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Fishing as a nonboater in club tourneys??

5225 Views 34 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  fisher175
I have been a member of a north central Oklahoma bsss club for three years now and still do not feel welcome as a nonboater. Is this normal.

My first year I was only able to fish 3 out of 8 tourneys. My second year the same. My third year I fished 5 out of 8 and plased 15th in the club standings. I also made most of the meetings and community events.

I still get the feeling that the boaters do not want me in their boat. I always give the boater $35 - $40 for gas, pay the ramp fees and bring the bare min. tackle and rods. I also bring my own water,juice and snacks to share with the boater.

A bare min of tackle to me is 2 tackle box inserts,1 spinnerbait wallet, and 4 rods. I always bring my own PFD also.

You may ask why I feel this way? For starters I am frontended in most tourneys, even though I help my boater buy being quick with the net when they hook a fish. They can not help me land mine or knock it off with the net. I keep all my tackel out of their way and am always ready when they want to move.

If I get hung up I do not ask for them to back up so I can get my lure, I break off so they do not loose any fishing time. I always clean up their boat for them by taking all trash to the dumpsters at the end of the day.

I am thinking about not rejoining this club but I would like to stay a member as I think I have a shot at making our TOP SIX TEAM next year.

Any input from you folks would help me make up my mind.
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Wow, thats a toughie for sure. I go as a non boater in the club im in. And I have yet to draw out with anyone that done me that way.

I dont know how big your club is or anything. Our club has about 35 members and I know if any of them treated me like that I would say something to them in a heart beat ! But as I said I havent run across that kind of treatment YET. We have a monthly meeting and monthly tournament. I have only missed 1 meeting and tournament in a year and a half ( I was on vacation out of state ) . The reason I bring this is up is with us being a small club and meet every month, for the most part we all get along.

( Plus I maintain our club website and if they messed me over, i'd mess them over on the website :dance01: )
I have definitely run across that Brad! Stuff like that sets me off BADLY. There are some people out there that are just bad sportsmen. However in the sport of bass angling, they are definitely not the majority.

Now, this is just my opinion, BUT, if i were you, I'd find myself a new club. It should be cake finding a club with friendlier and more sportsman like boaters than your current one.

I dont recommend just quitting your current club though. Stay in it so you atleast have a club to go out and fish with until you find a good replacement. Many clubs will allow possible members to come to a meeting and fish as a guest, so that you can see if its the right club for you.

I will try to find some links to help narrow down your search.
It's lesson time for every member in here thinking about being a non boater. All of us probably have some little thing that could be resented by a boater. One of my problems to work on was offering advice and "teaching/preaching too much". It's just my nature, and I talk to myself when fishing so I remember exactly what I was doing when I got a bite. Boaters often HATE that even if they do it themselves. I didn't know that. Now I do. That's for the club here and for when a partner is expecting to be taught how to fish. It's just very hard for me to watch someone make mistakes fishing and not open my mouth. If the guy asks for an opinion I'll offer it, briefly. What a hard lesson that was! I let the boater be the captain. I'm a GPS expert at work, but usually just sit and watch a boater fumble around with it. Drives me crazy. They NEVER ask for advice on that. "This thing never works right. I'm gonna get a better one."

I've been part of 5 clubs (one at a time, depending on where I lived) since about 1965. I couldn't even guess how much turnover each club had, members cycling through every club around, not feeling welcome. It's always a 2-way thing, as far as I can tell always a problem with both people in the boat. It isn't enough to be a great angler with high standings to remain welcome in a guy's boat. We always had a rule in some fashion that prohibited a boater from rejecting his draw partner, but that didn't help with bad feelings brewing. Seeing I havn't shook hands with any of ya'll and don't personally know ya'll I should be able to post a list of things that can cause a boater to dislike a particular non-boater, and word spreads, so the non boater is judged before getting into the next boat. Maybe none of this applies to anyone here, but my intention is to get ya'll thinking. The idea is to evaluate ourselves realistically, else whatever is going on will follow us club to club. I'm not ruling out the possibility of a rude club, but I think that would be a rare find IF they actively recruit members.

Here's some things boaters have told me at meetings or on the water. "I dread drawing Jim, as I'm sure you do, because of that...
1. constant talking
2. not talking, impersonal, chip on his shoulder thing
3. smell (cigarette/cigar/chew plug/underarms/poots) I wonder about guys that worry about such things with all that fresh air coming by.
4. constantly getting hung up
5. crossing my line
6. dropping stuff, making noise, slapping the boat with his jigs
7. size 60 butt making the boat lean to starboard, or simply rocking the boat too much
8. Ike dance
9. hogging water on my end
10. baitshop he brings along
11. spooking the fish
12. inability to back a trailer without twisting the bumper
13. braggin & lies about trophy bass, you know, always "3 last week over 10#"
14. holier than thou attitude
15. loud splashing casting that sounds like rocks being thrown in.
16. always being late or not showing without notice
17. making water every 10 minutes (use Detrol for that problem, or drink less caffinated liquids before and during the trip)
18. cellphone

I could go on and on. In every case the boater ought to offer some advice or preference to let you know you are irritating him, but using tact. Some guys have none of that. He's probably got as many or more faults than the non boater, but it's his boat and not your caretaker (bad attitude), so most guys leave it up to you to figure it out. THAT breeds discontent between both men.

I take an army guy fishing whenever he's home. He was just plain noisy in the boat, spooking fish. He'd plop his tacklebox open on the deck. SLAP. BANG, a jig slapping the side of the boat. At first I tried to hint about it. "Well, I think the bass are spooked, so let's move on." He didn't take the hint. I finally had to tell him the things that spook bass. I used to guide on the Arkansas River part time. I had to learn to communicate firmly as soon as something went wrong. It's hard to do sometimes. "Mr. Smith, I know how badly you want to catch a bass. One thing that will probably help is not jumping up and down when you miss a bite. The bass hear that and know we're here." The guy was amazed bass are that sensitive, so calmed down and began catching.

So what to do about the possibility there's something that needs to change? If married, ask your wife. She knows already. Otherwise, ask a boater after returning to the ramp "If you wanted me to make a change out there, what would it be?" Keeping it to one item should get a fairly decent response. He might list several things given the open door. I'd take it as constructive criticism even if he falls on the ramp LHAO. I'd join him with my own LMAO, being a good sport even if feeling a little insulted. It would be told at the next meeting and everyone would probably come by slapping your back with a warm "You're OK in my book.", glad the issue has been settled, the problem going away, and you took it very well.

That attitude even works in an office environment at work, on a factory assembly line, working in a store, whatever.

Improve thyself, anglers. None of us are perfect yet. Just work on it.

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I agree with Rodney and Jared about finding a better club. I've been through four different clubs since the late eighties, with an average membership of 25-40 people. Granted I've been with some real boneheads over the years in clubs, state team tournaments, state championships, and most recently the BFL events, but the majority have been decent folks. The last club I was with were the best, we had a weekend getaway at a camp out in the mountains where we would just hang all weekend eating, drinking, playing cards and horse shoes, and telling big stories or ribbing on each other. It was a great way to socialize as friends someplace other than in the boat and there were still times when the pet-peeves had disgruntled someone at one point or another on the water, that's what happens with more than one personality. My current club has a year end banquet when we get together and the wives/husbands are there as well for socializing. I think that the right club is out there for everyone.
I try not to let it get to me too much, but I know that some people have had attitudes towards me because I have done rather well as a non-boater over the years with several co-angler titles. In fact some guys from that other club even stated that if and when I get a boat they better watch out because of the boater advantage.
I try not to be over suggestive with the boaters because it seems some rarely listen anyway, I just stay focused on my fishing and not on their mistakes unless it really interferes with my fishing.
I have found on Bassfan there have been a few articles for the co-angler which provide some very helpful guidelines for co-angler etiquette and issues that can and do arise.
Open communication is the key I think, at the start of the day I always tell them to let me know when they want the net or if they need anything at all, and I ask where they would like me to keep my stuff so it isn't in their way.
I always offer gas money, assistance loading / unloading etc., and wiping the boat down afterwards.
Good luck finding the right group.
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I sure hope it doesn't go like that for me this year. Fortunately, I will be fishing with the same guy all year. We already discussed what will happen on the water when the tourney starts. We're friends so I believe he will keep his word. There will be some back boating and I understand that. I am an above average fisherman(at least I think so) so bottom line is even though he is sharing his boat and knowledge I am one of his competitors. Ed has always done well. The tourney Sat. is the last one for the Club Angler of the Year. Ed is 26 lbs ahead of second place so he said we will spend time looking at structure and different things so I can learn what I am looking for. I would consider changing clubs if you are getting that much grief. There is someone who will be happy to have you in his boat. You just have to find the right person. Good luck!!! Don't let this make you quit though. A couple of sour grapes shouldn't deter you from fishing. Remember, God does not deduct from a man's life those hours spent fishing.
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I forgot about the guy no club would tolerate, practically chased away wherever he landed. He chewed gum all the time and made it sound like a pellet gun going off. You could ask him to knock it off, but 5 minutes later he'd be right back at it. It's those little things as much as the big ones like fishing a partner's secret holes after learning about them in a tournament.

I've never seen or heard of a perfect club. Members are usually humans. Anyone is much better off in life finding ways to get along well with others no matter how bone-headed some are. Some will be jealous, like said above. That's their loss. Extreme sportsmanlike competiton doesn't hurt anyone, but makes one a better angler. Letting jealousy interfere distracts the person from the kind of thinking they need to focus on. Determine to mop up on a jealous member. Maybe HE will move on.

Just my opinion, but whenever we saw someone jumping clubs the first thought that comes to mind is "I wonder what his issue is?". Under the gun before getting in the first boat. It's just human nature. Employers stop hiring folks that jump jobs, staying nowhere 5 years. Churches stop giving important jobs to church-hoppers. My last word on this is stay put and get to the bottom of the problem. You might as well, because all clubs have a few snotheads that seem to delight in making people a little uncomfortable.

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Joe, you are blessed in that setup. I never had that. Everywhere I was the ratio of boaters to non boaters was at least 1:2, some clubs 1:5 if they emphasized teens and college aged members. I probably never had the same partner twice, almost always a beginner. There just wasn't any way for two seasoned anglers to get together in club events. Non boaters competed to qualify for a tournament draw, so there wasn't ever the same pool of non boaters.

Jim, I hope you're right. I know that I will be back boated at times and as a non-boater I expect as much. You are definitely right about leaving the club. I retract what I said about changing because you were dead on. When other people, employers, church deacons, all want a stable person around them. It's good for business. I am a project manager for an electrical company and the FIRST thing I look at is how many jobs they have had in the past. I am always leary of what I call job hoppers. I think you're right. He shouldn't let those guys run him out. He should stay and get to the source of the problem.
Thanks for all the good info in this thread. I fish as a non-boater and have only had one bad problem with a boater.
Thank you guys for the replies. I guess I need to talk to the boaters I draw more.

When I am in the boat I always keep noise to a min. , I only talk when talked to , I never offer advice as I am still relearning how to fish dirty water. Living in So-Cal and the PacNW for over 15 years and fishing gin clear water I firgot how to fish dirty water.

I am a smoker but I do not smoke in a boat or if the boater is a smoker I ask if it is OK for me to smoke. I always try to treat every boater with respect and courtesy.

I do not have a very big back side as I'm 6'2" and only 185lbs. I try to stay in one spot and never cast forward of where I stand.

Now as for socializing I find that hard to do I work the 3-11pm shift and every weekend. Almost all the members of the club I belong to work Mon-Fri 8-5 . The only time I see them is at club meetings and on the water. I think I will give the club one more year. The next closest clubs are 60-90 miles away.

Maybe it is just me I do not know. As for asking the wife I do not have one I am divorced. I will take your advice though and ask my boater next time how I could have been a better non boater. Thanks.
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exsquid, it sounds like you are a great non-boater. If I had a boat I'd let you go!!! You could even run the trolling motor if you wanted to. :)
Arkie, thanks for bogarting all the really good answers & tips ;D. I think everthing has been covered. I guess that i'd change clubs if that was an option. Some times i have found the big feelers will all group together in a club and everyone else will gather in another club I have seen this twice. It may not be the case there but shop around you will find a club that you are comfortable with. Its fun to beat those kind of folks and it makes you feel better
There might be a clue to give a little more comment to. Talking to a local club boater only when spoken to might seem anti-social or even very strange to some folks. It would make me nervous. I'd have thoughts running through my brain like "What's on his mind? I don't know this guy." It might be the guy up front is awkward about kicking off a healthy talk mode. What I meant about excess talking is being a motor-mouth. I think you ought to make small talk to break any ice between you. "branch bass" is a good line when hauling in a stick. Lighten up, but don't go Ike. At least match the attempts of the boater trying to get communications started. I've fished with a lot of guys on or were on the pro circuits (none made it big but were very good), and all of them enjoyed at least some small talk. When serious money is on the line (not a local club event), you let the pro lead the talking, but we're taling hometown folk stuff. Just be yourself, relax. If you are accustomed to being silent, you'll need to work on that. Some guys want to put on airs they are a lot more professional than they ever will be, so smooth the bluffing as soon as you detect that, but respect him. A way to explain that is you have this pie with that white meringue topping with a bunch of tall spikes (peaks?), and it seems a little too much. You know the pie will be good but you decide to smooth the peaks down a little flatter. I hope that makes sense. That brings them back to reality sometimes, and so does consistent bass catching when the boater is only gaining by virtue of his better boat position. A really top-flight pro won't give you the chance to smooth his peaks down. He'll just whup you all day long and prove his name over and over. An average angler can't maintain a good reason to have you treating him like you might treat Denny Brauer.

If nothing works, ask the guy how much he's won in his career. That should de-smog the air enough to establish a fairly normal relationship in the boat. If you stay long enough you'll just be "grandfathered" in and you will have forgotten the early difficult days. You'll just be part of the gang somewhere between now and then. It takes time and "enough" communication to let them get to know you. Take fresh donuts to the club meeting...always be the one. Some folks are more charismatic and get accepted quicker. They might name you "Captain Quiet" if you can't become more sociable because of your work habit. If something like that happens, accept your nick-name as a gesture of acceptance.

Pick up a book on "Verbal Judo". Study out what never to say to anyone. When to say the perfect thing. Deflect objectionable words, attitudes and looks, not back to them, but like flinging an arrow coming at you safely away. Work on being witty with few words. Meet rejection with an embrace of words. "I sure like your boat layout. You've got good taste." That ought to get a little smile going and a minute of talk, just enough to break ice.

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imonembad, I can imagine that happening, depending on region of the US. But down South the clubs I belonged too all seemed like a deja vu thing to me, people so remarkably the same wherever I go. I've also been a speaker at no telling how many club meetings explaining wetland management and whatever else they think I might give out, and in every case I had the feeling I already knew them as a group. Most are simply people, good ole Americans with something in common, fishing. Who are they? Bankers, lawyers, dentists, trash collectors, plumbers, warehouse workers, managers, pc techs, welders, mechanics, soldiers, car salesmen, retirees, etc.. I'm not a highly sociable guy myself, also working alone most of the time until 2am. I work around my faults by forever sharing and learning, having something to give or teach. I can get up and give a speech without notes, but if sitting at a table with 12 folks I let them do the talking, not initiating much. Part of it is needing a good hearing aid for separating voices in a crowd. Old man stuff.

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I quit club fishing along time ago as boater or non boater For alot of those same reasons. I am a very competetive person. But its always me against the fish. To many people in clubs tend to act like there better than you to make up for there poor fishing abilities
Jim, most of what I have experienced is based on ones possessions or the lack of,ie.. a brand new boat vs a fifteen year old one top of the line equipment vs what you can afford there are pepole who can fish no matter what equipment or boat or how much you make in a years time. thats what I was talking about. :)
exsquid,about 12 years ago i joined a long established club hoping to learn and share my love of bassfishing. I went as a non-boater the first year and experienced many of the same things you have.I never missed a meeting, a tournament or work detail. I even served as tournament director for 3 years.In that time ,myself and other newer members where never made to feel very welcome by the "old guard" even though they solicited us to join their club.The club pres.never even spoke to me for over a year until i won a very difficult cold water club tournament. then he wanted to hang out just so he could pick my brain.These guys went as far as to stop sending a team to the state team tournament when the top 6 club members were comprised mostly of newer members.well, that was the cap on the bottle for me .So i quit along with many others over the years.They're still looking for members, most likely to do the work and contribute to their club tournament payouts,just don't beat them. My point is ,a$$holes will always be a$$holes and don't let it bother you or affect your fishing.All the advice given has been great but it sounds like too many rules.Just be yourself, keep it fun it sounds like your are a terrific co-angler.The tell-tale signs that this may not be the club for you is if they never share any info. , they're pissed when you win and your only a valuable member when there is a job to do.If your situation is similar to mine, move on there are a lot of great guys out there to fish with.Consider starting your own club.
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My application for membership into the largest club around here came through the mail from a member (occasional fishing partner & friend) who was sponsoring me. But when it came up for a committee vote, two said "no" in a vote that must be unanimous. Just 2 keeping me out! They hate gov-mint guys, can't trust me. I am a firm believer there are a-holes in probably every club, there sooner or later. I helped start one in LA, beginning with friends, but we had to open it up to others to have enough folks to hold tournaments. It only took 2 years for us founders to get voted out of power. Some appreciation for a LOT of hard work! I left it, along with the other founders, and that stopped the primary donations, which killed the club.

The only 'happy" clubs I've seen so far are those closed to new members, open only to friends, not "outsiders". Trouble-makers weeded out, no need for announcing rules, all carrying their share of the load.

The club I belong to now makes you fish for a year be for they deciede if they will let you in and they are pretty secretive about how they do things like scheduleing and tournament locations. I made the top six in AOY and was supposed to be on the committee but wasn't. I'm not angry. I think that they just want to protect their club and they don't really know me. The bottom line is I can fish with them on sundays and sometimes I get their respect & their money.
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