Bass Fishing Image

Bass Fishing Image

(By: Bill Mathis)

As I write this article, Barry Bonds is about the break Hank Aaron’s homerun record, but with controversy surrounding him. The commissioner isn’t committing to showing up for the tying and record breaking home run. All because of Bonds’ image and what he allegedly has been doing with steroids.


Michael Vick of the NFL has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a number of counts. The NFL and the Falcons are doing their best with damage control.


An NBA official allegedly was involved in point shaving and betting on games in which he officiated.


All of these things affect the image of their particular sport they participate or participated in.


Remember when Mike Iaconelli trashed the American Flag into the lake during the Classic. It tarnished his image and sponsors withdrew from him. He will always be known as a guy who screams when he catches a fish but also the guy who blew his cool when he trashed the flag into the drink.


In Minnesota, we don’t have that kind of media coverage for the events we fish. But we are under the public camera each time we are on the water. One major screw up by a tournament angler could tarnish the image of all professional bass fishermen in Minnesota.


What is your image on the lake? There are some things you can do to make sure our image isn’t tarnished. The obvious ones are the actions that could result in some bad media coverage like crashing into a boat, taking out a dock, or having a knock down drag out argument with a home owner standing on his dock while the neighbors gather around.


Listed below are some other things that you can do to inspire somebody to think we are good people.


1. When going through a no wake zone, are you more worried about getting through the no wake zone and creating more wake than the average person is? Slow down and make it no wake.


2. When fishing docks, we all understand it is public water, but do you still fish a dock where people are gathered on the dock having a beverage. No matter what the law is, the perception by the home owner is that is there property and you are encroaching on their space. If it’s a dock you want to fish, simply ask them. I have done this many times and most often they will say yes. I even had one guy call his kids down to see me try to catch a fish. I was suddenly on stage and thank goodness I pulled a 13” fish out. That was a positive moment. I had another guy offer me a beer. I have fished that same dock for a couple of years now and it’s never a problem. By the way, I didn’t accept the beer, it was during a tournament.


3. If you get hung up on a dock, do you make every effort to get your lure out of there or do you simply cut the line and move on. Obviously there are times you simply are not going to get it out, but make the effort. Extra line might get caught in the homeowners motor. A homeowner when taking out their dock in the fall might find jigs attached to his dock and a guy who didn’t mind us fishing his dock is now one to make a stink about it.


4. When leaving a no wake zone, we all want to get moving and get to our next spot. It’s more often than not, just a matter of time before we pass the boat in front of us after leaving the no wake zone. Consider giving them some space and let them get going before you bury the throttle. It’s also a safety matter. You might think they are going one direction, but they could change their mind in an instant and it could be a serious problem if you put the hammer down close behind them.


5. We have all had the opportunity and probably most have taken it, when a boat comes so close to you that you could cast into their boat or cast and hit a jet ski or skier. Maybe next time cast that direction without coming that close to them just to show them you are fishing there. I don’t have advice if they come by again and do it. Not sure if they are breaking the law or not, so it’s your call and your image. If you hit them with something, you now might have broken the law.


6. Lastly, if you run into somebody who wants to throw rocks at you or even takes out a gun or is verbally threatening you, call 911 and let them take care of it. No need to put yourself in harms way.


Image isn’t everything, but it goes a long ways in how the public perceives us, whether we are in the right or wrong.

Bill Mathis is a professional angler in Minnesota.

For more information about Bill, please visit his web site at classic bass.