When You’ve Got a Good But Vulnerable Hotspot, It May Not Be Wise to Tell Everyone Else
By Ken Schultz
Soon I could be facing the same dilemma that I did at this time last year.
While prospecting solo on a big expanse of coastal bays, I found good action in a difficult-to-fish area near a seldom-used access. No one else was fishing that area on any of my early explorations. That’s as good as it gets.
And also when you should keep your mouth shut.
I brought a few friends in on the discovery on the condition that they not be explicit about where we actually were if they talked to someone about it, and they should say that we put in at some access site other than where we actually launched. And they did, as far as I know.
One fellow felt especially bad when a friend of his specifically asked where he’d been and he said he couldn’t divulge that because
the person who took him there requested radio silence. I felt justified in staying mum because it was a shallow-water fishing deal that could easily have been ruined by a lot of boat and people traffic.
Today, it's harder than ever to keep a good thing to yourself unless you simply fish solo or with just one tight-lipped pal. It helps if you don't do social media, or simply don’t do any public bragging.
I’m not criticizing social-media users. I'm just suggesting that sometimes sharing is self-defeating.
There is some personal irony about this for me, because for decades I was in the business of dispensing information about fishing and about good, or great, places to go. Once, when living in New York, someone asked why I never wrote about fishing in the county where I lived. I explained that, first, I wrote for a national audience, most of whom were not interested in the specifics about our area, and, second, that I lived there and didn’t want my favorite places overrun.
Back to last year. One morning I took a friend, who was visiting from another state, to my still-secret hotspot. No one was at the access, but I’d barely turned my vehicle around when an acquaintance who was not in on the discovery drove up. My first thought was that he’d been hiding somewhere along my driving route, waiting for and then following me. Of course, that was silly.
We got our rigs in the water and I went over to him, wondering if one of my previous companions had tipped him off.
“What brings you here?” I asked.
He probably realized my surprise in seeing him, but to his credit he didn’t angrily explain to me that it was a free world, that I didn’t own the water, that he had every right to be there. He simply said, “Well, I know you’re catching fish and I figured that you were up this way someplace. I just decided to try here today.”
This fellow’s a good guy and I believed him. So I gave him some navigational advice and fishing info, and wondered if the cat was out of the bag. It wasn’t. Somehow, other than this fellow, only once did I encounter someone fishing that area whom I had not previously taken there.
So it happened that months later I gave a lecture on area fishing and at the end a woman asked where my favorite local place was to fish.
I hesitated. A fellow in the front row immediately saved me. “In the bay,” he shouted.
“Next question?” I said.
Thanks for checking out my blog commentary on all things fishing-related. Please follow, share, and enjoy, but make sure you get out on the water as often as possible. Good fishing!
Text and photos on this blog copyright © Ken Schultz. Text may not be reproduced. Bloggers may only use photos with credit to kenschultz.com and links to the original post on this site. Contact me for permission to use photos for commercial use.. Thanks for your cooperation.