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Co-Angler/ Back seat etiquette


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OK fella's I have just joined a new club for this year and will be a co-angler as I no longer have a boat. However as a past boat owner I never had any real requirements for my back-seater and let him or her  just fish and cast as they seen fit and never minded helping or answering questions. But I understand people are different. Keep in mind I have never met these men. What are things I should keep in mind, do, not do and backseat etiquette.  

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This will depend on your club's rules.  In the bass clubs where I was a member, the co-angler had control of the boat for 1/2 of the day.  At least that was the way it was suppose to work.  It didn't always work that way.   I fished as a co-angler numerous times.  I considered it an opportunity to learn something new.  I gave advice if asked, but I didn't push my own agenda. Fishing in the back requires different tactics.  If I out fished the boater, I was gracious about it.

 

The boat owner has made a huge investment.  Give him/her respect and let them do their thing.  Watch what they do and learn even if you think you can do better. At the end of the day, thank him and offer him some gas money.  You'll make more friends that way and you will appreciate it when you are the boater.

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Always offer to pay for fuel (I offer to bring lunch and drinks)

 

Pick up your used plastics, pieces of line and any other trash you made

 

Offer to help wipe down the boat at the end of the day. 
 

Offer to back the boat in or out, or park the truck

 

If you’re a smoker ask if it’s alright 

 

Try not to step on the seats as you go from and to the back deck

 

Do not cast in front of the windshield 

 

If you use a backseat, close it before take off again. 
 

Bring your own PDF
 

These are some of the “rules” I adhere to when fishing in an large circuit tournament...BFL, B.A.S.S. Nation, TBF, ABA or Costa. 
When fun fishing with a friend you’ll learn soon enough. 

The most important thing to remember is that it’s his boat. 
If you show due respect it can make for  a more enjoyable time. 

Good Luck and have fun. 
 

 

 

 

Mike

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Mike L said:

Mike...

"Do not cast in front of the windshield "

Even if he is fishing the other side of the boat????

 

 

 

 

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Yes, 

The front deck is his regardless of side he casts from. 
As you know it doesn’t take long to make a cast. 
If he casts right, and you cast in front of him to the left, he can turn and cross your line.  Not Good 
 

 

 

Mike

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Ski

Don’t worry too much about it. 


I guess The best advise anyone can give to you is just to relax, do your own thing, 

and show your boater and his equipment his do respect. 
 

Some will appreciate it and some couldn’t care less.
You both have the same goal. 

 

Have a great time

 

 

 

 

Mike

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All great advice..   All I expect or demand from my co angler is respect, which is the same I show him/her

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Why yes, I have a video about that too! :)

 

 

 

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I fished one season as a co-angler. Never again. I was given horrible angles at all times and never had any input. I was courteous and paid for fuel and left the boat cleaner than when I got on it. I took it all on the chin in grace, but I will never again waste my time.

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54 minutes ago, ironbjorn said:

I fished one season as a co-angler. Never again. I was given horrible angles at all times and never had any input. I was courteous and paid for fuel and left the boat cleaner than when I got on it. I took it all on the chin in grace, but I will never again waste my time.

 

Unfortunately, it happens. I've had a couple friends who totally quit tourney fishing after a few bad draws. One was so bad he had him drop him off at the ramp part way through the day, and he left. I tend to think the bad draws are a minority of anglers, but you'll find them on both sides (boater & co-angler).

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If you're unsure about something, ask the boater and don't assume.  Most guys will appreciate the ask, even if the answer is no.

 

This is one time that "It's better to ask forgiveness than permission" doesn't apply for me.  It can save you from a long, uncomfortable day.

 

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As a co-angler you're along for the ride, for better or worse.  Most people out there, boaters and co's, are normal people and will get along just fine.

 

Since you were a boater previously, I don't think you need any advice on the boat etiquette stuff like not stepping on seats, spills, etc...But for anyone else out there reading - Yea, don't step on the seats, don't bring messy/spill-prone food or drinks, if you smoke or dip ask first (and be prepared for a 'No'), and anything else along these lines.

 

The fishing etiquette part can be the tricky one because people have different views on what's acceptable/courteous or not (both boaters and co's).  The steering wheel guideline is pretty common and a decent visualization but I don't really like it because the boat is never completely parallel with whatever you're targeting.  My version is just to not try to beat the boater to the targets, that's what I tell my co's and it seems to work well....Cast wherever you want just don't try to beat me to a cast or skip ahead of me.  

 

Boater's should also be proactive about this stuff.  If I'm doing something a certain way that might not be obvious I just tell the co-angler so there's no confusion.  Co-anglers aren't mind readers and a lot of times they simply don't have a ton of experience....Being proactive helps them a lot.  

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15 hours ago, Logan S said:

As a co-angler you're along for the ride, for better or worse. 

Yeah, one and done for me. I fish a couple of charity tournaments every year, but 

these are team events with a chosen friend as  a partner. It's just fun fishing for us,

we don't do anything different. At my last event my buddy hooked up with a monster

right off the bat. I could tell it was a striper and told him to cut the line. Right...

 

Thirty wasted minutes later he landed a 30 pounder on spinning tackle and #6 line. 

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Don't leave trash in my boat at the end of the day and no Spike it or any other lure dye. Had two different coangler spill it on my carpet which wouldn't come out. Other than that I am fine with anything.  Don't care if you smoke but don't use the console to put out cigarettes.  

 

Allen 

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/16/2021 at 11:24 AM, ironbjorn said:

I fished one season as a co-angler. Never again. I was given horrible angles at all times and never had any input. I was courteous and paid for fuel and left the boat cleaner than when I got on it. I took it all on the chin in grace, but I will never again waste my time.


It is frustrating to get front ended all day.  I don’t know the types of tournaments you were fishing but you might consider looking for co-angler opportunities in team formats.  It can be more difficult to find backseats but not only is there no incentive to front end but it is detrimental to team performance.  There are also some clubs that have separate payouts for the captains and co-anglers.  I fished one at Fork last year and know of several others in our area.  In both of those scenarios, not only are you more likely to get fishable water but the owner is usually more open to thoughts/ideas.

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  • 1 year later...
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So rule #1 it's their boat. I fish club tournaments and we are all competing.  I try not to backseat my co. Try and tell them what my plan is and give them suggestions  of what they may want to bring, but then they are gonna fish their way. If I'm fishing offshore spots I try and make it where we both can fish. But simple rules are as follows:

 

Don't cast in front of the boat.

Don't trash the boat. Windshields are not grab points and are expensive to replace. 

 

Don't be negative.  Even if your boater is a well you know. If fishing is slow its slow. If he's catching and your not, watch what he's doing. Throw something a little different. But don't complain and make the day uncomfortable.

 

Be there to net fish. If you're there for him, odds are when you need the net he will be there for you.

 

Be ready to go when he is. If he says we are moving, be ready to go. Especially  in higher level tournaments.  He's fishing for 100k have yourself ready when he says let's go. He shouldn't be waiting for you .

 

Now here's a question  to ask your boater. If he's culling fish ask if you can cast in front of the boat. Odds are he will say yes. If I'm culling in a club event I'll tell my co to run the trolling motor or if I have to re-rig. 

 

Offer at the ramp to back him in if you can. If you can't do it let him know. If the ramp is tricky and he wants to do it himself and you think you can, be respectful.  Ask if you can do anything to help out. Be open and respectful.  Remember you helped  with gas but he has $$$ tied up in his boat,  tow vehicle,  and equipment. You're getting to go fish for half launch fees and gas. If it breaks you're not out he is.

 

Offer to help wipe the boat down. Help him clean up. Thank him. Remember  you're on his boat. Being respectful  will get you a lot further then complaining about what he's doing and you not catching fish. I've had my pro tell me to go in a big tournament  and while winding in caught one. Made #4 for my day. That pro told me to keep fishing, put his boat down the bank with no rod in his hand and made sure I had 5 fish to weigh. Respect  was given back because  that whole day I respected his boat. If we were gonna drift into the reeds  and his high dollar rods were hanging out and he was culling or had my fish tangled in the net with his I was quick to grab his rods so they weren't damaged.  When he said let's go, I was ready.   Respect them and more then likely they will do what they can for you. And I've had my co win behind me as well as top 3. They were catching fish  I wasn't.  So I was more stoked to do what I could to help them get their fish. But if you're ungrateful and complain it's easy for them to leave and have you catch nothing after that.

 

Just remember #1 it's their boat.

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
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Its a crap shoot as to what kind of person you are going to get.  I  ask if there are any rules before hand just in case. When I first started fishing a club I only knew 2 of the 14 people.  Figured I would learn a lot from the older members.  What I learned from that first year as a co was to buy a boat. 

 

Had one guy drop my off at the ramp 3 hours into an 8 hour tournament. He was almost finished his first case of beer and already hit a rock ledge. 

 

Allen 

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12 hours ago, Munkin said:

Had one guy drop my off at the ramp 3 hours into an 8 hour tournament. He was almost finished his first case of beer and already hit a rock ledge. 

 

Allen 

You made the right call getting off that boat! I would not be in a club that allowed drinking during the event. And I think most here would agree.

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On 1/16/2021 at 8:46 AM, Mike L said:

Always offer to pay for fuel (I offer to bring lunch and drinks)

 

Pick up your used plastics, pieces of line and any other trash you made

 

Offer to help wipe down the boat at the end of the day. 
 

Offer to back the boat in or out, or park the truck

 

If you’re a smoker ask if it’s alright 

 

Try not to step on the seats as you go from and to the back deck

 

Do not cast in front of the windshield 

 

If you use a backseat, close it before take off again. 
 

Bring your own PDF
 

These are some of the “rules” I adhere to when fishing in an large circuit tournament...BFL, B.A.S.S. Nation, TBF, ABA or Costa. 
When fun fishing with a friend you’ll learn soon enough. 

The most important thing to remember is that it’s his boat. 
If you show due respect it can make for  a more enjoyable time. 

Good Luck and have fun. 
 

 

 

 

Mike

 

 

 

Spot on Mike 

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On 4/17/2022 at 9:19 PM, gulfcaptain said:

So rule #1 it's their boat. I fish club tournaments and we are all competing.  I try not to backseat my co. Try and tell them what my plan is and give them suggestions  of what they may want to bring, but then they are gonna fish their way. If I'm fishing offshore spots I try and make it where we both can fish. But simple rules are as follows:

 

Don't cast in front of the boat.

Don't trash the boat. Windshields are not grab points and are expensive to replace. 

 

Don't be negative.  Even if your boater is a well you know. If fishing is slow its slow. If he's catching and your not, watch what he's doing. Throw something a little different. But don't complain and make the day uncomfortable.

 

Be there to net fish. If you're there for him, odds are when you need the net he will be there for you.

 

Be ready to go when he is. If he says we are moving, be ready to go. Especially  in higher level tournaments.  He's fishing for 100k have yourself ready when he says let's go. He shouldn't be waiting for you .

 

Now here's a question  to ask your boater. If he's culling fish ask if you can cast in front of the boat. Odds are he will say yes. If I'm culling in a club event I'll tell my co to run the trolling motor or if I have to re-rig. 

 

Offer at the ramp to back him in if you can. If you can't do it let him know. If the ramp is tricky and he wants to do it himself and you think you can, be respectful.  Ask if you can do anything to help out. Be open and respectful.  Remember you helped  with gas but he has $$$ tied up in his boat,  tow vehicle,  and equipment. You're getting to go fish for half launch fees and gas. If it breaks you're not out he is.

 

Offer to help wipe the boat down. Help him clean up. Thank him. Remember  you're on his boat. Being respectful  will get you a lot further then complaining about what he's doing and you not catching fish. I've had my pro tell me to go in a big tournament  and while winding in caught one. Made #4 for my day. That pro told me to keep fishing, put his boat down the bank with no rod in his hand and made sure I had 5 fish to weigh. Respect  was given back because  that whole day I respected his boat. If we were gonna drift into the reeds  and his high dollar rods were hanging out and he was culling or had my fish tangled in the net with his I was quick to grab his rods so they weren't damaged.  When he said let's go, I was ready.   Respect them and more then likely they will do what they can for you. And I've had my co win behind me as well as top 3. They were catching fish  I wasn't.  So I was more stoked to do what I could to help them get their fish. But if you're ungrateful and complain it's easy for them to leave and have you catch nothing after that.

 

Just remember #1 it's their boat.

 

 

That is all excellent advice to be remembered.

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  • 6 months later...

When I fish out of a canoe with a partner, he's always in the bow and I'm always in the stern because I know where the bass are and the stern steers. I've never felt disadvantaged casting from the back. 

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On 1/16/2021 at 7:46 AM, Mike L said:

Offer to back the boat in or out, or park the truck

Since the dinosaur has been bumped on this thread, I'll add on....^^^this is great advice, but if you do not feel comfortable doing so PLEASE DON'T. I'd much rather take a few extra minutes to do it myself than have someone unfamiliar back my trailer/boat into a dock or another rig on the ramp. Goes with helping out with anything, if you're not 100% confident in doing it, it's ok to admit it and let the boater work around you. I had a guy fish with me once who was going to hold the boat by the dock while I parked the vehicle/trailer. I come back to find him holding onto my trolling motor shaft that he for some reason had removed from the bracket in one hand and clinging to the dock for dear life with the other. Luckily he didn't drop the TM or fall out of the boat since the current was trying to pull the boat away. Same goes for netting fish (if allowed) Have an honest conversation before the day begins about it and be honest about where you're at with it. 

 

Also adding that as a co, you need to keep your gear neat, organized, and stowed the majority of the time. If you pull a tray out to tie on a new bait, put it back when your done. That way when it's time to move, you're not leaving the boater waiting on you. Time management is critical in a tournament and it goes a long way with a boater that when he says it's time to move, your ready to move. 

 

I want to add everyone may have a different demeanor on the water and many times how the day is going will dictate the conversation. If it's a tough bite, or the boater is struggling to catch fish there may be very few words said. If this is the case, don't immediately jump to the conclusion that your boater is a jerk and doesn't want you there, but rather is most likely concentrating on what he/she is doing and trying to figure the fish out in their head. 

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Excellent!!

 

Another new co angler Tip…

If you’re pulled up to shore waiting for your boater to back down the ramp and you volunteered to load the boat, 
Please don’t forget to pull up the Power Pole, Talon or other shallow water anchor BEFORE you move!

 

 

 

 

Mike

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