Boat Etiquette: Tips on How to be a Better Fishing Boat Mate

Do you know some essential boat etiquette before you hit the water? Let’s talk about some ways on how you can be a great boat mate on your next fishing trip.

Fishing from a boat is a team sport. The unity of the guide, anglers and crew are crucial to the success of a fishing boat. Guides will get the anglers onto the right place at the right time, then the anglers are to proceed with getting accurate casts into those spots, hook and eventually land the fish. All movements should be unified and streamlined to attain maximum effectiveness, and it all comes down to being a good boat partner.

On a fishing Vanuatu trip with Ocean Blue Fishing, you’ll be on a fully equipped boat built for sport fishing purposes and you will be sharing this boat with other like-minded fishermen. Boats are crucial in our game of hunting predators of the deep and will almost always produce results.

Kindness is Key

Getting on the good side of the rest of the crew on the boat is a great start. Everyone has paid for their trip equally but being a cool cat invites positive vibes and will create reciprocity among the rest. Small acts like getting the guides and guests drinks while you are at the esky, sharing lens wipes and even offering to wipe your guides’ glasses while doing yours are great acts of kindness that will be appreciated.

Sharing is Caring

Fishing gear can get really expensive, I get it, trust me. But sharing some spare leader, swivels, split rings and other small terminals will be greatly appreciated. Expect reciprocity from the rest. Love photography and videography? Share your pictures and video clips with the rest of the guests at the end of the trip. Sharing ideas, techniques and tips are also welcome, as long as you don’t try to force feed your boatmates with your “100% guarantee way to set the hook right” technique that obviously isn’t working.

Going the extra mile on this one, but if your boatmate is not having much success while you’ve been slaying the fish cast after cast, offer to lend them your effective lure to catch some fish, while you chill out and drink a victory beer on the captain’s seat.

Casting Courtesy

When the bite is hot is when accidents happen. As much as we all want to hook up, we must remember that safety is always a priority, and hooking your boatmates ear with your 5/0 GT recorder can leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. Let everyone know that you are casting before you go full send on your cast. A good solid “CASTING” a few seconds before you do so will alert the rest on the boat that you are going to swing your 100g lure over their heads.

The best casting spot will be on the bow end of the boat where you have a 180-degree casting range. A “bow-hog” is always looked down upon so rotate with other guests on board to allow all anglers chances at casting from the good spot. I recommend a good 30 minutes per angler on the bow before a rotation is needed.

A Clean Boat is a Safe Boat

The boat is the guide’s office, so treat it with respect. Help keep the boat clean and tidy by knowing where to chuck your empties and other rubbish. Keep your slops, shoes, tackle bags stored away neatly so they won’t become a hindrance to others on board. Having a clean and spacious deck when hooked up can make a huge difference in the day’s success.

Eyes on the Prize

Fishing guides have trained their eyes to see even the smallest sign of fish, may it be a slight shadow swimming over reef, a bust up of tuna kilometers away or a school of bait being marauded by hungry predators, but they cannot see 360-degrees at all times. The more eyes looking for signs of feeding fish, the higher the chances of success. If your guide or boatmates don’t see the fish and you do, point it out to them.

Following these top tips will not only ensure everyone of a great fishing trip, but you may also create lasting friendships with the people you’ve fished the last week with. Kindness and courtesy are always best, whether it’s on a Vanuatu fishing trip or at home.

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Boat Etiquette: Tips on How to be a Better Fishing Boat Mate

John is originally from the Philippines. John has extensive guiding experience throughout Asia and...Learn more

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