Recently the Yachtworld crew came to town, and to get everyone some additional boating time, we spent a morning fishing on the Chesapeake Bay. Some of the folks were experienced fishers, but there were also a few newbies on board who either don't fish or hadn't in years. Unfortunately, the fish weren't very cooperative — yet it was one of the best trips of the summer so far, and I’m pretty confident we created some new angling enthusiasts during our time on the bay. When you have inexperienced anglers among the crew, remember that job number one isn't necessarily catching the biggest fish in the sea — it’s making sure everyone has a good time and comes back for more. These three tips will help you do it.
1. Get the rods bent. For folks who don’t go fishing every day, catching small fry isn't just fine, it’s great! Our target was striped bass in the 18” to 30” range, which had been biting great for the past month. When they decided to pull a no-show, we shifted gears and caught bottom fish like croaker and spot, then found a school of 12-inch to 16-inch stripers and targeted them for a while. No, these fish can’t tug and pull like the big boys, but they sure produced a lot of smiles, and that’s what counts.
2. Bring along a mate, or be your own mate for the day. You can’t expect someone who doesn't regularly fish to jump right into baiting their hooks, getting the fish off, and tying their own knots. Either have a dedicated helper ready to pitch in, or put your own rod down and plan to lend a hand to those who don’t know the ropes.
3. Move and groove. The worst thing you can do is sit in one spot and “wait for the fish to bite” while everyone gets bored. Instead, switch locations and distract your crew from the slow bite with a cruise and some wake-jumping. The pleasures of merely being on the water are a great, and most people have a fun time just zipping around in a boat.
The bottom line? Show everyone aboard a great time. Whether you catch a world record or not, you can bet you've hooked those newbies on fishing, and they’ll be back for more.