ANGLERS and PROPERTY OWNERS
Lets start bridging the
Its been said that
lake property owners dont like bass fishermen. The issue has been blown way out of
proportion, and has been inflated to the point, that it has become a hot issue over the
years, with both groups.
So, why do bass fishermen fish docks and piers? Sometimes bass fishermen are forced to
fish docks because of the wind on the main lake or an upcoming storm. Other times, docks
and piers are the primary or secondary bass holding structure on that particular body of
Now, why do property owners not like bass fishermen fishing around their docks and piers?
Most of the time they are concerned that bass fishermen will lose a lure or hook on their
dock or in a swim area and a family member will get injured later. Other times, they fear
that a lure will nick their boat.
Does a property owner have the right to tell you not to fish an area when their family is
swimming, playing, or sunbathing around the pier or dock? As a bass fisherman and parent,
Ill answer this common sense question with a "yes". I wouldnt want a
member of my family to get hooked with a "wild cast". Would you?
Is it illegal for you to fish piers and docks on Indiana lakes? This question, has come up
many times between both groups in conversation and in argument.
So, to put all rumors to rest, I contacted DNR Law Enforcement Division-North Region
Captain Bruce Clear to find out the truth. "Abstracts and deeds may vary, but
its not illegal for licensed anglers to fish the water line. All the water belongs
to the State of Indiana" Clear pointed out. "Property owners dont own the
water. Youll never see the same water twice" said Clear
Clear has had to investigate conflicts where fishermen have started the problems with
property owners, and conflicts where property owners have started the problems with
"Theres enough surface water for everyone to work together" stated Clear,
as he emphasized the need for both groups to respect each other.
Do most property owners despise bass tournament fishermen? Absolutely not.
Ive run into many property owners that feel totally opposite. They like to watch
tournament anglers cast, and are amazed at how we can cast a lure with such precision.
Other lake property owners will strike up a conversation with you, and want to know when
the weigh-in is, so that they can come and watch.
I have even had property owners help me out. Not just by saying, "Hey, theres a
big one that lives next to that tree right there", or by voluntarily unsnagging my
lure, but by actually accommodating me in a time of need.
This year in the B.A.S.S. District Championship tournament my partner
and I just got through fishing the last dock in a bayou, and I said: "lets move to
another area". When I went to start my outboard, it had vapor-locked, but would
With the livewells running, and several close
turnovers my start battery finally ran down. We had just been talking to the dock owner,
and he and his son went "out of their way" to help us. They brought down jumper
and were able to help get us back fishing in about 10 minutes. (I usually
carry some cables for emergencies, but had forgot them after cleaning the boat that week)
Do most bass tournament
fishermen despise property owners? Absolutely not.
A MAN AND HIS
As bass tournament fishermen, we are generally always out in the worst of conditions, and
I can recall accommodating a couple property owners when nobody else was even on the lake.
Heres some examples.
One time an elderly gentleman was trying
to get his row-boat into his dock and the wind blew it away from him. The water was
freezing, and it was his only boat. My partner and I helped him get his boat back to his
dock and secure it. The elderly gentlemen thanked us over and over for our kind deed.
THE DOG IN
This spring, we were fishing, and we came
upon a large dog that had fell in, and was stranded in 45 degree water. The dog kept
trying to climb up a slick, deep, seawall to its mate on shore. Being a dog lover myself,
I imagined my rottweiller being in that same situation. The dog was really in distress,
and wouldve bitten anyone but its master if you tried to help it up. So, my partner
and I yelled and waived our arms, making enough noise to finally get the owners attention
from their closed up house. The owner came down and helped his dog to get out, and was
extremely appreciative because he bred that particular breed of dog and it might have
drown from exhaustion in the cold water since it couldnt even touch bottom.
THE BIG CATFISH
One time while fishing a tournament, I noticed a property owner
fishing off his dock and had a huge channel cat on his rod and reel, but didnt have
a net. Desperately unable to land the fish without a net he asked me if I could help him.
So, I slipped my dip net under his trophy, and gave him his fish. He was so excited,
because it was the biggest fish hed ever caught, and he knew nobody would believe
To be honest, most property owners and bass
fishermen are good people.
Property owners and bass
fishermen have a lot of common ground too.
1.)Both groups are
"lake people", we work hard all week to have fun on the weekends.
2.)We attend and mingle
together at open houses and sport shows in the off-season.
3.)We dont like people
running in idle zones.
4.) Were concerned
about water quality on our lakes, rivers, and streams.
5.) We all pay taxes.
Why then, do some property
owners get mad at you when you fish their docks and piers? Circumstances vary. One day I
really got chewed by a property owner for casting around his dock. He hid behind a tree
and jumped out yelling and screaming. Concentrating on fishing, I about jumped out of my
skin! I tried to be nice to him, but he wouldnt even listen. I think he was using
Energizer batteries, because he just kept going, and going. Then, when I started fishing
the next dock, I heard his wife yelling at him about the yard work from inside the house.
You could tell they had been arguing hot and heavy.
I was just a release for him to vent his anger. Ive fished the dock at other times
when hes been out and he usually waves "hello" as I fish or asks me how
Why then, do some anglers explode at property owners when confronted? Once again,
circumstances vary. Maybe the bass fisherman has had a very bad day, lost fish, etc
Its the same as the property owner situation. Just a release to vent anger.
In either case, neither should go bullistic on the other.
If a bass fisherman goes bullistic at a property owner, they should seriously consider
getting out of the game awhile, thats fishing.
If a property owner goes bullistic he should sell his property, thats lake life.
How then can bass tournament
fishermen get along better with a property owners?
Respect each other.
Be courteous, and friendly
even if they are not. (Be a steward for the sport of bass fishing)
Dont throw lures around
docks where people are sunbathing Go to the next dock
Dont throw lures around
docks where people are swimming Go around them.
If someone is fishing around
the dock, ASK them if you can take a couple casts- OR just move on until later.
Go in, and get your lures
unsnagged from their dock or area. Try to remove your lure, not break it off.
How can a property owners
get along better with bass tournament fisherman?
Respect each other.
Be friendly. Hell be
fishing your dock less than a minute and move on usually.
Be courteous, dont
throw objects in the water when hes a dock or two away from yours just to disturb
Dont judge all bass
tournament fishermen as a bad people, theyre out having their kind of fun.
Over the past few years bass
tournament fishermen have been given a "bad wrap" in some local communities.
Why? Reasons range widely from loud running boats, to jammed parking lots at boat ramps.
BASS TOURNAMENT FISHERMEN
IMPACT HOOSIER LIVES
The Indiana B.A.S.S. Federation and its members have raised a lot of money for charities
through the years by hosting bass tournaments on Indiana waters. The Boy Scout
Tournament has raised $106,000, The Leukemia Tournament $125,000, Indiana Childrens
WISH Tournament $102,000, and the Childrens Miracle Network/Riley Hospital $33,000.
Many other benefit tournaments are held annually by Indiana BASS Chapters to help people
from all walks of life. All through bass tournaments.
Thats a lot of money, and its all been raised by bass fishermen. We
havnt even scratched the surface of all the good things bass fishermen do. Lake
facility improvements, restocking programs, kids programs, etc
Instead, tournament anglers are now facing more red tape to hold events because some
communities just dont see the BIG PICTURE, and some simply dont care.
BASS TOURNAMENT FISHING
BENEFITS COMMUNITIES DIRECTLY
Bass tournament fishing is big business, and the sport of bass fishing can really impact a
community economically, as well as, provide entertainment and even draw spectators if the
event is marketed correctly.
If communities would look at the BIG PICTURE, the economic potential is endless for
everyone. This is not a win/lose situation. Its a win/win situation for everyone
involved. Now, this all sounds lovely, right? I realize that we do not live in a perfect
world, but an untapped resource is flowing through "Hoosier" lake communities.
That resource is the tournament fishermen.
Still dont think tournament fishermen are a resource, then let me ask you this
If you had some land that had a source of Grade A crude oil, would you tap it and pump it?
Or try to get rid of it?
Some communities havent given much consideration to the economic impact of
tournament fishing to local businesses. Tournament fishermen spend money when theyre
in town for a weekend event. Let alone, what their spouse and kids will spend on shopping,
and entertainment during tournament hours.
The current I.B.C.F. Invitational tournaments provide a weekend format that is very
conducive to putting thousands of dollars into a community in a very short order (1
weekend). Most anglers arrive Friday night, practice Saturday, and fish the event on
Sunday. Still not convinced yet? Lets prove it.
Lets be very conservative,
and say there is a 200 man field ½ boaters ½ non-boaters (there are always more boaters)
Most of the 100 boaters will
have to spend about $65 in gas, $40 on meals, $100 on lodging, and
$10 miscellaneously during the weekend, in the community. Thats $21,500, for
an extremely conservative total.
Most of the 100
non-boaters will have to spend $14 in gas, $40 on meals, $100 on lodging, and $10
miscellaneously during the weekend, in the community. Thats $16,400, for an
extremely conservative total.
Making a Grand Total of $37,900
in just one weekend, on necessities not extras.
Remember, these figures
reflect only what a tournament angler has to spend, with no
thrills just the costs while staying in the community. Now, add the spouse and
children and the dollars just keep going up like a rocket.
I dont know about you, but I would define just these conservative figures as
"big business" for a community.
In order for the community to attract the family market they need to provide some form of
entertainment for the whole family.
Many communities have festivals throughout the year that highlight something theyre
noted for within the state. Blueberries, strawberries, covered bridges etc
If a community would run a charity benefit bass tournament in conjunction with their
festival, the community would have another form of attraction and entertainment, added
revenue, and could help a worthy cause at the same time. More than likely, there is a BASS
Chapter nearby that would be very anxious to help put together a tournament for any
community wishing to have one.
Some communities could even use bass tournaments to bring in revenue during the
In closing, bass fishermen, and bass tournaments stand for a lot more than just fast
flying boats and catching bass. We are a great group of people that like to fish, and at
the same time make a difference in the lives of others, and IT DOESNT GET ANY BETTER
What is the economic impact of tournament fishing to a community?
By Jerry Drazer
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