When you’re in the boat poling for bonefish, one angler is on the bow, ready for the shot. The other angler is back in the boat, without a rod in his or her hand. But if you’re not the one on the bow, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nap time – you can be a great Boat Buddy!
The Boat Buddy
The Boat Buddy can have an awfully big contribution to the fun and success of the angling day. Here are some ways you can help.
- Mind the line. This is the traditional role of the Boat Buddy. The angler on the bow strips line into a pile in the boat. You make sure the pile is tidy, not coiled on itself, and definitely not hooked around stray sandals or extra gas tanks or the butt of the ‘cuda rod. The corollary to this rule is that you should keep that area on the deck of the boat clear of stuff that the line could get tangled on.
- Rig other rods. Once you friend is up there and ready (but not before), you can work on rigging other rods. Maybe your bonefish rod needs a new leader or you need to finish up the haywire twist on the shark rod. This is an excellent time to get other gear ready so you can make the most of the time in your fishing day.
- Help spot fish. No, your eyes aren’t as good as your guide’s. No, you don’t have the extra height gained by standing on the bow. That’s OK – you can still help. The guide and the active angler can each only look in one place at one time – 6 eyes are better than 4.
- Tidy things up. It’s just a bad idea to have a bunch of random stuff loose in your boat. Loose stuff can snag fly lines, can be tripped over in the heat of the battle, and can fly out of the boat when you’re up on step. Help keep things tidy by putting loose flies back into their boxes, zipping up boat bags, putting away lifejackets and raincoats, tucking sandals up into storage areas, picking up bottle caps, etc etc etc. Every little bit helps.
- Be quiet. No matter what you do – whether you’re eating your lunch or rigging another rod – stay quiet at all times. When we say quiet here we’re less worried about talking, and much more worried about anything banging around in the boat. Some classic noisemakers that you want to avoid are slamming the cooler, dropping anything on the deck, dragging anything along the deck, and banging rods in and out of rod holders. Fish on the flats don’t like stuff banging around above their heads.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to be a good Boat Buddy? Awesome – leave us a comment us help us all out!
Really fishing one at a time? Maybe a drinking game would help.pass the time. And thus make you a better boat buddy. Im thinking I’d suck!!! Love your work Mike
Yup, one at a time. That’s how we do. SOP. Flatsfishing 101. Chapter-n-verse. Textbook.
Tom Larimer says
Be a good fishing buddy to your boat buddy… Don’t hawg the deck. Set a time limit for how long each rod gets on deck. It’s frustrating to go fish for fish if your boat buddy can’t get the job done.
Scott Owens says
Never Bo nefished. That being said have fished from drift boats and frankly I hate it. Drift boats are nice, don’t get me wrong, comfortable, drift through pools , beach and get out ( yea! ) . The best option while in the boat is to allow one to fish while the other smokes a good cigar or takes a nip of some good bourbon or cognac.
True, I never get involved with the politics between guests, but if they ask I recommend a system where each person gets “X” number of shots and then the other is up on deck, regardless of whether fish are hooked or not. This is good for anglers of vastly different experience levels because it gives the beginner a chance to see experience in action (and hopefully learn from it) and it allows the old hand to get a few fish on without too much frustration.
Of course, this should be mutually agreed upon. When my dad and I fish together (guided) we basically trade off fish. So, he’s on deck until he gets it done, as am I (or until one of us is tired of standing up and willingly relinquishes the deck). We’ve never had a problem with this system… so far.
John Potter says
This is why we do mostly wade fishing when we go to the flats. The number of shots work well when there a lot of fish but if there only a few around it is pretty tough. On a sail fishing trip I caught one the first hr. them my friend was up and it was two days before the next snot came up. Not that I would have caught any during that period but the anticipation was not even there.
Gary Smith says
Never been on a guided trip where the guide allowed booze or smokeing on his boat. Nor would I want to be. The guys I fish with trade off every 30 minutes or after a shot at a bone hook up or miss.
I would not want to pay thousands of dollars to sit there and watch someone else fish, period. Not a type of trip I would choose. But I have never done the bonefish thing.
Marine Products says
Interesting advice that many fishermen can use when going on a fishing trip, having a good boat buddy with you can make all the difference between a pleasant and wonderful fishing trip and a stressful time.