The Pause Button

Can you smell that? That coming rain smell? This morning in Central Texas the skies are a puffy gray, bloating with rain and just waiting for the right moment to let the dry ground drink. It feels like Spring. It smells like Spring but it’s still January. Basketball is still going strong but more and more people are venturing out on the water.

Inevitably as more crowds emerge, more problems will as well. In short order we will start to hear more complaining about a certain person or kayak or power boat in “my spot”. The talk of “meet me at the ramp” will bluster up and someone will get hurt. Sometimes the cops are called, sometimes not. One of these times it will escalate and someone may well lose a life, maybe not intentionally but it will happen. Someone will slip when pushed, hit their head and the lights will fade out. A family will be in mourning because of a dust up over “rights” to be somewhere or do something involving fishing.

This year needs to be different. This year we need more fishermen to hit the pause button. While the pause button is a metaphor for self control, it works in practical application. The fact of the matter is, when we get upset we need to step back and hit pause. Especially when we are fishing. Look at this rationally right now as you sit at a computer reading this. Do you fish to provide your family’s only food source? Most of us will answer no. Do you fish in a tournament to provide electricity and shelter to your family? Most of us will answer no. Will the fish in this “spot” have a tattoo of your name along their lateral line saying they belong to you? No. They won’t.

Will your world change if you can’t fish that spot right now? No, it won’t.
Yet, a lot of people act like it will. I’ve been guilty of the grousing that comes with finding someone already located where you want to fish. It’s disappointing. Is it worth a life? No. Most folks won’t evaluate it that way. What’s a little yelling? Maybe a little pushing? The fact of the matter is, you don’t know what the other guy will do. You don’t know what you will do if the adrenaline gets going. Don’t let it get up. Be a bigger man and understand: IT’S JUST FISHING.

No one should have to pay fines, go to jail, get seriously hurt or die because you WANT to fish a spot. It won’t always be the other guy who gets in trouble. We have to be more like men and less like school yard kids. Hit the pause button and think about what you are upset about.

Some may say this is not an issue. I’ve personally witnessed three fights in the last two years. It never ends well. It also doesn’t speak well to the sport we all love so much. Refined sportsmen react with patience and are slow to act on anger. Take a deep breath and paddle on. We need more sharing and less flaring to truly make others feel welcomed.

Share some time on the water with friends this week if the weather cooperates in your area and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. Enjoy the brushstrokes of purple and orange as you watch a sunset from your kayak. Hit the pause button and soak it all in. And remember, keep that remote handy in case you have to hit the pause button again when someone else catches a fish in your spot. Instead of wanting to slap them, slap them a high five and share in their success. Stay level and have fun. That’s why we do it, right? To have fun. 

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Chris Payne

A lifelong Texan, Chris Payne has been an outdoor enthusiast his entire life and has spent the last 15 years fishing mainly from a kayak. He is known for his thorough and helpful reviews as well as how to articles for nearly everything kayak fishing related. If you have questions or comments, you can leave them on this post or email Chris at:

8 thoughts on “The Pause Button

  • January 28, 2013 at 10:01 am

    There needs to be a dos and don’ts article for kayakers in general not just kayak fishermen. Many kayakers appear to lack common courtesy/sense but more than likely since many have never owned boats I think they just don’t know any better. This would help prevent problems before they escalate. Like don’t cut anglers off going down a bank, don’t paddle between another boat and the bank they’re fishing without asking, don’t block the ramp, you know stuff like that.

  • January 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Most kayakers that are out fishing don't have a clue. I waited on the ramp the other day for a whole crew to eat sandwiches and have a pop or two – ON THE RAMP. When I asked them to get a move on and told them they were taking up the whole ramp, they said they were loading their kayaks up and told me to chill out. Nobody was loading anything, though. There was just a half dozen colored plastic boats spread across the ramp and a bunch of wet diots eating sandwiches. As I said screw it, I'll launch somewhere else, I drove off to see one of them shoot me the bird in my mirror.

    Along the lines of your article…I just drove on.

  • January 28, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I have to disagree with the last comment on here. Just because one group of kayakers where disrespectful, you shouldn't put the rest of us in that category as well. I can even count how many times I have been almost ran over on the boat ramp or on the water by boaters that were not paying attention. I am not trying to put anyone in the idiot category, just pointing out the we should not be all looked at the same way. There are allot of us who are more than happy to get out of the way of a boater or to paddle around the guy fishing the bank. Most of the time we only ask a little from you boat guys, be respectful enough to slow down a little when you fly past us 30 yards away at 50 mph, or to not belittle us because we are not in 40,000 dollar bass boats.
    Anyhow great post Chris!

    sorry rant over

  • January 28, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I've never met a fellow "plastic boater" with any disrespect or attitude of possessiveness. I guess dodging jet-skis and bass boats can keep you humble.

  • January 29, 2013 at 3:43 am

    Dang good advice!!! I am one who normally would hit the "pause" button about 2-3 minutes after I realize how idiotic I sounded…the older I get, the easier it is for me to just shut up, shake my head, and wait..and wait for things to get better in any circumstance.

    Today is just another great day in a long line of great days. Don't let anyone's stupidity ruin it for you!!!


  • January 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm


    Courtesy is a 2 way street, when I see a bass boat working the same bank and we are working toward each other I'll get about 20 yards from them and then move to the outside of them, greet them, ask them how their doing, wish them good luck and paddle a good 20 yards to the other side of them before working my lures again. Some guys in the bass boats have sped past me along rip rap banks that had "no wake buoys" in the area. A complete disregard for my well being having a large wake smash you in a area with rip rap nearby is not a good feeling and really dangerous. Common courtesy needs to be shown by all people regardless of the vessel being used. Those kayakers who kept Anonymous from getting his boat launched were jerks. There are people in the high power bass boats who have slowed down when they saw me fishing, waved as they were going by me, others don't care and just fly by with no regard of how close and what kind of wake they may be creating. The majority of fisherman I have encountered are good people. In dealing with jerks just paddle away… its not always easy but its the best course.

  • January 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I hear you Raymond. I've had some inconsiderate folks in different vessels too. I slanted it toward kayakers mainly because that's who reads the blog and who I really want to help develop a kinship across the spectrum. Working hard to hit pause and not the adrenaline accelerator. I am not naive enough to believe civility will eventually win out but as we talk about things like this, more thought is brought to the subject among just the small group of readers who visit and hopefully a little of that is shared with friends.

    Do I wish everyone would be as courteous as most of us are? You bet. Are there knuckleheads in every group? You bet.

    Thanks for reading and for furthering the paddle away sentiment.


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