10 Tips for being the Perfect Fishing Buddy


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Nothing is more annoying than going fishing with someone that drives you up the wall. Every fisherman has their favorite people to invite fishing because they are enjoyable to fish with. With nearly 20 years of fishing, I have made some mistakes that cost me fishing buddies. I have also fished with people that I promised myself I would never fish with again depending on the crime. Fishing is supposed to be fun, not stressful. The last thing anyone wants to do is have a miserable trip because of another person. If you get invited to go fishing with someone new, here are 10 tips to being the perfect fishing buddy and maybe have a fishing partner for life.

10. Never bringing the bait
It’s pretty much self-explanatory. Don’t rely on other people to bring the bait all the time. Try to make time to get the bait before the trip for yourself. If you’re going on someone else’s boat, you may want to bring all the bait as a “Thank you.” Talk this over before the trip. If you don’t have time to prepare, make sure it’s ok with the other person that he brings the bait. The other person may only bring enough bait for himself and he will not be happy if he has to share with you because you did not bring any for yourself. If you don’t have the time, let them know.

9. Credit
Don’t be the guy that takes credit for someone who catches a fish. It doesn’t matter if you take them fishing or show them a spot. It takes away from the person who actually caught the fish. Enjoy the catch with whoever is involved and cheer each other on. Catching a fish on a boat sometimes can be all about teamwork. Everyone who is involves get the credit. Sometimes it has nothing to do with anyone but the person on the rod.

I once was part of a group that took credit for everything I did. They acted like it was all because of them why I was turning out to be a decent fisherman. Even though I was spending every minute possible on the water. Nothing I did was because of my hard work. One guy even took credit for me catching my first steelhead who didn’t even own the boat. Because of this the experience becomes less because it was like I was never even there. The fish I remember the most are on the boats of captains/guides who share in the experience. They are excited about the fish for the person. My buddy Ed B has taught me a lot about fishing Lake Michigan. He has got me into many fish over the years. I know that! However, he has never pushed it and taken credit for those fish. When a great Captain/Guide puts people on fish they don’t need any credit. The smiles and excitement on their guest face is all they need.

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My buddy Sam is one of the best Captains there is. He may of put us on fish but he always celebrates other catches as theirs. Plus it’s always a great time on his boat.

8. Drunkenness
Fishing with drunk people can be annoying and can be a safety hazard if you’re on a boat. Having a few is all right but when a person starts to get too drunk they can be annoying. If a person becomes wasted, the trip may have to end when other people don’t want it to end. Don’t be the guy who gets wasted on fishing trips. If you are on a charter boat the trip may come to an end because the captains lively hood depends on it and they don’t want to risk your safety. I have heard of several charters ended early because their guest became too drunk.

7. Whining
Man have I fished with some whiners, guys that cannot be satisfied with just being on the water. They have to whine about every little thing that happens while fishing. I have also become angry because I have to re-tie 3940203 times because it seems like I snag everything in the river other than fish. Sometimes a person can be so miserable it ruins it for everyone. Fishing can be very tough and mentally challenging. Sometimes you’re the guy catching all the fish and sometimes you’re not catching anything. Sometime your snagging every single thing possible. Sometimes your coffee spills in the first 10  minutes. Sometimes your get a little wet. Don’t whine about it. Remember, it’s all about being on the water and having fun. It’s all about the adventure. Try your best not to be the whiner and enjoy the sport of fishing.

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This would have been a great trip. Everyone hooked fish but one guy. The guy was whining the whole time and all I remember about the trip was the guy crying how the fish would not bite for him.

6. Bragging and whining about numbers

If you are killing the fish and your buddy is not, don’t be the guy who brags about catching all the fish. It can be annoying being with someone who gloats about how awesome they are when you are not having a great day. The person not catching fish will feel down and not have an enjoyable time. I can go fishing with people and not catch fish. I am happy for the person who is. But, when they start gloating about how many fish they are catching, it can make me feel like crap that the days not working out for me. It sucks when your the person not catching anything. Help each other out so everyone can catch fish. Unless you are in a tournament, helping each other out should be the most important so everyone can catch fish.

On the other side, whining about not catching can also be super annoying. If your not catching fish and everyone is catching fish, don’t whine about it. You’re just having an off day and even the best fisherman have them. I have been fishing with several guys that just made the trip miserable because they were not catching fish. It sounds pathetic and just ruins the day for everyone. Fishing can be tough. Sometimes you’re the one smoking them and sometimes nothing is going right for you.

5. “Everyone catches fish but us”
I made this mistake once and I will never do it again. I had a buddy who took me out fishing on a really nice boat when I was 16. The fishing was extremely slow. I got home and said on a forum “everyone caught fish but us.” I didn’t mean anything by it but it offended the captain and never got invited back. Now that I look back on it I understand why he got mad. I was basically telling everyone he sucked even though that was not what I meant. It was a major ego killer on him.

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4. Never chipping in for gas or tipping
If you get invited to fish with someone and it requires gas, always make sure to chip in whenever possible. That can be the gas in the truck or the gas in the boat. If you can’t pay, be up front about it. You may want to pay for lunch or bring the beverages. Figure out a different way to help the person out who is paying the way. They may still want to go with you. If you really want to piss off a fishing buddy, don’t chip in. If you’re paying a professional to take you out, always make sure to tip. Boats are like money pits. Gas is expensive and every dollar will help a captain or a guide out in his life and family. It shows appreciation for the trip.

I once had a buddy who used people to go fishing. He would never chip in for gas for the vehicle or the boats. As soon as that person he was using would get sick of taking him all over, he would start using another person. The fishing community is smaller and eventually word spread and getting rides to fish was tough. I am pretty sure he no longer has anyone who takes him all over to fish.

3. Let the captain, captain
If you are on someone else’s boat, you are a guest of that person. The captain has the final say in everything. You can voice your opinion but if the captain does not like it, you need to agree and move on. If you don’t like it, you can either deal with it or just not go with that person anymore. The safety of you and the boat is on the captain. Unless you feel the captain is putting your life in harm’s way, you should never disobey a captain order. They have much more experience than you on the water. If you’re on a charter, captains lively hood depends on keeping you safe. If you don’t listen it will be an easy way to never get invited back or the trip will end early.

The same goes for captains who are on other people’s boats. When I am on other captain’s boats I do my best to help out wherever possible without ordering the captain around. They know there boat inside and outside and I have no right ordering the captain around. I may make a suggestion but it’s all up to the captain.  It is very much appreciated by the captain when you can help out run the boat smoothly the way the captain likes. I rarely have a hard time getting fishing with someone because of this etiquette. It is very important to let Captains run their own boat and you be a guest. Plus, it’s also nice not having to worry about anything if your not running the boat.

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No matter who is on the boat, the Captain is always in charge.

2. Secret Spots
If someone takes you to a secret spot and tells you not to share it with anyone, whatever you do, DO NOT take anyone else to that spot. This is an absolute guarantee you will not be invited back. Some people are very protective about their spots. If you can not honor this then tell that person you can’t hold that promise. However, not every spot is a secret either. If it’s in a very public spot don’t think every place you fish is your secret. Because I hate to break it to you, if it isn’t a boat river, a far walk or an out of the way spot, it isn’t a secret. However, if you don’t want a person to fish somewhere or don’t trust them, never take someone to that spot. If I take someone to a spot, I usually expect them to take someone back to that spot because of the awesome time we had. I really don’t like telling someone they can’t take someone to a spot. If I have a secret location, I usually just save it for myself and maybe some real close buddies.

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Maybe not my secret spot because I have such a far boat ride to get there but it is usually rewarding.

1. Know the plan and be prepared
Time is very precious and nothing is more annoying than waiting around for a person who is late. Changing the plan in the middle of the trip without it being discussed can be very frustrating as well. Canceling on someone minutes to hours before the trip will guarantee you to never be invited again. If you agree on a certain time, don’t be late. If you need to change the plan make sure to let the other person know what is going on as early as possible. This will allow the other person to adjust his schedule to meet your schedule or possibly find someone else to go with. When you show up, be as prepared as possible. Don’t be the person who causes everyone to wait for you. It’s a great way to never get invited to go again. Respect goes a long way.

Also, a little side note. If you show interest in fishing with someone and they finally invite you, do not reject the invitation. You might not get a second invite. Guys who fish a lot usually have their favorites whether it’s family or people who they enjoy fishing with.  If you do get a second invite, and you reject it again, you will definitely never get another invite. I have had people show interest in trips and then they can never go. I eventually move onto the next person who wants to fish and is serious. The serious fisherman does not have time to look around for people to fish with. They just want to go and enjoy someone’s company in the mean time.

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Great day on the water catching Lake Trout with my parents.

Fishing is suppose to be fun. When a trip is miserable due to people it can be no fun. Having a great fishing buddy is kind of like a relationship. This will depend on future trips with that person. Be honest and communicate what you expect with the person before you go. With all that being said sometime people will piss you off. You may need to look past some things. If it bothers you that much you should talk it over with that person so you can have many great memories together. If it’s a person that you don’t know and they do that on the first trip it might be better to look for another fishing buddy.

If you follow most of these tips you will have many people to fish with or one great buddy to fish with. Be a pain in the butt and you will not have many people to fish with, if any at all.

Do you have a pet peeve when fishing with others? What is your worse story of a person who you decided to never fish with again? Leave it in the comments below:

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