By Neil Taylor
That “secret spot”, the “honey hole”- Is it as prized as you think it is? Think outside of the box, not relying on the same location every time you go fishing. Sharing the water: Inevitable. Sharing information on “the end-of-the-rainbow”: Risky! Some considerations for etiquette, preservation of your favorite fishing grounds and enjoying your time on the water!
Searching for, finding and then preserving that perfect spot for fishing: The Honey Hole is a truth and a fallacy in one. The people who know the “where” frequently do not have the knowledge of the “when” or “how”. The top spots and shared information have been the source of tension between anglers, sometimes ending close friendships.
“Secret Spots” are usually not really as private and personal as anglers may think they are. The possessive thing doesn’t jive either because no one really “owns” any location regardless of how long they have fished it or any other criteria. Intrusion of other anglers into “my fishing spot” is something that is inevitable. Etiquette seems to be similar to what it has always been but with more people sharing the same amount of water and the social media such as Internet forums, the problem seems to get more attention. This is something that I am frequently asked: “How close is too close?” There are varying opinions and ideas on etiquette and approved rulings on courtesy. My opinion is that it is situational. In wide-open water situations, if you can land a cast where someone else in the area can land a cast, you have gotten too close.
In other situations that I like to call “tighter areas”, someone else may be fishing a point or a creek opening that is the only passable water for others to navigate to get to other fishing locations. This is where a little bit of communication goes a long way. Observation will show you where they are concentrating their efforts on the fishing. You will see where they would most likely not want you to pass and spook out the fish that are in that section of water. If you get their attention and tell them that you would like to pass by, you will then get their input on where they would like you to go. Reasonable requests usually get better responses than just picking a way to go and plowing on through.
We all have some locations that become favorites. In the bigger picture, your overall fishing plan should have a Plan B. That “perfect spot” is not always a pot of gold that you think it will be. For a multitude of reasons, it’s not always going to work out in that location. Porpoise, other anglers, other water users, poaching and illegal netting are just a few of the reasons why you need to have another location in mind to go. Another one? Fish move. Your perfect fishing hole can be incredible one day and empty the next. Know where you’re going to go if you arrive and it’s not going to work there. The heavier the pressure in one area, the better the fishing will be somewhere else. Be assertive and go and search out new fishing locations.
The final thought on the Pot of Gold fishing hole: If you found a spot that is that good, you might want to resist the urge to tell anyone about it. Should you want to share a fishing experience with someone and it is at one of these prized locations, make your requests for privacy of the information ahead of time and very clear. Even the best expressed requests for restriction of information end in catastrophe. Information on great fishing locations spread in a viral manner, particularly when in the hands of the wrong person. If you decide to share it with someone, be prepared for the consequences and don’t be surprised to find a parking lot of other anglers mining your gold.