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Guys with docks

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Guest avid

There are a number of docks in my lake.  Nothing unusual, except that there is one guy who seems to really believe that the water near his dock is HIS private spot, and the bass near his dock are HIS personal bass.  He has made some comments in the past nothing serious and I have generally moved on, but this evening he got really loud. I threw in a few choice words and fished the area longer than usual just to spite him.  It wasn't fun, but I got my dander up.  I don't want to bullied out of a rightful spot, but I don't want a nice day on the water tarinished by aggravation either.  Any suggestions?  

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No suggestions from me but legally, if in public water, you where in the right.

I guess if you were catching fish then why not stay? It's public water right?

If you where not catching then I guess you would of been better off to move on.

Why stay and get both of you ticked off? Move on and forget him.

You never know, the guy could be crazy and grab his shotgun and show you exactly why you should move on. :-/

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Well I have had some words with more than one dock owner lol. In Florida the land owner's property line ends at the high water mark. It don't matter if the guy trucks in a ton of dirt his property line still ends at the high water mark. You wanna really fluff his feathers walk out in 2 inches of water he can't say anything because you are not on his land. If the lake is owned all around the shore by resident or land owners and if every land owner signs a paper stating that the lake is private then yes they can tell you to stay away from their dock. If the lake has a public ramp or if one property owner doesn't sign the petition they still cannot say anything to you. (These laws are not the same in other states so don't press your luck guys) But in Florida that is the law their property line ends at the high water mark. The land owner has a right to protect his or her property the lake is not his property. (don't tie up to the dock) Tell the guy to call a game warden if he thinks he is so right. (trust me he is wrong)

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If there is a cove or boat lane that is posted or marked private they can petition for that to be left private and don't press the issue. But one dock unless the lake is stocked privately (which I doubt) but if it was stocked by the state then you paid for the right to clean out his pet fish when you got your fishing permit. Part of that money you paid is for restocking.

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We have a similar problem up here, but its with the salt water.  People think that if they have a house that faces water, they own as far as the eye can see.  Here in NY, as far as salt water goes, the law states that a land owner can control up to the high tide mark.  I have had words more than once with home owners, and all I was doing was walking on the beach.  What they really don't understand is that that high tide mark can be taken and measured during a storm period, in which they lose more beach.

The way I see it, if its a natural resource, then everyone should have a chance to enjoy it.  Fish the guy's dock all you want, Avid, just don't walk on his property or tie up like Chris said.  Throw the anchor and sit there all day, catch "his" fish, and then come back the next day and do it again until the fish are so shy they wouldn't eat if you put a worm down their thoat.  Then yell at him when he comes to fish your dock....

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I'd take a cell phone and a camera. If he became threatening I'd just call the marine patrol or cops. He either doesn't know the law or doesn't care.

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i used to fish santee cooper a lot at night & dock owners would line their docks with Long fishing poles, etc., to keep everyone away.  ..what they didn't realize is that Those were the docks that i would target because i knew they had brushpiles, etc., around them!

they would come out & yell & scream & generally act like idiots, but, i'd just fish til i thought i'd caught all i could from that area.

the truth is, they bought Access to the water, they did not buy the water!

and, btw, there is NO solution that i have ever learned, other than just giving in & lettting them have complete control.

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I've had guys politely ask me not to cast around their boat and I have moved on, no problem.  I've had some throw out the 4 letter words and threaten to call the cops and I have informed them that what I am doing is perfectly legal, moved on, and no problem.  Sure it can be annoying, but its their day that seemingly got ruined, I'm still fishing.

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Avid,

The easy answer is: If it puts a damper on your fishing experience, I would just skip his dock. We are after all, out there to have a good time and enjoy the day. My guess is that he would have called the police if you were actually in the wrong.

The long and conveluded cover your butt answer is: I would do 5 min worth of research before making a huge fuss... there are very defined distinctions in some states regarding public, private, navigable and other waterways. (the real estate background coming out here, but I don't know Florida law or practices) In some waters, platted property lines do extend into and along the bottom of the water body... and if you are floating over said property you could actually be trespassing. I would go to your county's tax appraisal district web page and type in his address, (most areas are now on line) depending on how it is set up, some show a scanned recorded plat along with field notes as to the legal description... if it says to high water mark, shoreline or other similar you are good... if it gives a solid depth measurement you'd need to verify on the ground. It is all a matter of public record, anyone can access the info, free and legally.

General thoughts...

Although I have never owned property on public water, we have had several lake houses on private water and also have always fished docks in public water. My experience is that the people with docks in public water are generally more protective of the water and fish immediately surrounding it. Maybe because they see so much more activity on public waters... and I'd bet they have more troubles too, like: theft, hooks in boat interiors, etc.

In all the years we had a lake house, I only had one problem with another fisherman his errant pitch landed a jig hook in driver's seat of my boat and once the hook burried in the fabric, be began trying to PULL it free... I ran out and asked him to stop tearing my seat... I suggested he get out of his boat and gently unhook his jig. He did, and except for a small tear in my seat, all is well.

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Guest avid

thanks for the input guys.  I think Justtrying really has the answer when he says that there is no answer except to totally give in, which I am not about to do.  I should have mentioned that this is a gated community and the lake is private, but I live in the community and he knows it.  The question is not one of legality.  He knows that I can legally fish there.  It's more like this.  He has lived there for about 8 years and pretty much had things all to himself and a couple of buddies.  They fed the fish and some pretty good 'well seeded' honey holes. Now I move in and as an avid, and skilled bass fisher, I catch alot of fish.  Well, he can't stand it.  He wants things back the way they were when he could go out at his leisure and practically be guaranteed a nice catch.  His success has gone down and of course, it's all my fault.  I know I am in the right. Deep down he must too, because I was the only on quoting the rules.  

I have thought about this and I think I have put a bit too much pressure around his dock.  All his feeding has made it a d**n fine fishing hole.  So I will back off a little, but this is not a big lake. About 130 acres, so I'm not about to rule out any portion of it.  Also, my pride (d**n it all) won't let me be intimidated into having any area of the lake my dues contribute to.  

As far as things getting ugly (shotguns etc.) I don't expect anything like that. I actually feel sorry for the guy in a way.  He had a sweet deal going for alot of years.  My position is "that was then, this is now...deal with it by improving your skills"  His position seems to be.  "I feed the fish so they are mine and you can't fish for em)  I don't think he is willing to be reasonable on this, so I'm going to do what I said.  I will back off a little, but anytime I decide to fish around his dock, I will.

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Couple of articles, or letters to the editors on Marina owners in Tx putting no fishing signs out , NO FISHING INSIDE THE MARINA.  By law, as long as you are in your boat, you are legal to fish any public waters.

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Can 't you report his behaviour to the authorities ? bullies with thick skulls apparently need some muscle like a policeman telling them that if it 's a public lake fishermen can fish any structure built on the lake shore.

Fortunately I 've never faced such a dilemma, in this side of the border all the land around a lake, natural or man-made belongs to the state up to 50 meters above maximum pool level and it 's considered public land, to build anything on that strip of land you need a permit and once you build it then it becomes public property.

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Public Trust Doctrine - A doctrine originating in ancient Roman law that holds that navigable rivers,bays and the seashore belong to the people, who have an unassailable right to access and use them for traditional purposes such as fishing, swimming, navigation, and recreation. The doctrine has had the force of law in the U.S. since the American Revolution. In its modern form, the doctrine has been held by courts to embody both a right of the people to access, use, and enjoy the water; and a corollary duty on the part of the States to protect and care for the water, waterfront resources, and wetlands.

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Give em hell, Avid!!!

In Florida, it's legal to get within inches of ANY dock, if it's a public lake. In fact, I've also heard that it's actually illegal for a landowner to intentionally disrupt the fishing of an angler by throwing rocks in the water and making noise or whatever. It's the same law that says it's illegal to intentionally scare off deer, while deer hunters are legally hunting on the public hunting grounds.

Personally, I'd be banging my lures off his boat every time I went by that particular dock. Down with the Fish Nazi!!!

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GobbleDog, attitudes like that will cause violence.  I have been on both sides of the issue and have found that a polite disscussion will resolve most disagreements.

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GobbleDog, attitudes like that will cause violence. I have been on both sides of the issue and have found that a polite disscussion will resolve most disagreements.

You're right.  I'm sorry.

Cum-by-ya-my-Lord... cum-by-yaaaaa. :D

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Guest avid
GobbleDog, attitudes like that will cause violence. I have been on both sides of the issue and have found that a polite disscussion will resolve most disagreements.

Replica, you are 100% correct on this point.  GobbleDog, you are one funny dude  ;D

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Kill the guy with kindness... read up on the rules and make sure you have your ducks in a row... next time he gives you a hard time.. just stop fishing and have a calm discussion with the guy... if he stays calm then point out the benefits of the way you fish etc. if he is nice and you start having a two way discussion... invite him to come fishing with you some time to get the experience from YOUR point of view... I know there are a lot of IFs here but if calmer heads prevail you never know you just may make another friend and never have a problem fishing that dock again...

but then you have the guys that you just can't reason with... THEN you tell him to quit being an "Richard" and read up on the rules before showing his :)

AL

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Guys it may be of some interest to you  I don't know if you can access it on the web but Field and stream has a 2 or 3 page artiicle on this issue it is interesting and might surprise you I will read it agin being its been a while and fill you guys in on it if you can't access it

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the article i just talked about above in field and stream had a paragraph in it i thought truly disliked but it talked about 10 guides being arrested for floating down the salmon river. there was a two and a half mile section that happend to be owned by a former state senator and it was being managed as a pay to fish deal.  The courts favored in the land owners favor Now I don't know anything about the salmon river in ny but the article does state navigable means fishable This might not pertain so much towrard the dock situation but  I think it is along the lines of it though

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Guest avid

Again, there is no legal dispute here.  This guy knows I have the RIGHT to fish there.  He just wants it to himself because he throws food out to attract fish and pulls some weeds up to make openings.  Like I said before, I'll probably fish it a little less often, which is good for me too.  I had one my best days ever today, and was on the complete opposite fork of the lake.  If he were a real fisherman he would learn how to catch bass without seeding the area with food.  He had it easy for years and he's too lazy to improve his skills.

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Om glad the fishing is good for you I wish it was here  I thought you guys might be interested in the article so thats why i mentioned it your right thats lazy of that guy wheres the sportmanship in that

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Guest avid

Guys like this are not sportsman.  They are braggers.  They want to catch a big stringer and drag it around to show off to all their friends.  Then they throw the catch in the garbage.  I'm going to stick to my plan of fishing less around his dock.  Not for his sake but for mine.  I was really glad with being rewarded yesterday by such a fantastic day.  I had fun going through the tackle box, throwing all kinds of fun baits (cranks, jerkbaits, topwaters) and catching over a dozen in the 2 to 5 lb class.  Unlike most bass fisherman who are iced over this time of year, bass fishing in Florida is excellent.  This amounts to a pre spawn pattern and the big uns are feeding heavy.

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Avid

What a great day you had yesterday! I, and everyone else, are very jealous. :o I think you have made the right decision regarding the knothead with the dock. Life is too short to let idiots ruin your day.  ;)Keep us posted on your fishing success and good luck with the neighbors. :)

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