unsuccessful.
                            Bravo ... and thanks for the heads up

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                            • #15
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                              Re: Proper etiquette for passing stationary fishermen along a navigation channel

                              Different locales = different customs. Here in Wisconsin in the early spring we also have fish runs at different times. On the Wolf River, Wisconsin River, Fox River and many of the flowages when the walleye are running there are areas that become so congested with anchored boats it's hard to get through them all. At some points all one can do is no wake because there are that many and they are that close to each other. If the area has room to permit it then shoot the center on plane.

                              On the other hand in open water if there are 5 to 20 boats all anchored in an area fishing is it really necessary to keep buzzing those folks who are also just trying to enjoy themselves? It's big water so why not leave then in peace? I know I don't need you to pass within 50' of me to tell that you are having a good time!

                              Awhile ago there was one boat that was really starting to cause problems pulling skiers anound anchored fishing boats. It was like they were trying to see how close they could get. So a number of the locals decided to start setting up anchor points that were right in their perfered path. Just spread out enough to cause them to have to change their routes. Became a real joke and no one won out in the end!


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