Intrusion

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So, you are like everyone else.   You get the chance to go fishing and you are annoyed when someone else had the same idea?    Join the club.    I would say we all belong to that same group:  We like to have it to ourselves.    Let’s face it:  Every day that goes by more people live here.   This is not a situation that will “get better.”

You have to adjust, make the best of it.    I use kayaks.   The advantage of a kayak is access to water so shallow the power boats won’t be in there.    I actually think it is amazing that you don’t have to deal with more people all the time.    I think it is a fact that most people don’t get the chance to go out as often as they would like.    “Make a good plan.”   Can you pick a location where you are less likely to experience intrusion?     You should be able to pull that off.      Choose a spot that is closest to a popular boat ramp?  You may have intrusion.   Put in some thought:  See if you can’t minimize the odds that you will have intrusion.

I’m like you and we’re in a minority.   Years ago when I started meeting people in the fishing community from this fishing forum I was asked the question “How come we never have met out on the water?”

The answer was pretty easy:  If I saw people in an area I never got close enough to talk to them.   This puts me in a different category.  A lot of the people out there will intentionally go toward others.   I would say it instantly made me popular.   I was obviously going fishing (a lot) but no one ever saw me.  

Others who aren’t like us seek out the human contact.   I call the overall principle “The Magnet Affect”.    If you’re out there and only one person appears on the horizon, there is a 90 % chance it’s going to pass within yards of you.   Captain Mel Berman, now seven years departed, we are out on the water and Mel he is a people person.   He loved people.     We were out there and these guys got close enough to have a conversation.   Mel is cordial and the other guy with us says “at least they were nice guys.”   Mel says “It doesn’t mean I want to hook my damn lure on their anchor rope.”   I laughed.    Even Mel fit into our category:  Likes people but he doesn’t want them around when he is fishing.

Use it as an opportunity to maybe teach someone.   I’ve had people wanting to throw a castnet where I have people fishing and I’ve told them another location nearby that will get them their bait and not mess up the fishing.     Believe it or not, a lot of people just don’t realize several levels of intrusion.     A little tact and assertiveness and maybe the same guy isn’t doing this to dozens of other people in the future.  Teach them, they may not choose to do the same thing again.   I mean, showing up and throwing a castnet right next to where someone is fishing?      Maybe they don’t know.   This would fit in the category “OK to say something.”    Idiots are evenly distributed among water users with a slight leaning toward jetskiers as intruders.   

When faced with the worst intruders the easiest thing to do it to pick up and move on.    Just get out of there.    As rude as they may be, why let it ruin your day?   There are fish to be caught somewhere else.    I have had my run-ins with people.    Sometimes there is rudeness that is enough to justify a response.    The older I get the less likely I am to even bother.    One thing you have to understand about human behavior:  A lot of people don’t care if you are upset with them.  I have the Sheriff number programmed in my phone.    If it is something really bad, I’ll make a call.      In Florida it is actually illegal to “impede the ability of someone trying to catch a fish.”     Tough to prove but it is possible it could apply.

Sharing the water is part of the deal.    Your intrusion, should it happen, often occurs when you set up in a location that is “the only way in.”     Tell yourself “If someone wants to come through, I’m not going to be upset.”    I’ll wave people through and when they pass I’ll say “Hey, it’s the only way through.  I’ve got no problem with it.”

In general, if you plan it out right you can minimize some of this.  

The lesson from my mother.  And maybe from church, I don’t know, I usually ditched church to go fishing:  Do unto others.    I am not an intruder.   Never have been.   My father taught me everything I knew about fishing.   We weren’t allowed anywhere near anyone else.     They would be catching fish and us kids would want to crowd in:  It wasn’t allowed.     My father set a lot of good examples but that’s one that stuck.    I don’t move in on anyone else.   Do you want to be “that guy”?   A fact of life:   If people see you are catching fish, you are probably going to have company.

Fistfights are no good.   Getting shot is even worse.     Intrusion is part of the game.     If you absolutely must, say something.   If you can just leave and go have a good time elsewhere:  I’d vote for that.   It is supposed to be fun.    Don’t let someone else make it not be fun.    Be the bigger man.    Having the water to yourself is great.     It just doesn’t happen as often as we would like.    Be ready for it.   Adjust when you need to.  And don’t let anyone ruin your day.    Life is too short.

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Neil Taylor
Full time kayak fishing guide, Neil was an advocate for conservation since before the time he started guiding. Outdoor writer, speaker and radio show host, Neil connected closely with Captain Mel Berman and did many positives with Mel to promote ethical angling. After Mel passed away, Neil managed www.capmel.com and eventually became that web site’s owner.