The Golden Rule


No, this month isn’t about golden tilefish. It’s about treating fellow boaters and anglers with respect. In case you haven’t noticed, the pandemic has pushed more and more people to outdoor recreational activities. Lots of people are buying boats and taking up fishing in South Florida. I have noticed far more boat traffic over the last 6 to 8 months than in my entire life as a South Florida native. From little boats to big motor yachts, they are everywhere.

Herein lies the problem. There are no requirements for driving a boat. Once you rent or purchase a boat, you’re sent on your way. For a long time I’ve said “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”, and while this may apply to many things in life, it really is on target for boating. As a young boy I was sent to the Coast Guard for a boating safety course before I was allowed to drive a boat and strongly believe that anyone operating a boat should be required to take some sort of course. Even if it’s only 30 minutes online, something is better than nothing at all. Now, mix in some egos, testosterone and some alcohol and that’s when things get interesting. Boating with friends and family should be enjoyable for everyone, not just those in your boat.

Let’s talk about fishing and the etiquette that should be expected. If you’re trolling and see a guy that’s fishing a wreck, there’s no reason that you should get close enough that you can carry on a conversation with him. If there’s a boat flying a kite, there’s no reason for you to check his long bait to see if it’s rigged with mono or wire as you pass by. Then there’s the guy that wants to see what kind of chum you’re using and runs right through your slick after you spent time getting the yellowtails fired up. All it takes is a little courtesy and common sense. If that doesn’t seem to be in the other guys wheelhouse, then try to educate him instead of chucking an 8 ounce sinker at him. All I’m saying is to treat others the same way you would like to be treated. Show some decency and keep it classy.

Capt. Ryan Palmer
Family Jewell Fishing Charters