The Buddy System

By Capt. Cefus McRae, Nuts & Bolts of Fishing Series

I enjoy all types of fishing. Offshore, inshore, lakes, mountain streams, even neighborhood ponds; they all represent the opportunity to spend a fun day on the water and each one comes with different scenery and fish to catch. As much fun as it is to have a fish on the other end of your line, when you’re fishing solo, there’s no one there to share the excitement with. Having a buddy fishing with you makes the experience a lot more fun, and it helps pass the time in between fish. Many days, my fishing buddy is Buck, The Wonder Dog. And while he has a little difficulty tying knots (due to no opposing thumb), his companionship and antics when a drag starts singing earn him a spot on the Wide Open II every time.

There are a multitude of good reasons to bring a buddy along. Some things are simply easier when you have two people: like launching/loading your boat, hitching the trailer, landing a fish, carrying the cooler full of fish to the cleaning table, and washing the boat down at the end of the day. However the top reason on my list would be safety. When things go wrong on the water, they can be exponentially worse compared to the same thing happening on dry land. If your truck breaks down, you can wait on the side of the road for AAA to show up. But when you’re dealing with boating gremlins in a choppy ocean, another set of hands, eyes, or some extra brain power can resolve an issue before it becomes a major problem.

I’ve had unexpected mishaps out there, from a minor inconvenience like blowing a fuse, to more serious issues like engine problems. Sometimes it’s simply impossible, or dangerous, to do a repair on your own. And in virtually every instance having a buddy along with me provided the vital assistance that allowed us to get back to the docks…safely.

Having a buddy on board when you’re fishing brings some obvious benefits as well. If you’re fishing in unfamiliar waters, or the bite is a little ‘off’, then you can both fish different kinds of bait until you find what interests the fish and then switch to the same bait. You can also cover more water with two people fishing. And if you’re planning to do some trolling, one person can man the helm while the other sets the trolling spread.

From an economic perspective, fishing has become a little more expensive these days. The cost of fuel for both the boat and the tow vehicle is outlandish. Buddies can help offset those expenses. I’ve got a lot of fishing pals who don’t own a boat, and they are happy to pitch in for fuel, ice, bait, lunch, etc. Now the total expense for a day’s fishing is spread out over several people, versus you footing the entire bill.

There are also some socially redeeming benefits when you have a buddy on board. As I mentioned, Buck, The Wonder Dog is a great companion…but he’s heard all my jokes…and I’ve heard all of his too. Having a buddy on board helps minimize the boredom between bites. And you have someone to take pictures when you land a big one.

In today’s high-tech, fast-paced world, it can be difficult to step away from the rat race to enjoy a day on the water. And that’s a shame. So call up a buddy… hook up the boat…and just go fishing.
Tight lines and calm seas.

Capt. Cefus McRae – Nuts & Bolts of Fishing

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