With more anglers on the water today than in the previous 20 years, one thing has become very apparent. A lot of anglers cannot find their own fish! Now let’s address the main problem…overcrowded lakes. It is insane, the number of boats on our area lakes and waterways compared to twenty years ago. The recent pandemic is also a major contributor to this issue as well. Boat’s sales soared in 2020 with many people not working and schools being shut down. A big majority of Americans all across the country took to the lakes and outdoors which is a great thing! Nothing bad can come of getting folks, old and young alike, out in the great outdoors. I mean what’s the worst thing that can happen?
Well let me give you an idea and a few examples. First, overcrowded boat ramps! It amazes me at how seven days a week, you have to wait in line just to launch your boat. Just two short years ago, you could go to any boat ramp Monday thru Thursday and NEVER have to wait to launch or worry how far you’ll have to park your truck and trailer after you launch your boat. Many of today’s lakes, especially Sam Rayburn or sometimes at Toledo Bend, it might be necessary to request an Uber just to get back to the ramp after parking your truck and trailer. Several times this past year I’ve seen people parked almost a mile from the ramp they launched at. It’s insane!
Now that we’re on the water and ready to go fishing, now let’s crank our motor and head to our favorite spot. Oh wow… guess what, after you run 5 miles up the lake dodging jet skiers and pleasure boaters who have not had a boater safety course, you arrive at your favorite spot, and someone is already there. It’s the same person who saw you yesterday catching fish there. Shocker…but that’s exactly how it is today. There are more people scouting and spying on other anglers like detectives trying to solve a murder mystery. I mean I’ve seen guys using binoculars and watching other anglers at a distance only to wait until they move and then swoop in and mark that location with their electronics so they can return on another day. Tournament anglers are especially targeted and it’s even worse if you have an advertising wrap on your boat. But one thing I’ve done several times just to throw off would be scouts and detectives, is to fake hook sets and I’ve gone as far as to pretend I just caught a fish by leaning over the side of the boat and acting like I’m releasing a fish. It’s quite amusing to watch who moves into the area I just left. I think anyone who has a pair of binoculars in their boat is pathetic.
Next, are what I call “GPS robbers.” These guys are the worst and most unethical anglers on the water. If they see a well-known angler, guide or pro, they will ride up and down the lake looking for these good anglers and will shut down and idle towards the area they are in and hit their GPS button on their electronic units to mark the spot so they can come back later after the angler leaves. While I have never shot anyone before, this is the one thing that I might consider as a consequence for anglers who practice this technique.
Bass fishing is hard enough today with so many anglers competing for a limited number of fishing spots. It just makes an angler mad when you have people on the lake spying on other fishermen and looking to raid their best spots, especially the guides who work very hard to build a reputation for catching fish. This is how they make a living, and it affects their pocketbook when other anglers pull up on their best spots and catch fish. If you are one of those who needs help finding fish, hire a guide and let him show you how to read your electronics so you can find your own fish. It’ll be the best money you ever spent and well worth your time. Till next time, find your own fish and don’t forget to set the hook! – Steve Graf