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Co Angler Tips #13285251 09/18/19 06:24 PM
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JarrodMc Offline OP
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Hoping to squeeze into BFL as a co-angler this weekend on Rayburn. I want to make sure that I don’t make any critical mistakes that upsets my boater and keeps me in good graces. I’m not really talking about general fishing etiquette - more interested to know little things that cause frustration for the boater that may not be so obvious.

I know to try and speak with the boater in advance to get an idea of what/where we will be fishing so I can be more efficient with my tackle. I was thinking three rods (maybe 4 if plan includes the need for spinning tackle).

I will want to contribute to fuel expense as well as any other shared expenses. Should fuel expense be a set amount or should I consider how much we run the lake? For you boaters out there, what do you expect and/or appreciate in the way of contribution?

Thanks for your input.

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Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: JarrodMc] #13285256 09/18/19 06:28 PM
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Be quick to pack up to move spots, don't be the cause of a delay for him if you can avoid it. Expect to break off tackle that gets hung up and have a replacement for your preferred baits.


David Burton
2015 Skeeter FX 21

...and down goes PhotoBucket with the new Terms of Service... I predict they will be out of business or begging for forgiveness inside a month. 6/30/2017
Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: JarrodMc] #13285337 09/18/19 07:29 PM
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Have a drop shot ready at all times

Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: JarrodMc] #13285534 09/18/19 10:16 PM
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As said above, be ready to move at all times. Don't have 5 rods laid out neatly on the back deck so that you can grab whatever one you want and then it takes you 5 minutes to get ready. If you see that the boater says "let's move" and is in his seat 15 seconds later and waiting on you......just ask them to give you a two minute heads up so that you don't hold them up....they will appreciate it. Don't step/stand in seats, don't throw bottles/cans on the floor, offer them a drink when you get in the cooler. Do NOT cast into "fresh" water when a boater breaks off or is changing baits. If your first thought when a boater comes off the trolling motor and starts to re rig is "this is my chance to cast to new water".....then YOU are a problem. Don't cast in front of the boat....EVER. Don't long cast to the other side of the cove or creek because most likely he is going to work out that way. If you see that your boater is fishing the shoreline and there is a tree off the bank that he is going to go past....nothing wrong with saying "hey, do you mind if I cast at that tree" if you know he hasn't been casting at deeper structure. Did I say do NOT every cast in front of the boat yet?

All of these things are really simple. if you approach it from a standpoint that you are there to enjoy your day, learn some new water, MAYBE have a chance to fish with someone that knows more than you or that teaches you a new tactic (by your watching them), acknowledge to yourself that the boater has WAY more invested in that tournament than you have.....then most likely you will end up with a boater that will treat you better than other Co's are being treated.

How much to pay and when to pay. My recommendation is to pay BEFORE the day starts and tell them that if ya'll run more than that then you can add more. How much....well.....how much can you afford without being a big financial issue for you. I've had guys hand me $100 at the beginning of the day and tell me that if we burn more than that, then let them know. I've also had guys give me $40 at the beginning of the day and say "that's about all I got....I hope it covers half the gas".....those two people were treated the same.


Not saying that all boaters are kind and nice and will respond to your respect......most have been doing this a long time and have horror stories about Co's…..just as a lot of Co's have horror stores about Boaters. Question is....which came first? My believe is that if you follow the things I have said above, you will have a MUCH better experience and two things will happen: 1) you are going to have a more enjoyable day 2) you will do better overall on the Co'angler side of the tournament over all the tournaments you fish. You most likely will draw a guys some day that takes advantage of you respecting him and front ends you all day even though you are being respectful....but that will be on him....not you.

Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: JeffLStevens] #13285550 09/18/19 10:41 PM
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Ken A. Online Content
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Originally Posted by JeffLStevens
As said above, be ready to move at all times. Don't have 5 rods laid out neatly on the back deck so that you can grab whatever one you want and then it takes you 5 minutes to get ready. If you see that the boater says "let's move" and is in his seat 15 seconds later and waiting on you......just ask them to give you a two minute heads up so that you don't hold them up....they will appreciate it. Don't step/stand in seats, don't throw bottles/cans on the floor, offer them a drink when you get in the cooler. Do NOT cast into "fresh" water when a boater breaks off or is changing baits. If your first thought when a boater comes off the trolling motor and starts to re rig is "this is my chance to cast to new water".....then YOU are a problem. Don't cast in front of the boat....EVER. Don't long cast to the other side of the cove or creek because most likely he is going to work out that way. If you see that your boater is fishing the shoreline and there is a tree off the bank that he is going to go past....nothing wrong with saying "hey, do you mind if I cast at that tree" if you know he hasn't been casting at deeper structure. Did I say do NOT every cast in front of the boat yet?

All of these things are really simple. if you approach it from a standpoint that you are there to enjoy your day, learn some new water, MAYBE have a chance to fish with someone that knows more than you or that teaches you a new tactic (by your watching them), acknowledge to yourself that the boater has WAY more invested in that tournament than you have.....then most likely you will end up with a boater that will treat you better than other Co's are being treated.

How much to pay and when to pay. My recommendation is to pay BEFORE the day starts and tell them that if ya'll run more than that then you can add more. How much....well.....how much can you afford without being a big financial issue for you. I've had guys hand me $100 at the beginning of the day and tell me that if we burn more than that, then let them know. I've also had guys give me $40 at the beginning of the day and say "that's about all I got....I hope it covers half the gas".....those two people were treated the same.


Not saying that all boaters are kind and nice and will respond to your respect......most have been doing this a long time and have horror stories about Co's…..just as a lot of Co's have horror stores about Boaters. Question is....which came first? My believe is that if you follow the things I have said above, you will have a MUCH better experience and two things will happen: 1) you are going to have a more enjoyable day 2) you will do better overall on the Co'angler side of the tournament over all the tournaments you fish. You most likely will draw a guys some day that takes advantage of you respecting him and front ends you all day even though you are being respectful....but that will be on him....not you.


Great advice!

Communication before you get out on the water is critical. Ask the boater his what his expectations & pet peeves are before your day starts.

Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: JarrodMc] #13285579 09/18/19 11:14 PM
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Wow, very comprehensive response from Jeff thumb. I agree with Ken that it is very good advice, and any backseater should consider most of it, tournament fishing or otherwise.

It did teach me something. I learned that I could never be a co-angler in one of those deals roflmao. I understand the etiquette, but fishing wouldn't be much fun to me under those circumstances.

Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: TX Strampion] #13285594 09/18/19 11:25 PM
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THE BEST CO-ANGLER TIP......Don't be a co-angler.....,you can stay at home and play with yourself and not have to put up with a so called PRO angler!!! scared

Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: JeffLStevens] #13285747 09/19/19 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffLStevens
As said above, be ready to move at all times. Don't have 5 rods laid out neatly on the back deck so that you can grab whatever one you want and then it takes you 5 minutes to get ready. If you see that the boater says "let's move" and is in his seat 15 seconds later and waiting on you......just ask them to give you a two minute heads up so that you don't hold them up....they will appreciate it. Don't step/stand in seats, don't throw bottles/cans on the floor, offer them a drink when you get in the cooler. Do NOT cast into "fresh" water when a boater breaks off or is changing baits. If your first thought when a boater comes off the trolling motor and starts to re rig is "this is my chance to cast to new water".....then YOU are a problem. Don't cast in front of the boat....EVER. Don't long cast to the other side of the cove or creek because most likely he is going to work out that way. If you see that your boater is fishing the shoreline and there is a tree off the bank that he is going to go past....nothing wrong with saying "hey, do you mind if I cast at that tree" if you know he hasn't been casting at deeper structure. Did I say do NOT every cast in front of the boat yet?

All of these things are really simple. if you approach it from a standpoint that you are there to enjoy your day, learn some new water, MAYBE have a chance to fish with someone that knows more than you or that teaches you a new tactic (by your watching them), acknowledge to yourself that the boater has WAY more invested in that tournament than you have.....then most likely you will end up with a boater that will treat you better than other Co's are being treated.

How much to pay and when to pay. My recommendation is to pay BEFORE the day starts and tell them that if ya'll run more than that then you can add more. How much....well.....how much can you afford without being a big financial issue for you. I've had guys hand me $100 at the beginning of the day and tell me that if we burn more than that, then let them know. I've also had guys give me $40 at the beginning of the day and say "that's about all I got....I hope it covers half the gas".....those two people were treated the same.


Not saying that all boaters are kind and nice and will respond to your respect......most have been doing this a long time and have horror stories about Co's…..just as a lot of Co's have horror stores about Boaters. Question is....which came first? My believe is that if you follow the things I have said above, you will have a MUCH better experience and two things will happen: 1) you are going to have a more enjoyable day 2) you will do better overall on the Co'angler side of the tournament over all the tournaments you fish. You most likely will draw a guys some day that takes advantage of you respecting him and front ends you all day even though you are being respectful....but that will be on him....not you.

I did the co angler thing a few years ago in Bassmaster. You couldn’t have said it better.

Things I’d add? Help with the boat launching and loading. Help to clean up the boat afterwards. You might not be needed for either, but 9 out of 10 will accept the offer and it will go a long ways towards goodwill for the day. Talk to them, but don’t whine and nag. Haha. Keep it light. Tackle, baggage, and conversation. If it’s a multiple day tourney, DO NOT give up spots that boaters put you on in previous days. That’s an [censored] whooping waiting to happen. If a previous day boater is no longer fishing on day 2 or 3, it’s ok then. If you prefish from your own boat, you can mention that you found some things that worked, or didn’t, but don’t expect it to go far. I’ve had guys tell me what they were doing, where they were going, and basically sit down, shut up, and hang on. Lol. Then I’ve had guys (Josh Bertrand and the Lee brothers) that have appreciated the information and said they would allot time to fish the spots I found and patterns, in the event that their patterns weren’t holding up enough for both of us.

If it’s someone you’d like to get to know, offer to buy dinner. I’ve had dinner with a bunch of the top guys by offering. Most of them are on the road and looking to break the monotony from time to time. (Don’t offer to Biffle, he eats too much)

Offer to meet them at their hotel early in the morning or their cabin, or whatever. Nothing is worse than looking for your boater among 250 boats. And parking. And carrying all your gear. PITA. Meeting up before the drive to the ramp eases everyone’s morning and gives you a chance to break the ice before first cast.

Don’t bother with bringing rod socks and reel covers, cull beam, scale, cull tags, all of that. The Boater has all that stuff and less unneeded stuff means more room for plastics and terminal stuff.

Know every rule in the book. Don’t create an awkward or bad situation by putting your boater at risk of a DQ.

Bring 4 or so combos. A heavy, a medium, a MH, and your favorite general purpose setup. Do NOT 8-10-20 freaking combos. If you do, leave them in the hotel room or vehicle. The boater will tell you the night before or before you launch what the general waters are gonna be. Decide on the 4-5 you’ll bring at that time.

Bring one decent sized tackle bag that will hold 3-4 3700’s and 15-20 bags of plastics, your shades, several line clippers or braid scissors, and maybe an extra spool of line or a back up reel. (For when you THINK you can skip a dock like a pro. Lol).

Treat it like a vacation, but take it seriously. Don’t expect to out fish the front, but try. If the boater offers any tips, tricks, lures, etc....thank them.

When the boater is on the hotfoot, keep your head on a swivel and help watch for lake traffic.

That’s all I got. Did I mention Biffle eats a lot?


Eat. Sleep. Fish.
Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: JarrodMc] #13285777 09/19/19 01:37 AM
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Jarrett Latta Offline
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Don't knock fish off with the net..... That should number 1

Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: JarrodMc] #13285834 09/19/19 02:02 AM
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Wow I’m kinda sorry I read this thread. And I thought fly fishing guys were a pain in the $#&. Good lord.


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Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: JarrodMc] #13285844 09/19/19 02:12 AM
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JarrodMc Offline OP
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Thanks guys. Appreciate the time taken to share your thoughts. Much of the etiquette stuff is obvious but I sense that Jeff has had at least one negative experience with a co-angler. I’m pretty sure I can avoid being “that guy”.

BJH might have the best advice. Maybe I shouldn’t be disappointed if I don’t make it off the waitlist?

Thanks again guys.

Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: Jarrett Latta] #13285851 09/19/19 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett Latta
Don't knock fish off with the net..... That should number 1

Will the pros usually net fish for the co or no?

Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: TX Strampion] #13285966 09/19/19 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by TX Strampion
Originally Posted by Jarrett Latta
Don't knock fish off with the net..... That should number 1

Will the pros usually net fish for the co or no?


Depends if the co is experienced with it. I would want my co to tell me if they are comfortable or not with the net. Literally could cost you a tournament

Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: SteezMacQueen] #13286105 09/19/19 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SteezMacQueen
Originally Posted by JeffLStevens
As said above, be ready to move at all times. Don't have 5 rods laid out neatly on the back deck so that you can grab whatever one you want and then it takes you 5 minutes to get ready. If you see that the boater says "let's move" and is in his seat 15 seconds later and waiting on you......just ask them to give you a two minute heads up so that you don't hold them up....they will appreciate it. Don't step/stand in seats, don't throw bottles/cans on the floor, offer them a drink when you get in the cooler. Do NOT cast into "fresh" water when a boater breaks off or is changing baits. If your first thought when a boater comes off the trolling motor and starts to re rig is "this is my chance to cast to new water".....then YOU are a problem. Don't cast in front of the boat....EVER. Don't long cast to the other side of the cove or creek because most likely he is going to work out that way. If you see that your boater is fishing the shoreline and there is a tree off the bank that he is going to go past....nothing wrong with saying "hey, do you mind if I cast at that tree" if you know he hasn't been casting at deeper structure. Did I say do NOT every cast in front of the boat yet?

All of these things are really simple. if you approach it from a standpoint that you are there to enjoy your day, learn some new water, MAYBE have a chance to fish with someone that knows more than you or that teaches you a new tactic (by your watching them), acknowledge to yourself that the boater has WAY more invested in that tournament than you have.....then most likely you will end up with a boater that will treat you better than other Co's are being treated.

How much to pay and when to pay. My recommendation is to pay BEFORE the day starts and tell them that if ya'll run more than that then you can add more. How much....well.....how much can you afford without being a big financial issue for you. I've had guys hand me $100 at the beginning of the day and tell me that if we burn more than that, then let them know. I've also had guys give me $40 at the beginning of the day and say "that's about all I got....I hope it covers half the gas".....those two people were treated the same.


Not saying that all boaters are kind and nice and will respond to your respect......most have been doing this a long time and have horror stories about Co's…..just as a lot of Co's have horror stores about Boaters. Question is....which came first? My believe is that if you follow the things I have said above, you will have a MUCH better experience and two things will happen: 1) you are going to have a more enjoyable day 2) you will do better overall on the Co'angler side of the tournament over all the tournaments you fish. You most likely will draw a guys some day that takes advantage of you respecting him and front ends you all day even though you are being respectful....but that will be on him....not you.

I did the co angler thing a few years ago in Bassmaster. You couldn’t have said it better.

Things I’d add? Help with the boat launching and loading. Help to clean up the boat afterwards. You might not be needed for either, but 9 out of 10 will accept the offer and it will go a long ways towards goodwill for the day. Talk to them, but don’t whine and nag. Haha. Keep it light. Tackle, baggage, and conversation. If it’s a multiple day tourney, DO NOT give up spots that boaters put you on in previous days. That’s an [censored] whooping waiting to happen. If a previous day boater is no longer fishing on day 2 or 3, it’s ok then. If you prefish from your own boat, you can mention that you found some things that worked, or didn’t, but don’t expect it to go far. I’ve had guys tell me what they were doing, where they were going, and basically sit down, shut up, and hang on. Lol. Then I’ve had guys (Josh Bertrand and the Lee brothers) that have appreciated the information and said they would allot time to fish the spots I found and patterns, in the event that their patterns weren’t holding up enough for both of us.

If it’s someone you’d like to get to know, offer to buy dinner. I’ve had dinner with a bunch of the top guys by offering. Most of them are on the road and looking to break the monotony from time to time. (Don’t offer to Biffle, he eats too much)

Offer to meet them at their hotel early in the morning or their cabin, or whatever. Nothing is worse than looking for your boater among 250 boats. And parking. And carrying all your gear. PITA. Meeting up before the drive to the ramp eases everyone’s morning and gives you a chance to break the ice before first cast.

Don’t bother with bringing rod socks and reel covers, cull beam, scale, cull tags, all of that. The Boater has all that stuff and less unneeded stuff means more room for plastics and terminal stuff.

Know every rule in the book. Don’t create an awkward or bad situation by putting your boater at risk of a DQ.

Bring 4 or so combos. A heavy, a medium, a MH, and your favorite general purpose setup. Do NOT 8-10-20 freaking combos. If you do, leave them in the hotel room or vehicle. The boater will tell you the night before or before you launch what the general waters are gonna be. Decide on the 4-5 you’ll bring at that time.

Bring one decent sized tackle bag that will hold 3-4 3700’s and 15-20 bags of plastics, your shades, several line clippers or braid scissors, and maybe an extra spool of line or a back up reel. (For when you THINK you can skip a dock like a pro. Lol).

Treat it like a vacation, but take it seriously. Don’t expect to out fish the front, but try. If the boater offers any tips, tricks, lures, etc....thank them.

When the boater is on the hotfoot, keep your head on a swivel and help watch for lake traffic.


That’s all I got. Did I mention Biffle eats a lot?


Good advice. I always tell people if they spot a boat approaching us as we are running down the lake to NOT assume I see it. They need to tap me on the shoulder and point it out. Disaster can happen in the blink of an eye on the water with a bunch of guys running fast down the lake. As I said above, Communication is paramount.

Re: Co Angler Tips [Re: JarrodMc] #13286142 09/19/19 12:43 PM
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Communication will help your day be enjoyable. I rarely have had an issue, 2 co anglers in my time of fishing have been problematic. They both thought they should not have to deal with me in my boat and they thought they were better fishermen then me.

If you have that type of attitude I'd highly suggest this format is not for you. But for the rest of us its been an enjoyable to fish with most of my Cos.

Boaters don't have complaints if fish are coming into the boat.

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