10 easy steps to courteous tournaments
- Respect everyone on the lake. Water encroachment is not a good practice whether the other boat's owner is entered in the tournament or not. Allow the distance required by the tournament rules to all other boats in your vicinity. Don't leave others awash in your wake as you leave or enter an area. Slow down well before nearing another boat.
- Have your boat ready to launch before getting to the ramp. Don't keep others waiting while you get rods and other equipment out of your tow vehicle, or while you do repairs on motor, etc. Launch quickly and do not use the headlights on your tow vehicle when backing in, use parking lights so that you don't blind everyone waiting to launch.
- When loading up at the end of the day move quickly and get out of the way of others trying to load their boats. Do your final tie-downs, etc. out of the way of the ramp.
- Don't litter. Leave areas around the ramp and the lake as clean as possible, cleaner than you found them if you have the time. Leave no mark where you have been and others will appreciate it.
- Control excess alcohol consumption. Drunken, rude behavior is shameful and reflects on all other anglers. This type of behavior does not represent the majority of sportsmen.
- Don't let winning prizes or money be the only reason you are there. Your rights are only as great as the others using the lake. Keep the fun in fishing and don't think that because you are entered in a tournament your rights are more important than someone not competing.
- Work hard to keep your fish alive and healthy. Leaving dead or dying fish on the side of the lake shows a lack of respect for the future and the fish. Others who see this have a right to assume the worst.
- Be aware of local and state laws, and abide by them. Buoys that carry signs warning you not to make a wake should be observed. Consider taking a boating safety course to educate yourself.
- Abide by the unwritten rules of sportsmanship at all times. Don't do anything to anyone else that you would not want done to yourself.
- Most importantly, don't think because someone else does something to you that it's fair to do it to someone else. Rudeness breeds more rudeness whereas an offer of friendship and respect is easier on your blood pressure and allows you to make many new friends. Use your common sense and the manners your mother taught you. Maintain a good image among all other anglers, you represent a very visible group and as such have a responsibility to demonstrate the best, not the worst of our natures.
Honey Hole Magazine, Inc.