You’ve done the work, put in the time and verified your hypothesis. You haven’t verified a new scientific law, no, this discovery is fish. You have a new secret fishing spot. Maybe it’s offshore, maybe a secret creek, maybe a back bay that you have to slog through mud to get to. Whichever the case may be, you have a very precious secret.
And then you do the unthinkable: you tell someone else.
Fishermen’s spots are guarded like a super secret handshake or old family recipe for chili. Often, only after trust is established will these spots be shared if ever at all. And then the unthinkable happens, someone shares what you shared.
This scenario has played out time and time again over history. New fishing spots are the equivalent of celebrity gossip in other circles. And most of the time, the sharing wasn’t done maliciously. It was done out of excitement.
I have several spots that I’ve been sworn to secrecy about. They have shared them with me and specifically asked that I not share. And I don’t.
We have more and more people that join our sport every year. We can’t possibly expect them to know all of the nuance and decorum that we have spent years learning. They don’t know about giving space, asking to fish through, circling around another way, not crowding when catching and most of all, just because someone throws you a bone and shares a spot with you, you aren’t supposed to post it on forums and tell all your buddies.
Remember the influx of new golfers (me included) in the mid to late 1990s? Most of us didn’t know that the out player went first, you aren’t supposed to walk through someone else’s line and that you drop your pants to hit your next shot if you can’t get your drive past the ladie’s tee box. We all learned. It was painful for those with us but eventually we learned.
Here are a couple of things for the new folks to think about:
If you don’t know if a person is telling you about a secret fishing spot ask. If you forget to ask, don’t tell anyone else about the spot. Nobody owns these spots (unless they are private property) but they have put in the work and time to locate and pattern the fish. Don’t blow out the spot. Be respectful of their work and of their trust that you won’t share.
If you fish with a guide and he shows you some spots, make sure to have a conversation about them. Ask if it’s ok to share or if these are “client only” spots. It’d be hard for me to make a living if every time I came in the office someone else was sitting at my computer, checking my email and playing solitaire. It’s similar for the guides.
I’ll occasionally share a fishing spot, especially if someone is targeting a particular species that I have a pretty good lock on. Usually all I ask for in return is some secrecy. The info is very specific and almost always produces results. Often, as a show of good faith, they will send me a spot or two or some local intel for their area. I don’t ask for it but it helps the trust factor.
Should we share spots? It’s really up to the angler who found them. Communication is the key so each party knows what the expectations are. They won’t always be followed but more often than not, you’ll make some new friends and have a blast catching fish together. As long as they can keep it a secret.