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Brad Laabs: Remember your manners on the lake this summer

I have written several times over the last couple of years about fishing etiquette at both the landing and on the water. After several experiences over the last week, I am compelled to write a few reminders. I can’t believe everybody doesn’t read my column and follow my previous advice! I hope this one gets through to a few boaters that need reminders. I am sure the rest of us don’t need any reminders about do’s and don’ts at the access and on the lake.

The first “don’t be that guy” reminder, is about getting in line at the boat ramp and not having anything ready to go. I had the privilege (along with several other boats) to participate in watching the long list of equipment getting loaded into the first boat in line. They had coolers, inner-tube, fishing rods, tackle boxes, life jackets, clothing, and a landing net to load from the back of the truck (after they un-tarped and un-strapped the boat while being first in line).

With four people present for their event, it was obvious only one of them knew what to load into the boat, or how to carry anything. This did provide time for one of them to be busy texting and another of the group to walk leisurely up to the outhouse to relieve themselves. They then put the boat in the water and tied it to the dock on the side the ramp is located instead of moving it to the other side and making room for the boat in front of me to launch.

We all got to participate in the cell phone conversation the captain of the ship was involved in that prevented him from pulling away in a timely fashion after everyone was on board. I don’t think this crew intends to be so selfish, insensitive, and unaware. I think they will find themselves recognizing the importance of efficiency and courteously the next time they try to launch behind someone like themselves.

Another “remember, it’s all about me” experience was the boater that parked the truck and trailer in a convenient location — for them. It was not, however, convenient for the rest of the boats attempting to maneuver at the access. I am sure they just didn’t expect anyone else to be using the ramp area on an early Sunday morning. I did get my prayers in after confessing my sinful thoughts about them.

I watched a couple of frustrated guys a couple of years ago pull a trailer to the jackknife position to make room at the access. I was tempted to recreate the same lesson, but I resisted. I am sure the boater that came back to the situation is more highly aware, and thinks about others and not just themselves at the accesses now. Again, I am sure they were not being jerks, they just didn’t know any better. After reading this, I know it won’t happen again.

For those that like to park inches away with your trailer in the parking lot, just a reminder that some of us need just a little more room, even being experienced with maneuvering trailers, a foot is better than a few inches....I’m just saying...

On the water, don’t motor up to the spot and shut down right next to the boat that is already there. No doubt you had plans to already fish that location, just shut down off full throttle and idle in next time. It may help keep the fish active for all the boats that end up in the same spot.

It can always be fun and challenging to fish a two boat spot with five or six boats. Everyone will learn better boat control from the experience! Please pay attention to what other anglers close to you are doing. It can be inconvenient to untangle lines from two different boats. Getting them untangled in the same boat can be difficult enough. Casting your plug over another boats’ lines (especially when they are anchored and using bright colored floats) can rate as another “don’t be that guy (or gal)” behavior.

When running across the lake, I know it is fun to show others how fast your boat is and cut in front of others so they jump your wake. Next time, just don’t cut as close as you did this last time.

I am working on my patience and tolerance. I am trying out my Zen attitude. I focus on staying relaxed, but with some of these situations I just end up with my “C’mon man! Are you kidding me!” attitude. Please think about others at the access and on the water and “don’t be that guy”!

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs’ Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)