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Bass boat etiquette
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Posted by jrhink
4/3/2021 7:50 AM
I’m new to fishing from a boat. This will be my first spring/summer on a boat. I’ve been practicing at boat ramp and breaking motor in. I feel like I do pretty well with boat ramp etiquette. I have everything ready before I back down ramp. What about etiquette on the lake. Like how fast to pass a boat thats fishing, how many boats should fish in a slough.
I just don’t want to be “that guy”. I would appreciate any pointers from you guys on proper etiquette on the water. Thanks in advance.
Posted by Springmillvol
4/3/2021 8:02 AM
A couple of things off the top of my head. If the ramp is busy, try to use one side of the ramp to allow another or sometimes 2 to back in as well. I try to slow down and give wide birth to other anglers. Most of all just remember how you would like to be treated when on the water. Also, be patient. Chick is by far the busiest lake I’ve been on and everyone doesn’t have the same on the water etiquette as you. Don’t let those who throw manners out to window for the chance at $500 check get to you. Also be aware as some of the big boats and wake boats throw some waves that can be dangerous. Be careful and enjoy!! Good luck out there.
Posted by Gator
4/3/2021 10:08 AM
Springmillvol offered excellent advice. I might add that most feel 100 yards is a good distance when around other boats especially passing. Safety should always be #1 concern.
Posted by Captain Hazmat
4/3/2021 12:24 PM
Turn your headlights off when backing down the ramp in the dark. Somehow we have forgotten that. It’s blinding and hard to back down when someone lights are blaring in your eyes.
Posted by rsimms
4/3/2021 1:18 PM
There are hard & fast rules for safety in passing and crossing situations. This shows some bare bones basics, plus a free online course: https://www.boatus.org/navigation-rules/ Or here's another free online course TWRA uses: https://www.boat-ed.com/

As for etiquette, it can vary in every situation. The bottomline is that you should ask yourself, "If I were that person (fishing in another boat), how would I feel if I did what I'm thinking about doing." If it would piss you off, or even be a minor aggravation, don't do it.
Posted by fischnrod
4/3/2021 2:46 PM
I try my best to prepare my boat for launch away from the ramp so I don't interfere with others launching and I stay away from other boats as far as I can because you never know when their boat might dart to the left or right. If I head into a slough and it's full of boats I just move on but if there is plenty of room I 'll fish if it looks good. To me 50 yards is good as long as I don't head in the other boats direction but I always make sure they are not heading my way because I don't want to pull in front of somebody going down the bank fishing but I will pull in behind them and fish the same way they are if they are moving. A football field distance is hard to do with the lake as crowded as it is now . I wish it was less crowded but it is what it is.
Posted by BulletTJ
4/3/2021 6:00 PM
If someone is sitting on point fishing and not moving, I will ask them if they mind if I go around them. I will stop casting until I am clear of them. Who it is also matters to me. I have been catching fish and a father and son will get close to me, if I am just fun fishing I will invite them to join me. If it is just two guys I may not say anything. I love to see kids catch fish. As far as distance to stay away from others that are fishing. Just use your common sense. Ask yourself how you would feel if they were moving in on you and where would you be comfortable with the distance. Stay at least that far away. Good fishing.

Edited by BulletTJ 4/3/2021 6:01 PM
Posted by FishingwithRusty
4/5/2021 9:25 AM
some sound advice, as you spend more time navigating the ramps and lake you'll see situations where you think " i wish they......" make note of those as things NOT to do.

i'll add some thoughts:
load and unload as fast as possible, get off the ramp and out of the way as quickly as possible
its ok to fish behind other folks, you should NEVER get within casting distance of another boat without their consent
your boat makes less wake on pad/trimmed up than it does coming off pad, pushing by someone and then putting it back up
if theyre fishing in the channel then they expect boats to go by, do so at a speed & distance that YOU feel is safe
if you install a head/flood light on the front of your boat DO NOT leave it on while running at night, rig it on a switch so you can flip it on and off
be thoughtful of your wake! it sucks to have your boat slammed up against the dock when its tied up to it

Edited by FishingwithRusty 4/5/2021 9:33 AM
Posted by WaterChap
4/5/2021 10:34 AM
Rusty, I appreciate what you shared about being on pad creating less wake, as well as fishing channels.

Couple of other thoughts. Be mindful of people fishing from the bank. They have one spot and no easy way to move. Try not to mess up their spot or fish their water. And I give people fishing out of kayaks or canoes a great deal of consideration as well. I’ve had VERY large boats drop to an idle and pass me with no wake when I was fishing out of a canoe and I was grateful. I do the same with paddle boards or anyone else out there with low or no power.

Edited by WaterChap 4/5/2021 10:35 AM
Posted by finbully
4/5/2021 1:14 PM
Also at the ramp don't take up more space than what you need to launch. For example, CF is a 3 wide ramp but a lot of people take up room so only 2 can occupy the ramp at once.

If you are not experienced at backing, practice in a lonely parking lot.

Don't power load. If you do power load then don't bitch about the holes at the end of the ramp when you back your trailer into them.
Posted by Strato-G
4/5/2021 5:34 PM
Ramp procedure...Saturday @ 6:15 AM, I was preparing my tub for launch at Harrison Bay...I had stopped in the open docks parking area, 5or 6 other rigs went past. As I readied & pulled forward, all the other rigs had parked on both sides in front of restaurant & Ranger office entrance. Some out of vehicles standing & talking...Fortunately enough room for me to pass thru & proceeded to launch as no other was ready...Lights on on 1 vehicle, turned off when I ask...

Suggest getting ready prior, do not park on both sides...We still were in prior to the ones who passed us as we were preparing...jmo2$ worth.
Great points & suggestions on post already...thanks to those who put the effort forward.

Posted by jrhink
4/5/2021 6:26 PM
I want to thank everyone for the information that was posted. My son and I really appreciate the pointers that you guys shared. We hope everyone has a great spring/summer on the water.
Posted by Rob Lee
4/5/2021 7:59 PM
There wasn’t much today in Wolftever Creek. It was pretty much a non stop parade of hot shot wannabe morons. Unbelievable!
Posted by elwestb
4/6/2021 8:33 AM
If you want to see have some fun and learn about boat ramp "what and what not to do's" get yourself a comfortablr lawn chair, smear on some sun screen, get a cooler with some drinks and go pick out a nice shady spot under the pine trees at the Wolftever Ramp on Memorial Day weekend any time after about 1pm. Any ramp will work but I just have had some halirous times there. You can have a blast watching boaters trying to back a boat trailer down the ramp to launch. Example, Dad will be in the boat and Mom is trying to back into the water see-sawing back and forth across both sides of the the ramp. Dad is being very helpful yelling, screaming and shouting at her. Mean while Mom is now angry and frustrated and starts crying. On occassions Mom will even exit the vehicle and attempt to leave! Then the kids that are in the vehicle after seeing Mom crying, they all start crying. Finally they get the boat into the water and ready to lanch. Well almost, we now need to prep the boat and get out the life jackets, skis, pull tubes, arrange the coolers and seating areas. They seem to especially like to do this setting on the ramp while about half way in the water. Now we are in the water and ready to go! But that's when they discover they have a dead battery that hasn't been charged in months or they run the battery down trying to start the engine with either no gas or gas that's old from last September on Labor Day! Later on in the afternoon you can witness the happy boaters as they come in and attempt to load and once again try to back down the ramp and then put the boat back on the trailer with all the merry sun baked, blistered boaters. It can be fun to watch if you aren't trying to load or unload yourself that is why you want to be over there under the pine trees in the shade!

Edited by elwestb 4/6/2021 8:46 AM
Posted by Springmillvol
4/6/2021 8:45 AM
Rob Lee - 4/5/2021 7:59 PM

There wasn’t much today in Wolftever Creek. It was pretty much a non stop parade of hot shot wannabe morons. Unbelievable!


Some folks fish like it’s a job LOL
Posted by ranger518vx
4/6/2021 9:16 AM
Hilarious, but very true elwestb!
Posted by jcodylew
4/6/2021 11:39 AM
always a good idea to keep a flippin stick, some heavy braid, and a weight anywhere from 1-2 ozs… it is a GREAT deterrent when you flip it at the side of their freshly wrapped 80,000 dollar rig after you catch a few and they come close enough to fish out of your livewell. In all seriousness tho, like others have stated just use common sense and treat others with the same respect you expect. If even 1/2 the people out there would do this we could ALL have a better time.
Posted by finbully
4/6/2021 12:31 PM
elwestb - 4/6/2021 8:33 AM

If you want to see have some fun and learn about boat ramp "what and what not to do's" get yourself a comfortablr lawn chair, smear on some sun screen, get a cooler with some drinks and go pick out a nice shady spot under the pine trees at the Wolftever Ramp on Memorial Day weekend any time after about 1pm. Any ramp will work but I just have had some halirous times there. You can have a blast watching boaters trying to back a boat trailer down the ramp to launch. Example, Dad will be in the boat and Mom is trying to back into the water see-sawing back and forth across both sides of the the ramp. Dad is being very helpful yelling, screaming and shouting at her. Mean while Mom is now angry and frustrated and starts crying. On occassions Mom will even exit the vehicle and attempt to leave! Then the kids that are in the vehicle after seeing Mom crying, they all start crying. Finally they get the boat into the water and ready to lanch. Well almost, we now need to prep the boat and get out the life jackets, skis, pull tubes, arrange the coolers and seating areas. They seem to especially like to do this setting on the ramp while about half way in the water. Now we are in the water and ready to go! But that's when they discover they have a dead battery that hasn't been charged in months or they run the battery down trying to start the engine with either no gas or gas that's old from last September on Labor Day! Later on in the afternoon you can witness the happy boaters as they come in and attempt to load and once again try to back down the ramp and then put the boat back on the trailer with all the merry sun baked, blistered boaters. It can be fun to watch if you aren't trying to load or unload yourself that is why you want to be over there under the pine trees in the shade!


I'll add, get large cards numbered from1 to 10 like you used to see in Olympic judging. Rate the skills by holding up the cards. We used to do this and most of the goobers did not even realize what we were doing. Those that did, usually cracked up and some even joined us.
Posted by Rob Lee
4/6/2021 9:54 PM
If the restaurant at Harrison Bay served adult beverages I would love to set out on the deck on holiday weekends and knock the frost off a cold one. When I was in high school (73-74) my best friend got a small boat with motor. It was great. We would put in at Cowboy's in Dandridge on Douglas Lake. Rick would back that boat down the long ramp a ways and I would get out pick up the rear to straighten it up. We did this a few times until he learned. Of course, not near the boat traffic in those days. I'm sure we were laughed at. There is however, a big difference in being inexperienced or a novice boat owner and a inconsiderate moron.
Posted by Driller920
4/6/2021 11:00 PM
Funniest thing I’ve read in long time but so true!!
Posted by wjhfish
4/6/2021 11:05 PM
Just don't get in such a hurry to launch your boat and get out of others way that you forget the important things such as putting in the plug or removing boat straps. I am guilty of both and I would bet most folks on this site is guilty also.
Posted by RobN
4/15/2021 1:09 PM
A lot of solid points - my biggest learning as a boater and fisher is patience with others, it is tough some times. There is a show on youtube called Miami boat ramps - at times it is educational but mostly just highlights (with actual video) the suggestions listed above
Posted by mstrdan
9/6/2021 10:19 AM
Being new here I am just now reading most of these posts. I find them very helpful and sometimes entertaining. I am sure I have given someone a chuckle or to at the ramp. having a new to me old tinny it is sometimes a little frustrating trying to trailer it by myself when the area is busy. It does give me the opportunity to practice patience. Each ramp has it’s own challenges so it is a learning experience. For my current rig I know I will have wet feet when I am done. To old for a balance beam walk. Etiquette on the water is something few boaters practice these days. Although I will give exceptions to the days that are so crowded that having a lane to go through is usually quite narrow. Slowing down is not an option for many. Sitting in a boat like mine is like a roller coaster ride at times lol. Still I have a good time and do my best to smile and wave. Now I will be looking for some good quiet spots to fish and that is why I go out anyway. Have fun y’all
Posted by screwball
9/8/2021 7:53 AM
done this many times on Loudon. I have even seen people get body slammed when not following a warning from a boater waiting to put in. Mostly rich kids with daddys boat and have no idea about ramp procedure.In the situation of wife no being able to back a trailer I have gone and backed it in for her.

Edited by screwball 9/8/2021 7:55 AM
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